The word is beginning to leak out across the web tonight, and it’s the worst kind of news for FS fans. Early reports indicate that Microsoft may have pulled the plug – at leat for now – on the ACES studio, the people who brought us Flight Simulator and ESP, and who were edging up on releasing TrainSim 2. If this turns out to be true, some of the best and brightest sim and game developers will soon be looking for greener pastures. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they quickly find new work and can put their talents to good use elsewhere.
What does this mean for the FS franchise in general? It’s much too early to say. Partly it depends on whether Microsoft reactivates the team in some incarnation at a later date, as we all hope they will. Lacking a dev team at MS means no more versions of FS in the near term, but at least they left us on a high note. FSX is a very capable platform whose full potential we are only beginning to explore. Given the worldwide base of users and fans, I’m sure the old girl has many more years left in her.
For now though, our thoughts go out to those who lost their jobs today. You’re a brilliant lot, all of you, and you deserved a much better fate than this. Keep your chins up and the wind at your backs. I remember my instructor drilling the three rules of an emergency landing into my head: first aviate, then navigate, and once you’ve got that under control, you can communicate. Here’s hoping we hear from you real soon.
Nick Churchill just published a review of Plum Island on his site, Screenshot Artist. Many thanks to Chris Palmer for the words, and of course to Nick for the stunning-as-usual screenshots that accompany them.
Heads up, anyone interested in scenery design: Christian Stock has just published a tutorial I wrote for him on how I designed the runway ground polys for Plum Island. It’s a little wonky, but for anyone who’s ever been interested in how flightsim airports are made, this is a peek behind the curtain. You can see it here.
One of the changes we’ve made at FSAddon is to sell products via mutiple channels, and in multiple currencies. Before, you used to have to buy in Euros at SimMarket, or not at all. Starting with Plum Island, we also are offering the scenery via the Flight1 wrapper, with pricing in US Dollars.
Download Plum Island (approx. 275Mb) and purchase for $15 (US).
If you’re looking for a new home base, this is one you won’t want to miss!
We’re oh so close to release now! The first (dare I dream, last?) version with the manual and the complete installer went to the beta team only hours ago. I don’t mind saying I think the final result came out just fine. Huge thanks to Nick for all the great screenshots lately, and to the intrepid team of beta testers for finding the bugaboos and helping me tame them.
I even got a call from a reporter at the Newburyport, Mass. newspaper today. He heard about the scenery and wanted to write a story about it. How cool is that?
Anyway, the next thing you hear from me will hopefully be the release announcement. Until then, I leave you with a pair of comparison shots of the airport, before and after the “Hundred Dollar Burger” series came to town. Can you guess which is default and which is ours?
The time has come for a little testing. After about six weeks of modeling, I assembled a small (but surprisingly elite!) team of testers, who are busily whacking away at the scenery as I type this. It took about five minutes for the first report to come in — a new personal best for me. Turns out I had left in some strange and somewhat idiotic things. I guess that’s what testing is all about!
While the pit crew takes apart the the scenery and reassembles it, here are some more of the details that made it into beta 1:
While I was busy snapping pics at Plum Island, my wife was chatting up the airport manager at the closer picnic table. The farther one had just gotten a new coat of varnish and was a little sticky. I did Steve a favor and varnished the other one, too.
Some visitors have happened by for a little morning flying. Each of these vehicles has a story…
…especially this one, my 1996 Ford Ranger. Yep, it made it all the way from Portland to Plum Island for the shoot.
What’s up this weekend? The bulletin board says there’s an airshow scheduled. Now I’m picturing the Blue Angels trying to take off from that craggy tarmac. Not a pretty thought.
I’ll probably have one or two more posts while the testers do their thing, then it’s off to the market shelves!
It’s getting depressing numbering the days I’ve been working on this. Such a small airport, I told myself… shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks. When will I learn? My appetite for getting the project completed and out into the world is once again eclipsed by my need to shoehorn in a few more details.
I’ve spent the last couple of days adding signage, which is always my favorite part of a project. Somehow the rules, regs, and warnings make it seem so much more real, you know? So anyway, here’s the latest round of pics.
Remember the discussion about the guy who’s essentially squatting on the last 400′ of runway? I added the house down on that end yesterday. Helldiver has taken some pics, at great risk to life and limb, so that I can add the junk cluttering up the end of the runway as well.
And last, but definitely not least, this new series of airports has a name. I’m calling it the “100 Dollar Burger” series, in honor of those intrepid GA fliers who put their credit cards on the line every day to punch holes in the sky. The way avgas prices are climbing, pretty soon it’ll have to change to the “500 dollar burger”. Here’s the result of last night’s logo design session: