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Feature Poll

Discussion and requests for new features. Please note that FlightGear developers are volunteers and may or may not be able to consider these requests.

What would you want to see most of all in the next flight gear major release? You got 3 votes!

More Aircrafts
5
2%
Improved Aircrafts
47
19%
Better Scenery (better textures)
33
13%
More Accurate Scenery
35
14%
Better Sky
4
2%
Better Sea
6
2%
Improved Physics
24
10%
Better Sound
6
2%
Crash And Other 3D Effects
11
4%
Improved Performance (frame rate)
31
12%
More 3D AI Models (cars on the roads and trains on the railways)
12
5%
Better GUI
9
4%
Improved fgrun Tool (easier to use)
8
3%
More 3D Buildings And Objects
11
4%
Space Flight Support
10
4%
 
Total votes : 252

Re: Feature Poll

Postby grtux » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:39 am

Sebulba wrote:Well it is good that people here are exchanging opinions on the "performance" matter that already got 12 votes but don't forget that the "better scenery textures" got 12 votes also and "improved aircrafts" got 15. Just to sum up Skywolf said that has made major work on new textures. There is some talking on other threads about open maps changing licence. Improved aircrafts...haven't seen anything on that direction. Only thing i saw is asking for "more aircrafts" which in this poll took only 1 vote. So...if you people would be kind enough to inform us a bit of what is going on with these two matters...again it is nice to talk about the "performance" problems that bother many people as the poll shows but i just say don't forget about the rest


hi Sebulka,
You are right a talk about these two topic "changing licence and Improved aircrafts", would be interesting.
I won't discuss about "changing licence" since, being model maker ( looking for some ambient rest :) ) , i am the worse guy to give an opinion.
Though, when looking at the Dave Hangar i don't understand why FlighGear does not include officially such Hangar, at least with a link in the official pages.

"Improved aircrafts", is very important, which, may be, can explain that poor poll result with "more aircrafts"( only ONE)., since
today we have more than 200 hundred aircrafts, how many are accurate ?, the percentage is very low, and dramatically less than it was 5 years ago when , the offered quantity of model was not very important.
We enter in a period where the quantity seems to be more important than quality.
However the community is increasing, the know how within that community is very important.
Is it missing some specific support ? which one ? Or missing only some real encouragement ?

Cheers

Gérard aka GRTux callsign Cruse
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Re: Feature Poll

Postby NiTuS » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:38 am

I've read some of the replies you have written in this Topic, although I'm not able to read all of them since every single reply is about ten or twenty lines long.

First of all, I must say I've voted for, as many other FG users and developers, improved aircraft, improved performance and an improved GUI. You may disagree with me as I unfortunately did with some of your opinions, but, you know, this is only my opinion.

Feature Poll wrote:Improved aircraft


Although HHS said we all work on FlightGear in our spare time, I think we should admit most of incomplete FG planes need our help. I know we're absolutely free to work on that plane we like and stuff, but maybe someone would agree with me if I said we should write a Post with those unfinished, abandoned aircraft in order to attract people to work on them.

Feature Poll wrote:Improved performance


I know simulators (and software generally) need to improve. FlightGear isn't an exception and, therefore, it also has to improve and advance. Nevertheless, there are lots of ways to reduce the data amount and increase the frame rate. For example, as already said before, MP models should be substituted by low-poly AI models, which are a lot lighter than the high-poly, heavy-instrumented-cockpit ones.

Feature Poll wrote:Improved GUI


Although I'm not sure of this one, I reckon the FG Wizard is a bit old-fashioned. Don't stone me yet! :shock: FlightGear is a flight simulator, not a game, yet a more beautiful GUI could attract more new users who may collaborate with us some day. As I said, you may disagree with me about this one, although I think this idea is not that bad. :roll:
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Re: Feature Poll

Postby stuart » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:32 pm

Hi All,

I've split off the performance-related discussions to a new topic here: http://www.flightgear.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=7509.

-Stuart (the mod)
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Re: Feature Poll

Postby stuart » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:45 pm

NiTuS wrote:
Feature Poll wrote:Improved aircraft

Although HHS said we all work on FlightGear in our spare time, I think we should admit most of incomplete FG planes need our help. I know we're absolutely free to work on that plane we like and stuff, but maybe someone would agree with me if I said we should write a Post with those unfinished, abandoned aircraft in order to attract people to work on them.


