Dovetail Games Flight Sim World

Hello Fellow Flighsim Enthusiasts….

As most should know, Dovetail Games released their “Early Access” version of Flight Sim World (FSW) recently.  I wrote about this subject back on 4 May and expressed my hopes, opinions and just general thoughts regarding this new entry.  Much of the content I used to form the basis of my opinions came from Dovetail Games Announcement video which you can view from the above mentioned blog post.  Outside of that one announcement video I have tried to restrict my viewing of other videos, live streams and blog postings on the subject of DTG’s FSW.  It was my desire to remain as neutral as possible so that I could form my own opinions and present them to you here.

Early Access

Before I begin to open up about my opinions regarding DTG’s FSW, allow me to say the following.  The Dovetail Games Flight Sim World is an early access product.  As with any early access, beta, pre-release, work-in-progress etc. etc. edition of any software, there most likely are bugs, there could be bugs found and more importantly what you see, may not, most likely will not be what will go into the finished product.

Comparisons

I’ve been flying computer based simulation games since the early 1980’s.  My love and fascination with aviation started as a young boy and has progressed into adulthood.  While I know longer have the desire to “learn to fly” in real life…flight simulation (much like my interests in other simulation based games) is an important element in my life and serves as a much needed stress reliever when of course the applications are working correctly.  LOL

Because of my long history with flight simulation based applications, I’m sure you can understand how difficult it is to simply “turn off” my knowledge, experience etc. with other flight sim titles.  As a point of reference, the first flight simulator application I used was on the Commodore 64 in the early 1980’s.  This was developed by a company called subLOGIC.  subLOGIC sold (or was acquired) by Microsoft in the early 80’s to be further developed into the very popular Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Here’s a short video (not mine) showing 60 seconds of recorded footage of what Flight Simulator looked like on the C-64.

Anyway, sometime in the very late 80’s or early 1990 timeframe I graduated from the C-64 to the PC and one of the first software packages I purchased was Microsoft Flight Simulator and I’ve owned, used and very much enjoyed every version up to Microsoft FSX.  So having said all this, I have tried to look at Dovetail Games Flight Sim World with an open mind, I’ve tried not to compare it to anything in the past, present or possibly future and most importantly, I’ve approached this review fully understanding what “Early Access” means.

Let’s Get Started

My apologies for taking so long to get to this point in the article, but I felt it was important to lay the cards on the table.  One more small piece of information I want to make public is I have not been asked, nor have I been paid to write this review.  While I received DTG FSW at no cost, this was only because I had purchased the DTG’s Flight School and in doing so, earned me a no-cost version of FSW.  Here’s my open and honest review of the “Early Access” version of Dovetail Games Flight Sim World.

Dovetail Games Flight Sim World

Flight Sim World is the new (currently in early access) flight simulator developed by Dovetail Games and sold exclusively through Steam.  At the time of this blog article, FSW is available as an Early Access release for $24.99 as of 18 May 2017.  If you purchased Dovetail Games Flight School, then you should have access to download/install FSW at no cost.

As part of the base package, FSW includes the entire world and includes several single and twin engine prop aircraft to get you started in your flight adventures.  The application is 64 bit which meets with the high demand from these types of application games.  If you are unfamiliar with the struggles we’ve had over the past several years with under-performing flight sim applications, then please read this article.

Install and Setup

DTG’s FSW installed just like any other Steam application.  I was able to quickly configure my CH Products Flight Yoke and Rudder Pedals, but support for my extensive collection of Go Flight hardware is unfortunately not supported at this time.

Application Performance and Stability

Overall I’ve spent approx. 6-8 hours flying around and the overall performance from FSW has been more or less what I expected it to be.  For the most part performance is better than FSX but I don’t believe the application itself is as fully optimized as it should be.  But then again, this is early access.  To be honest, while I did occasionally view my FPS counter, I don’t use FPS as the end-all-be-all in determining how an application/game is performing.  Application lag, stuttering etc. were mostly at a minimum and I think would/will be improved as the game matures further along the early access process.  During the entire time I’ve spent with FSW, I didn’t encounter a crash or application failure.

