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The future of FSWeekend

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The future of FSWeekend

Postby durk » Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:34 pm

Hi All,

Last weekend, I was approached by the organizers of the annual FSWeekend fair at the Aviodrome Museum in Lelystad. Over the last couple of years, they've been experiencing declining numbers of visitors, and for the future of the event, it is vital that something is changing. It would probably be a bit too much to explain all the reasons for the declining interest, but I think it can be summarised as follows:

- Flight Simulation is not really attracting any new crows: The average age of the flightsimming community is approaching 60, and except for real die-hard aviation enthousiasts, younger generations are more interested in online actions playing types of games.
- The most prolific software is aging: FlightGear is still dynamic, but -according to a summary statement from the FSWeekend organisation- still mainly targeted at a specific community of developers.
-There hasn't really been a change in setup of FSweekend over the last ten years, despite some local initiatives.

The current format of FSweekend consists largely of a collection of commercial booths (hardware and commercial add-on vendors), and non-commecial clubs. The latter can be subdivided into cockpit builders, virtual airlines, and various other associated flying clubs.

What we, as regular booth members have experienced is that over the years many of these clubs seem to be very reluctant to engage the public in their activities, resulting in many booths that are quite detached from the public.

So, to inject some more life into FSWeekend, and thus ensuring it's future, I've been requested to solicit ideas for contributions that we can provide to make this happen.

Any suggestion is welcome!

Cheers,
Durk

P.S.,

I've also cross-posted this to the developers list.
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Re: The future of FSWeekend

Postby CaptB » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:37 am

What sort of contributions do you have in mind, a rethink of the whole event or to remedy the reluctance of non-commercial clubs to engage in their activities?
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Re: The future of FSWeekend

Postby mifi » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:35 pm

Engaging visitors by an active introduction into flightgear would perhaps help.

How about a couple of booth's were visitors can take a quick "flying lesson" from an intructor nearby?
The "lessons" would have to be aimed at beginners just to get them started in using fgfs. None of the real pilot stuff, but just some basic things like getting a plane off the ground and safely landing it again. Nothing to fancy and scare them off.
Once someone is started, the rest of the knowledge will follow at home.
A long table with, say, 8 or so PC's and flightgear and a decent screen would almost be enough, depending on connectivity.
Are there any sponsors in the room that want to supply the PC's?

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Re: The future of FSWeekend

Postby durk » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:02 pm

CaptB wrote in Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:37 am:What sort of contributions do you have in mind, a rethink of the whole event or to remedy the reluctance of non-commercial clubs to engage in their activities?


I would say, a bit of both. The host of the event, the Aviodrome aviation museum is mainly interested attracting more visitors to the event, as well as ensuring that the event will remain interesting for year to come. Since the museum is mainly family-oriented and moving towards becoming more interactive, having interactive Flight Simulation Demos would be an interesting option.

I have to say that FlightGear is only one out of several groups participating. Since we've been present for about 10 years now, and have been increasing our presence slowly but steadily over the years, we are currently one of the more active -and hopefully also more influential ones. I do say this, because in the greater scheme of thins at FSWeekend, FlightGear is only one player.

Cheers,
Durk
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Re: The future of FSWeekend

Postby wlbragg » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:30 pm

The host of the event, the Aviodrome aviation museum is mainly interested attracting more visitors to the event, as well as ensuring that the event will remain interesting for year to come.

Ideally, if we're trying to attract people to the museum and also expand aviation enthusiast, then there needs to be full cockpit simulators to ride in, VR applications for visitors to try out and of course the easier applications, such as a good demonstrations of how fun and simple installing something like a "free" flight simulator can be and also the for profit sims.
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Re: The future of FSWeekend

Postby wlbragg » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:43 pm

To expand on the more feasible ideas, I know when I see a demonstration (especially hands on) of something that is fun and the host is really into, that it creates an excitement in me to want to do the same thing. In our case in particular, I would try to emphasize the ability for the individual to shape their installation to match the world they know of. For example, show that you can customize an area your interested in to match the real world, that you have the tools and support to create your favorite vehicle or world features. I think I would try to have as many cpu's sitting there demonstrating as many aspects of what FG is capable of as I could.
Last edited by wlbragg on Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The future of FSWeekend

Postby mickybadia » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:54 pm

Brainstorming some more: we could have an "install party" section; people could go back home with a working FG set-up. After all we are free, while they all sell. We might as well install!
Of course since you mentioned the new-gen interest for online events, we should revisit/improve last year's LAN idea, for visitors to try at controlled Lelystad for example.
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Re: The future of FSWeekend

Postby erik » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:29 pm

You could try to setup a moonlight server where visitors could look 'over your shoulder' by connecting the phone as a VR device: http://www.beetwing.com/moonlight-revie ... ny-device/
Disclaimer: I have no experience with this yet.