As GRTux mentions, I think there has been a move from quality to quantity when it comes to aircraft.

This is partly due to the development process that we have in CVS. Aircraft get added to CVS at an early stage so that they can be worked on by multiple people, and then when the release is created, all of them are released at once. So, a new aircraft has at most a year of development in CVS prior to a release.

I think the main thing we can do is to encourage people to work on existing aircraft rather than create new ones. I'm as guilty of this as anyone else - I'm the author of the Vulcan, Pittss1c and flash2a, none of which are truly complete. However, I also maintain the c182(rg), and c172p with HHS.

There are lots of orphanned aircraft out there that haven't been maintained for a while. Also, I believe Helijah is happy for people to adopt the aircraft he has created and send in enhancements. In fact, most aircraft developers are happy to have people submit patches to improve their aircraft.

Using CVS makes this a lot easier, as you can download the very latest and easily generate patches to get committed.

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Re: Feature Poll

Postby simbabeat » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:16 pm

stuart wrote:As GRTux mentions, I think there has been a move from quality to quantity when it comes to aircraft.


I think part of that might be some new people to FlightGear want to be really popular and make an aircraft and then they never finish it because they aren't able to. I can remember when there were only about 20-30 aircraft on the download page.
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Re: Feature Poll

Postby grtux » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:36 pm

simbabeat wrote:..........................
I can remember when there were only about 20-30 aircraft on the download page.


Oh yes :) :) and a new model coming was like a "firework".
most of them were, at that time, great, which made me to conclude => there was a specific selection, bringing up the best models from the cvs database.
I know, now, i was wrong, i couldn't compare because i had not any internet connection to access to CVS.
Well , i ramble ..........

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Re: Feature Poll

Postby simbabeat » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:44 pm

Before I was on the forums and didn't know that the page was only updated each release I would check each day to see i there was a new plane LOL.
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Re: Feature Poll

Postby stuart » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:11 pm

SkyWlf77 wrote:
stuart wrote:There isn't a tutorial, as each aircraft is different. However, the general idea is pretty obvious: Make a copy of the aircraft under AI/Aircraft, then go through the model XML file and strip out all the cockpit instruments etc. You can conveniently test the effect by refering to the new AI aircraft from the -set.xml file of the existing aicraft.


Stuart, I really appreciate your response here. I understand what you refer to and how to accomplish the goal with one possible issue that I'll have to check for as I've never opened one of the XML files associated with an aircraft. Therefore, I'm not sure what to look for to eliminate the instrumentation and interior features from the aircraft. I'm hoping that most of them will have commented lines describing those or very clear descriptions in-file, but that remains to be seen. I'll do my best and see how it goes. If I manage to get it to work, is there a way to commit this so that everyone can have the better performance?


Thinking about this a bit more, I think I've come up with a simpler solution, which is to make a code fix that optionally disables loading of all the submodels for AI aircraft. I suggest you hold off creating lots of AI aircraft until I see if my fix is worth pursuing. Obviously it won't solve your problems for v2.0.0 though :(

I've also located my semi-automated conversion of lots of Aircraft to AI versions. Unfortunately the gzipped version is still 92MB in size, so I'll need to see if I can find some way to upload it.

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Re: Feature Poll

Postby SkyWlf77 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:36 pm

stuart wrote:I've also located my semi-automated conversion of lots of Aircraft to AI versions. Unfortunately the gzipped version is still 92MB in size, so I'll need to see if I can find some way to upload it.


If you are only planning on uploading it to a select few people, it can be sent using Pando. That would definitely be helpful and something I was working on myself...lol

stuart wrote:I think I've come up with a simpler solution, which is to make a code fix that optionally disables loading of all the submodels for AI aircraft. I suggest you hold off creating lots of AI aircraft until I see if my fix is worth pursuing


Would this simply disable the interiors/cockpits or disable AI aircraft entirely? I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you mean. As far as holding off, that's not a problem because, as I mentioned above, I was trying to figure a way to automate the process instead of having to manually reconfigure over 150 files individually...

I'm on the devel-list now, so I'll track your progress on this option there if you are posting it there?