Visuals

As was the case with DTG Flight School, the default visuals are much, much improved from FSX.  While it’s not as impressive as FSX or P3D with Orbx Global Scenery, for a default (out of box) product….it’s pretty darn nice.

Flight Dynamics and Realism

This is somewhat difficult for me to judge.  First, I’m not a real world pilot and second, I haven’t flown default level aircraft in many, many years.  I’m a huge fan of the more complex, study level type aircraft from developers such as PMDG, A2A etc.  But FSW does very much remind me of default FSX and I found the aircraft easy to fly.

My overall impression

Again, making every effort to not compare FSW with any other product I will say that for it being an early access product…I was quite pleased overall.  However, I feel I must state the following which slightly causes me concern regarding the future of FSW.

Much like we say “behind every great man, there’s an even greater woman”….behind every great simulation game there’s a long list of very successful 3rd party partners which help make the game even better through mods and add-ons, I fear if Dovetail Games doesn’t change their plan on how they may force 3rd party developers to exclusively market via Steam, then FSW may never fully get off the ground.  Please read this for background information.

In a nutshell, DTG may require all 3rd party developers to market their add-ons exclusively through Steam.  Let’s use PMDG as an example.  The almost brand new PDMG 747-400 Queen of the Skies II sells directly from the PMDG website for $134.99.  The cost to market something on Steam is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40%.  So if PMDG truly believes their 747 is worth $134.99 they either will take a 30-40% hit on their profit (not likely) or pass along the costs to us consumers.  Therefore, increasing the cost of their 747-400 Queen of the Skies II to a whopping $175.  Of course, nothing is official at this time…and Dovetail could re-consider their marketing requirements.  Stay tuned…

My Very Bottom Line

I simply can’t deny that in some ways I simply couldn’t prevent myself from making comparisons to FSX, P3D and even X-Plane.  I consider myself to be a hard-core simmer with regards to my enjoyment of the flight simulation hobby.  I like the eye-candy that some of the 3rd party add-ons provide.  I enjoy the more complex aircraft add-ons from the likes of PMDG, A2A, Aerosoft, Carenado etc.  I also enjoy using my additional add-on hardware from Go Flight which helps to add to the immersion level.  Finally, I do from time to time enjoy experiencing multiplayer action via the VATSIM network and at this particular time…none of these boxes get checked with Dovetail Games Flight Sim World.  But of course, I’m reminded of the fact that this is an early access product.  Things can and may change….

Should you consider DTG’s Flight Sim World?

It’s difficult for me to recommend an early release product of any kind.  After all, it’s your hard earned money and not mine.  But if you are new to flight simulation, have a desire to try it out AND have an extra $24.99 in your pocket, then DTG’s FSW might be a good entry point for you.  If you don’t like it, or if it doesn’t perform to your expectation you can always request a refund via Steam.

I’m going to continue to keep my eyes and ears open to any news on this subject.  I may occasionally test out new enhancements made throughout the early access process, but if you ask me if Flight Sim World will become my “Go-To Flight Sim” the answer is no and I hope to share all the reasons for this along with exactly what my “Go-To Flight Sim” is in a future blog post.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Flight Simulator 11 is finally here

While we’re still a few hours away from the official release of Prepar3D v4 (64 bit), over the past few days I’ve watched a few videos showcasing the new simulator and even some comparing it to P3D v3.4.  Not surprisingly, some people are losing their minds and being critical of Lockheed Martin by saying this release should simply be P3D v3.5 or complaining that some of the same issues which have plagued the software since the days of FSX continue to exist.

As the title of this blog post states, Flight Simulator 11 is finally here (or will be in a few hours).  What I mean by this is simple.  Everything which has been released by either Microsoft (MS Flight), Dovetail Games (FSX Steam Edition) and Lockheed Martin (Prepar3D v1 – v3) may have pretended to be the next evolution of the wonderful Flight Simulator we have known and loved going all the way back to the subLOGIC days.  However, everything since the Microsoft original release of FSX has only been  has only been pretending to the next iteration of this flagship product.

Yes, Lockheed Martin did do a wonderful job with the later version of Prepar3d v2.x and with v3.x.  But what we’ve been needing since shortly after FSX was released way back in 2006 was a 64 bit version to take full advantage of the hardware.  Again, everything else has just been marking time until this day.