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Re: The future of FSWeekend

Postby wlbragg » Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:22 pm

As usual, on the mailing list, Thorsten succinctly expressed what I was envisioning but could not articulate.
It seems fairly straightforward to ask exhibitors to set up ~ 5 minute
piloting challenges for visitors and advertize them (and help them as
they're not familiar with the controls). Land on a carrier. Fly through
Grand Canyon with a supersonic jet. Fly the Shuttle into space.

Publish a program of demonstrations done on the booths - like at 13:00
we'll show aerial refueling in FG including the wake effect. At 14:00
we'll demonstrate a Shuttle entry. Such that people do not just drift
around hoping to see something interesting, but get to actively pick
highlights. It's *much* more interesting seeing someone demonstrate a
simulation and explain features than watch his back while he flies
somewhere with his pals.

Obviously even if people are interested, the mental barrier to tap someone
who's turning his back to you and staring on his screen on the shoulder to
ask whether you could have a ride on his sim is fairly high - so change
the setup whenever possible, let people *face* the audience and talk to
them.

I'd see the whole point of a sim meeting as trying out things which I
can't do at home - so obviously exhibitors and organizers need to actively
encourage this. And I'm vaguely guessing that's all that's needed to make
this fun.
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Re: The future of FSWeekend

Postby Michat » Sat May 06, 2017 5:36 am

My idea consist in a program for FSweekend org and a big plan :mrgreen: making all people to fly Flightgear. Do you know how?*1 By doing it irresistible. Follow me up.

Better fsweekend web page. Of course.

Real life aircraft spotters contest from Netherlands, and maybe another country. Some categories and mentions (diploma) + prize aircraft motive trophy. Maybe for this reason some family moves around the contesters, increasing slightly the number of visitors. Choose the best date and time for this intra-event maybe closing day is the best or it isn't.

Free invitations (free tickets) to schools near the area.

Special activities program should be offered to teachers in order to make attractive offer to visit fsweekend.
Build the plane workshop.
A day as an airliner. Practical learning circuit, kind of Ikea circuit but oriented to learning experience. Processing experiences for visitors.
If there are children then should be father mother and grands, and, or teachers. So the circuit should be designed to be also completed for adults. Being a common learning experience having fan.

The marshal sign language could be another idea for activities and interactions, maybe some easy check lists circuit.

A fabric bag with collective material for the visitor experience and certificate diploma can be provided with all the circuits checked and sorted materials like stickers (chevrons) provided during the training circuit. The experience must be cheap and enjoyable. On this field there are a bunch of ideas than can be provided. For example maybe netherlands post office could provide stamps and or postcards from lelystad on which visitor can send a postcard by free airpostal sponsored.

Integrate the circuit experience with all the elements available, physic and simulation world it's essential, in good order and measure. For all ages If possible.

*1 To make Flightgear irresistible.. and to provide for the FSweekend organization a reactive idea. I think they could provide several PC's booths that can run interactions for the circuit previously commented.... for example an fsweekend star booth (final experience) that can provide a hang glider simulator (Flightgear) as we saw in some Expo by a German guy, if I recall right there was also a paraglider.

The experience to make a flight on harness could be one of greatest thing for the visitor to consolidate this circuit idea. I think fsweekend org should provide it, opening another broad field audience to the fabric flyers, sector of the real aviation, hangliders, paragliders, paramotor or even ballooners. I wish to see that, let's say, on augmented reality (real camera in front and back) projecting the image on the jumbo screen projector of the hall. Everybody will like to starring a flight within a big auditory, to take a selfie, a video, a picture, and sharing it through internet. That could be a good place to show sponsors like FG and fgweekend, for example FG logo and text over the glider pilot harness Camera 1, and fsweekend text over camera 2, or just a combination.


The last and first idea is to have a broadband connection for internet where to upload or stream live video of the event. For social networks, this will stimulate live visits, furthermore later visits to fsweekend webpage where visitor want to see himself on the show. All along the live program there could be dedicated video spaces, events, demos and so on. Also several pieces of post production ( video) could be great to dig the seed for the next year event.


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