-Jason
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Re: Feature Poll

Postby Sebulba » Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:06 pm

Ok just to inform everyone the developers have heard us finally and partially. What i want to say is that there are some suggestions for work on the performance issues and more specially reducing the the polygon count on the multiplayer for the other-player models. Now the paradox is that instead of working on improving aircafts there is a suggestion for a new aircraft. No aircraft-improvement talks. Nothing said about scenery. And i'll just add that i am only informing the users here i am not complaining at all
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Re: Feature Poll

Postby SkyWlf77 » Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:25 pm

Hey, Sebulba...

Actually, there was a brief discussion on the devel-list about the need for aircraft improvements, however, it was fairly short-lived. The problem lies in that aircraft improvements are up to the individual makers of the aircraft, not the FlightGear project as a whole. Therefore, if the creators don't want to improve them and no one wants to pick up where they left off, then it just won't get done, regardless of how much "the majority" wants this done. Evidently, "the majority" isn't comprised of many users who want to or have the ability to improve them, so it's likely that the current trend will continue unabated. Thankfully, we do have several creators who are incredibly good at creating aircraft and actually do take the time to make sure that they function realistically and continue to update them instead of leaving them for dead. It's our responsibility, as users, to pick and choose what aircraft we want to fly based on what's out there and what we are willing to go through to make them work the way we want.

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Re: Feature Poll

Postby Crashpilot » Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:07 pm

I think its legitimate that even noncontributing people express criticism, as long as they meet the criteria of civilised conversation. In fact, people ARE contributing BY writing suggestions and discussing weaknesses of FlightGear.

For developer this offers the chance to learn about the public reception of their project, which is otherwise hard to achive.

Why should I have to contribute C++ code to state that I think Flightgear wastes major potential by minor mistakes?

For example, having ~300 Aircrafts to download might look impressive in the first place, but causes more harm than benefits if the vast majority of them are unfinished and/or orphaned. The thing is, the jewels hide in the crowd. People will download some fancy looking Crafts with very high expectations, and will become disappointed by it: "Not yet done". After some tries they will think "what a crappy sim" and leave. Small issue, big impact. There are other examples, like Scenery.

Flightgear do lack of marketing, release management and distribution. Not important you say? Well, I think this is where some greedy people kick in and take advantage of this by offering an actual distribution - for sale!

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Re: Feature Poll

Postby stuart » Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:48 pm

(This is going slightly off topic, but in response to Crashpilot I thought it worth responding to point out the ways in which people can contribute.)

Crashpilot wrote:I think its legitimate that even noncontributing people express criticism, as long as they meet the criteria of civilised conversation. In fact, people ARE contributing BY writing suggestions and discussing weaknesses of FlightGear. For developer this offers the chance to learn about the public reception of their project, which is otherwise hard to achive.


Begin absolutely brutal, the value of contributing by discussing weaknesses or suggesting new features for FG is very small. There is some value (I've created a couple of features on the basis of discussions on the forums), but unless you are prepared to help fix them (which may require learning new skills) the time spent doing so could be much better spent in a positive way.

Submitting bug reports accurately is a good example. You can do so by using the FG Bug Tracker (http://code.google.com/p/flightgear-bugs/). This is new, but if used sensibly, a very good tool to help us Devs.

Crashpilot wrote:Why should I have to contribute C++ code to state that I think Flightgear wastes major potential by minor mistakes?


You can contribute in many ways without writing code. For example, placing objects in the scenery with the UFO and submitting them to the Scenery Objects DB is pretty straightforward and takes very little time. Even an hour spent doing this would make a difference.

On a completely selfish note, taking extra care in your posting to avoid requiring the attention of the moderators is in some ways a contribution. Doing so helps self-police the forums so that Gijs and I can spend our time doing constructive development.

Crashpilot wrote:For example, having ~300 Aircrafts to download might look impressive in the first place, but causes more harm than benefits if the vast majority of them are unfinished and/or orphaned. The thing is, the jewels hide in the crowd. People will download some fancy looking Crafts with very high expectations, and will become disappointed by it: "Not yet done". After some tries they will think "what a crappy sim" and leave. Small issue, big impact. There are other examples, like Scenery.


... and yet everyone seems intent on creating new aircraft rather than improving existing ones?

One way you could easily contribute would be to submit patches to CVS setting the "status" flag on each aircraft accurately. Yes, it'll require learning a bit about CVS, and XML, but that would be a fine contribution. You'd have to decide on appropriate criteria for the status flags, but that isn't impossible.

Crashpilot wrote:Flightgear do lack of marketing, release management and distribution. Not important you say? Well, I think this is where some greedy people kick in and take advantage of this by offering an actual distribution - for sale!