While I realize X-Plane was the first to introduce a 64 bit flight sim, for some of us who have had a large investment in add-ons for FSX and which have been almost fully compatible through all the versions of P3D AND for the most part will also be made available for P3D v4 (at no extra cost), plus the general working knowledge of the sim is the same all the way back to FSX….well, it’s been a very difficult bridge to cross.

I’ve speculated time and time and time again on where the future of flight simulation is going and who will carry the torch proudly for us.  I’ve felt really good about Lockheed Martin since v2.x, but now…..now this is all new territory and the sky is not the limit.

I can’t wait to purchased, download and install Flight Simulator version 11, errrr I mean Prepar3D v.4.  We’ve been waiting a long, long time for this day and the day has finally come.

Until next time…

Happy Flying in a world without OOM’s.

Jerry

The Last OOM?

In less than 24 hours, Lockheed Martin will release the highly anticipated and very long overdue 64 bit version of Prepar3D version 4.  With this release, will we finally see an end to the out of memory issues we’ve all experienced with FSX and every version of P3D?  Have we experienced the last OOM?  Can we once and for all stop worrying about how much (or how little) VAS we have?  Are those little ding, ding, ding noises just as we are on final approach after an extremely long-haul flight going to be a thing of the past?  I darn well hope so….

If you are an FSX or P3D user and don’t know what the acronyms of OOM or VAS stand for, or you haven’t encountered those ding, ding, ding sounds just before you are rudely presented with the error that says “Too Bad, Too Sad…we don’t care that you’ve just spent 12 hours flying and are in the final 5 minutes of flight, but you’ve run out of memory and we’re about to ruin your fun”, then I suggested you read this post.

Taking the Plunge

Sure…I might as well!    While I owe a review of Dovetail Games brand new Flight Sim World FSW (and I’ll get that done soon), in a nutshell I don’t believe (at this time) there is any chance I’ll spend a great deal of time in FSW.  Reason being is lack of 3rd party aircraft, scenery and such.  I don’t see FSUIPC making its way to FSW anytime soon and without that, it really limits just how much fun I can have in the sim.  NOTE:  I said it will lack how much fun I will have.  Your mileage may vary depending on what you want from a flight sim.

But yes…I do plan to purchase P3D v4.  But I’m also doing so knowing it will be some time before some of my favorite add-ons will be made available.  Some developers will have content ready on day 1, others will have their content after the first few weeks etc. etc.  From what I’ve read, much of the add-ons I currently own will not require a repurchase to obtain the P3D version 4 installers.  This is great news…but it’s more or less the commitment that many of these developers made when we all began speculating about a 64 bit version.

By the way, I have been flying lately as I’ve been playing around with both FSW and enjoying flights in P3D v3.4.  I experienced what will hopefully be one of my last OOM crashes on Sunday when I was flying from KDFW to KMEM.  Just within about two minutes after landing (thankfully) the system just said..”Nope…you’re done” it has used up 100% of the available 4 GB of VAS which is the dreadful limitation of 32 bit applications we’ve all been dealing with.  It was a great flight other than that.

My Future in Flight Sim

All things being equal, in the past 6 months I’ve been using P3D v3.4, X-Plane 11 and Dovetail Games new Flight Sim World.  As I’ve stated many times, I have a large dollar investment in FSX/P3D, so much so that I really can’t afford to seriously look at X-Plane as being a full replacement  and still be able to enjoy the hobby in the same fashion.  I have many years of experience with the Microsoft Flight Sim family of products and still find the X-Plane way of doing things about as difficult as trying to hammer a nail into the wall using only my forehead.

You can expect to read my first impressions on the 64 bit version of Prepar3D version 4 in the coming days/weeks.  I might even record my thoughts and make it available on my YouTube channel.  Stay tuned…

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Reputable Mod Sites for Farming Simulator Mods

In recent days, we’ve heard of even more mods being ripped off and uploaded to questionable mod sites without the original mod authors permission.  In many cases, the individuals who are perpetrating these offenses may also edit out any credit to the original mod author and some will even go so far as to take credit for the work themselves.  These acts are killing our hobby and often lead to two possible outcomes with the first being the modder simply quits modding, or an even more damaging action is to take his/her mods underground where only a select few individuals/friends have access to the work.  I actually view the underground/privatization of mods to be more damaging to the hobby than the modder actually quitting, simply because it limits the audience who can have access to the work.  In other words, this action punishes those who just simply want to enjoy the mods which of course is the intended action.

What can be done?

In today’s environment, the short answer is nothing!  Until there is a secure and reliable system in place which would allow a mod creator to lock, protect, encrypt his/her work AND the software intended to be used with these mods (Example: Giants Farming Simulator 17) offers the mechanism to recognize an authentic mod and ignores un-authentic mods, absolutely nothing can prevent these types of crimes.  YES!!!!  Absolutely, these are crimes.

Mitigating Steps can and should be considered

While it is true that nothing at the present time can be done to stop the mod theft we keep hearing about, there are steps we can all take to help protect and support our modding community.  The first one is actually rather simple and doesn’t require a lot of effort.  It’s something we should have all learned at a very early age and it’s called “showing appreciation”.  I think the vast majority of modders fully understand their work will be subject to theft.  However, I think often the issue might be that we as the majority who make up the user community don’t always show our sincere appreciation of the hard work our modding community does for us.  Often times we act like a bunch of spoiled brats by bugging the modding community asking stupid questions like “When will X Mod be available” over and over and over.  Or even worse, we too easily criticize these works because they don’t work, look or function the way we want them to.  Guess what people???  Just like my favorite artist, Peter Paul Rubens, The modder who most likely created that mod, created it in his/her vision.  They didn’t create it just for you.  So please keep this in mind.  Also, I would challenge everyone to say “THANK YOU” to all the mod creators you know or come into contact with.  A little act of kindness goes a TREMENDIOUS WAY!!!!

But what else can be done????

So here’s where this article will better match up to the title or subject line.  Keep in mind there are dozens and dozens and perhaps even more mod hosting websites on the internet.  Which are reputable and which are not?  Where can you go to ensure you are downloading an authentic mod which hasn’t been stolen and posted elsewhere?  I’m going to share my list of sites which I use and why I use them.  But before I do that, let me also recognize that some mod developers may host their own mods on their own website.  Two really awesome mod developers come to mind and they are Blacksheep Modding and GTX Mods.  This blog posting is more geared towards the hosting sites which are not privately operated and the list of those will now follow.

Giants Mod Hub

The Giants Mod Hub for obvious reasons is my top “go-to” mod site for FS17 mods.  The mods uploaded to the Giants Mod Hub are controlled by Giants and while a mod might be uploaded which has been tampered with without the original mod authors permission, Giants will quickly remove it when they have been made aware of the offense.  The simple fact that mods can be downloaded/installed/updated directly from inside of Farming Simulator 17 is also a really big plus.  While I wish Giants would further develop their mod distribution system to allow for searching and perhaps would organize the mod listings in the same fashion as the game organizes them, would certainly serve as a huge benefit to the users.

PC-SG

I’m not only a proud member of PC-SG, I’m also an admin and part of the management team.  I know the owner of the website and other members of management very well.  Each of us are active in the simulation gaming community and each of us has a passion for helping others.   Last year I wrote a detailed piece about the PC-SG Community and every word of that continues to stand today.  But even since that article was written (11 March 2016) we have expanded our mod hosting capabilities by creating our own Mod Review and Testing Team.  The individuals who make up this team are all outstanding individuals and many are also mod developers.  All mods hosted on PC-SG are stored on our own fast/efficient servers.  We don’t bombard you with rude and crude internet pop-up ads and we don’t throttle our download speeds.  We have earned the respect and trust of some of the best modders including Stevie, Blacksheep Modding, Johnny Vee, SOB Modding (just to name a few).

Modding Central

Like PC-SG, Mod Central is operated by individuals who truly care about our hobby and community.  They have a very professional and easy to use website and offer mod downloads both hosted on their own servers and also some linked to external sources.  Mod Central also offers a friendly member forum to ask questions and obtain support for many of the mods hosted on the site.  Modding Central is also a partner with PC-SG.  The people behind Mod Central are some of the most talented individuals you’ll fine in our hobby.