Release management actually works pretty well. Certainly the timescales for a release have improved significantly over the last couple of years. You are absolutely correct that marketing is a significant issue, and has caused some real headaches. Unfortunately most of the current contributors are too busy making improvements to the simulator to spend the time on marketing. This is an area where new people could contribute successfully.

Another simple way to contribute would be to write an appropriate review for one of the major Flight Sim websites. Even writing some articles for the FG Newsletter would help.

In fact a quick search of the wiki came up with this page: http://wiki.flightgear.org/index.php/Volunteer, which lists lots of ways to contribute to the simulator.

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Re: Feature Poll

Postby SkyWlf77 » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:38 am

stuart wrote:One way you could easily contribute would be to submit patches to CVS setting the "status" flag on each aircraft accurately. Yes, it'll require learning a bit about CVS, and XML, but that would be a fine contribution. You'd have to decide on appropriate criteria for the status flags, but that isn't impossible.


This is another area that I brought up before in another thread and feel that we need addressed. There needs to be a set standard according to which planes are judges as "alpha", "beta", "early-release" and "release". The problem is going to be getting the majority to agree on a set of standards to use. I'd be happy to learn whatever I needed to learn to make the status changes as needed, but first we have to figure out what those statuses are going to mean.

stuart wrote:You are absolutely correct that marketing is a significant issue, and has caused some real headaches. Unfortunately most of the current contributors are too busy making improvements to the simulator to spend the time on marketing.


This is another area that I brought up in another thread (entitled "Facebook!"). There are many ways to successfully market FlightGear without spending a dime. Some of those include:

a) Facebook, MySpace and similar sites - These are worldwide advertisements just waiting to happen.

b) Craigslist - There are several different sections this could fall under, however, this is a local type group and would require more than one person putting in the effort.

c) E-mail Signatures - Creating a hyperlink to FlightGear that is sent as a signature in every one of your e-mails is a simple way to promote the simulator.

d) Forum Signatures - Same as e-mail signatures, but get permission from your other forums first as some have strict rules regarding advertising, even if FG is free.

e) Local Groups - For me, this is groups such as my local Freecycle Group (since FG is free, it is acceptable to advertise it there - at least in most groups), local Buy-Sell-Trade Groups and my PC- and Mac-related groups. Most other groups of similar type would also work. Since local groups usually require you to live in the local area, however, this would mean that more than one person put in the effort (although all assistance is valuable in this area).

There are many, many other similar circumstances that could be used to freely advertise FlightGear if any person wanted to put some time and effort into it. I'd even be willing to create some copy+paste advertisements to use for these purposes if we had interested parties. Marketing is definitely a weak area of FlightGear because most people see marketing as costly, but it doesn't have to be. However, it does depend on our userbase exerting some effort and dedication to the purpose.

-Jason

PS: If anyone is interested in any of these options or you need further explanation, please feel free to PM me :)
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Re: Feature Poll

Postby ot-666 » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:47 am

SkyWlf77 wrote:
stuart wrote:One way you could easily contribute would be to submit patches to CVS setting the "status" flag on each aircraft accurately. Yes, it'll require learning a bit about CVS, and XML, but that would be a fine contribution. You'd have to decide on appropriate criteria for the status flags, but that isn't impossible.


This is another area that I brought up before in another thread and feel that we need addressed. There needs to be a set standard according to which planes are judges as "alpha", "beta", "early-release" and "release". The problem is going to be getting the majority to agree on a set of standards to use. I'd be happy to learn whatever I needed to learn to make the status changes as needed, but first we have to figure out what those statuses are going to mean.

stuart wrote:You are absolutely correct that marketing is a significant issue, and has caused some real headaches. Unfortunately most of the current contributors are too busy making improvements to the simulator to spend the time on marketing.





I noticed that for the new user the aircraft download page maybe offers a little to less information about the planes available for download.

There should be a information about what the status of the aircraft actually means for the user of a plane and what is maybe missing.
The download page right now already shows status, but the font is way to small to notice really and a plane with status “alpha” should maybe have a red font. Some extra information like available liveries, features, a little aircraft facts would be nice too to make it feel and look good for the end-user.

After you really get into FGFS and use the forum you learn what to expect and where you will find nice stuff, but it could be better promoted at the webpage.

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