American Eagles Modding

American Eagles Modding (AEM), is another friendly community with member forums and a variety of mod downloads.  Typically if I’m looking for equipment for an American style map, I’ll first look to AEM.  Many of the John Deere pieces of equipment I feature in my YouTube “Let’s Play” series were downloaded from AEM.  AEM hosts their own mods and I’ve never experienced any delays or rude pop-up ads when using their website.  Like PC-SG, AEM also has a review and certification process for mods uploaded and hosted through their servers.

FS-UK

Finally, FS-UK rounds out the list of my typical “go-to” websites when searching for mods.  I like their mod organization where I can see both new and trending mods and also search based on the version of Farming Simulator.  In addition, they also include a member forum and some of the best modders will feature their “Work In Progress” mods on FS-UK. FS-UK also has a mod review team and I believe they work hard to test and certify many of the mods hosted on their website.

Marhu.net

While Marhu.net may not be as user friendly for us English only speaking individuals as others I’ve previously listed, but with a little effort and using the right internet tools we can still do OK in navigating their website.  Some of the very best mods for Farming Simulator will be posted to Marhu.net by their original mod creator.  Unfortunately, the mods listed on Marhu.net most likely will be hosted somewhere else with a link provided to that location.  These links may direct you to a dropbox location or perhaps to another mod hosting website.  In some cases, the link will take you to a mod hosting website called uploaded.net.  Now if you are a subscriber of my YouTube Channel then you know I often (and very frequently) opine about my dissatisfaction about uploaded.net.  I have my  reasons and for the sake of educating my viewers, I’ll share this information in just a few minutes.  Keep reading!

Other Considerations

If you are an active mod user, you may be thinking that I’ve left out a long list of other mod hosting websites.  Some might be accidental, but some have been omitted intentionally.  For sake of overall professionalism and courtesy, I’m not going to call out or blacklist particular websites or mod hosting services.  As stated, there are many…but most do not go to the same level of not only safe guarding the original mod author, but also safe guarding the individual user from extreme internet pop-up ads, click-baiting schemes and possible mal-ware infested server downloads.  I’m not opposed to internet advertising as it does cost real money to operate a website with the server capacity to host mods.  However, I believe some of these websites could dial down the amount and type of pop-up advertising they are subjecting their visitors to.

But are any of the sites not mentioned used by the original mod creators?  Yes…absolutely!  You’ll find mod developers using a variety of mod hosting websites which I have not listed by name.  I may also visit these sites and very often will download mods.  If you look through my extensive mod list, you’ll see links to many of these sites I’m referring to in this section.  Are 100% of these mods genuine?  Keep reading to find out.

Now just a few moments ago I spoke about uploaded.net and how truly irritating that website is.  I don’t know who operates that website, but I believe it is safe to say that they are only in it for the $$$.  Meaning, I don’t for a minute believe they care anything about the gaming community or the users.  They subject visitors to rude and often times crude internet pop-up ads, click-bait ads and throttle their download speeds for non-paying subscribers to something resembling that of an old school 1200 baud modem.  Again, while I’m not opposed to supporting the costs of running websites and server hosting sites, the cost of membership for uploaded.net is expensive (in my opinion).  Uploaded.net premium membership fees start at $5.99 for 48 hours of access, $10.99 for one month, $27.99 for three months on up to $108.99 for two years.

Of course, the above mentioned fees are also being shared with those who upload mods to that website.  Meaning, a mod developer who uses the uploaded.net website to host his/her mods will earn a small fee for the number of downloads.  I’m not going to get into whether this practice is right or wrong.  I’ll let you decide based on your own feelings whether this is a good or bad idea.  But I will just remind you, that Giants also rewards the top mods (and their developers) with a small monetary compensation.  You can read more about that here.

Verifying Authenticity – Can it be done?

Short answer, yes….longer answer is not easily and certainly not with any absolute accuracy.  The reason behind the longer answer goes back to what I mentioned earlier.  At the present time, there are no security measures in place to prevent someone/anyone from making changes and/or uploading elsewhere.  What I’m going to say next might be somewhat out of character for me.  But for most mod violations where simply a mod has been downloaded from the official location and uploaded elsewhere, the individual doing this is just simply too ignorant to edit the mod to strip away the actual ownership/credit information contained in the mod.  They simply download it and upload it to another site and pretend they are the original creator of the mod.  While it takes some effort to verify this information and of course the mod needs to be downloaded to confirm, it certainly can be done.  But in many cases the operators of these websites are too slow to act in taking down the unauthentic mod and the damage is already done.

I ran into a situation a few months ago where I created a YouTube video to showcase a popular mod.  The video contained artwork which I had created to use as the title and thumbnail artwork, this artwork also contained my YouTube name of GrizzlyBearSims.  Another individual after watching my video, decided to download the mod then take a screenshot of my video logo and upload that to another mod hosting website.  Another YouTube content creator discovered this and mentioned it to me.  At first I wasn’t going to do anything about it.  But after careful consideration I determined this could confuse someone into thinking I had uploaded the mod and I didn’t want to set that impression.  But it took me several emails to the admin of the website to have the mod removed.

Final Thoughts

As I stated at the top of this article, at the present time NOTHING can be done to stop the abuse and unauthorized distribution of mods.   While we can list out every reason why this behavior is bad for our hobby, at the end of the day it is left up to each and every individual (YOU and ME) to do the right thing.  Doing the right thing is more than just not stealing and uploading mods without the consent of the individual mod developer.   I believe it is just as bad to continue to use a mod you know has been compromised, yes…even privately.  Finally, as a YouTube content creator…I believe we have a responsibility to never violate the trust of our modding community by using mods of questionable backgrounds in our videos and live streams.  While I pride myself in maintaining a current mod spreadsheet which lists each and every mod I use, along with the location where the mod can be downloaded from…I will happily place my right hand on a stack of Bibles and swear that (to my knowledge) each and every mod listed is genuine and hasn’t been compromised.  But in an effort to do everything I can to protect the modding community, I plan to perform an extensive review and will remove the physical mods and the listing which I can’t be certain of.  Will you do the same???

Thank you Mod Developers

To any original mod developer who may be reading this article, I believe I can speak for the vast majority of enthusiasts who dearly love and treasure the hard work, dedication, attention to detail and passion each of you put into your works of art.  Many of us just simply can’t do what you do.  Even some of us (myself included) just don’t have the desire to learn…it’s just not something we are interested in doing.  But we genuinely recognize how your pieces of work (regardless of how little or big they are) change the game play for us in such awesome ways.  Farming Simulator is an awesome game.  But without mods, the game wouldn’t be as enjoyable and exciting and certainly wouldn’t be so over a long period of time.  Your mods allow us to lose ourselves in our own little virtual worlds and in my opinion, is better (and less expensive) than any shrink on this planet.  Please don’t stop creating.  Please don’t take your mods underground.  Please know that we love what you do (even though we don’t always show it) and know we will always support you.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!! (with authentic mods only)

Jerry

Dovetail Games Flight Sim World

Look at the calendar.  It’s not April 1st and this is no April Fools Prank.  Yes…finally we have the much anticipated news regarding Dovetail Games official entry into flight simulation with Dovetail Games Flight Sim World.  I’ve frequently blogged about this very subject for what seems like eternity.  From the very early days of learning that Microsoft had authorized Dovetail Games to market and release FSX on Steam, we’ve been hearing about Dovetail’s plan to develop the next generation of flight simulation software.  Actually, this is a direct quote from a Dovetail Games press release dated 2014 Dovetail “is currently investigating new concepts in this area and is expecting to bring a release to market in 2015”.  OK…so they’ve missed their mark by a few years….but ladies and gentlemen….please sit back, relax (and turn off those darn electronic devices) because things are about to get interesting.

If you are new to my blog site, please take a moment and read an article I wrote back in November 2016 titled “Flight Sim News”.  If you are not new to my writings, then you can skip that as you’ve already read it.  Yesterday, Dovetail Games announced their new flight simulation platform they have titled “Flight Sim World” (I guess to line up with their new Train Sim World franchise) and I couldn’t be more excited.  Now time will tell exactly what all this means, but the one really important element is this will be a 64 bit application.  To date, the only 64 bit flight simulation based platform is X-Plane.  The old Microsoft FSX (boxed edition), FSX Steam Edition and even all version of Prepar3D is only 32 bit.    If you want to learn more about the challenges of trying to run an 32 bit application as complex as Flight Sim built, then read an article I wrote in February 2014 titled “Out of Memory (OOM) Errors”.

Importance of Early Access

Dovetail Games Flight Sim World will be released this month (May) via an early access process.  This is also really great news and all the proof is coming direct from Dovetail Games Executive Produce Stephen Hood when he says, “We’re bring Flight Sim World to Early Access, we believe it makes no sense to work in isolation…so we wish to work with the community, engage with them, to shape the future of Flight Sim World over the coming weeks and months”.  He further states, “We intend to develop a platform that stands the test of time over the next 5-10 years”.

Under the Hood

With the launch of Dovetail Games Flight Sim World, they have moved away from the old DirectX 9 to DirectX 11 and moved it from a 32 bit to 64 bit platform while also working to rebalance the  usage between the CPU and GPU.  This is also a very important change as today both FSX and P3D is very CPU dependent and doesn’t take advantage of today’s modern and powerful GPU’s.  The hardware technology of today far exceeds what FSX and P3D can do with it.  These older applications just don’t touch the full capabilities.

Third Party Opportunities

One of the unknowns from years ago was just how Dovetail Games would work with 3rd party developers.  Over time, and as they continued to work with their FSX Steam Edition, we saw evidence that Dovetail Games was serious about working with the various 3rd party developers like PMDG, Orbx etc.  Simon Sauntson with Dovetail Games leads up their Third Party division and mentioned Dovetail has actually engaged with many 3rd party developers to develop content which is part of the core application of Flight Sim World.

Simulation, Simulation, Simulation

Stephen Hood, acknowledges the importance of an “As Real As It Gets” experience as he states “As a Pilot you care hugely about the environments around you, it has to be accurately portrayed in Flight Sim World in order for you to fear it”

More Information

Want more information regarding Dovetail Games new Flight Sim World, visit their website, visit the Steam page, visit their Facebook page and watch the video below.

Jerry’s Final Thoughts

Dovetail Games….Just Take My Money and take it now!  Honestly, I’ve had my doubts Dovetail could, would create the truly “Next Generation Flight Sim Platform” and not just pickup where Microsoft left off with Microsoft Flight.  Which in most everyone’s opinion WAS NOT A FLIGHT SIM PLATFORM, but more of an arcade game.  Of course, time will tell and not much else is really known at this time regarding which 3rd party developers are onboard with Flight Sim World.  Honestly, I’ve not really done much with X-Plane.  Meaning I’ve not spent much money on add-ons and such.  I still find that old habits are so hard to break and trying to un-learn the Microsoft way which is still very much engrained in P3D.  I’m hopeful that some of the “Microsoft Way” will be a part of Flight Sim World.  Of course, not so much of it that it chokes the new application down.  But as I have stated many times, some people may not openly embrace Flight Sim World as it will mean (most likely) replacing add-ons which had been previously developed for FSX/P3D (32 bit) with newer 64 bit versions.  But this is how we move forward….

I’ll keep you posted on any new news I learn from this.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

 

Is Cattle and Crops a Scam?

Is Cattle and Crops a Scam?  Now before I get too deep in this blog article, let me just say for the record that I DO NOT believe Cattle and Crops is a scam.  However, as I frequently discuss Cattle and Crops (CnC) in my YouTube “Let’s Play” series and on my YouTube, Twitch and Hitbox Livestreams (not to mention I’ve blogged about CnC many times on my blog site) the question does come up from time to time.  Just a few days ago during one of my YouTube Livestreams a viewer asked my opinion of this very subject.  So I thought it might be time to discuss this concern here on my blog.  But before we dive into the question if it’s a scam, allow me to provide a little more insight.

2017 – The Year of Farming

Just a few months ago I wrote about how I felt the year 2017 would go down as the year of farming.  If we count the final few months of 2016, along with the discussions for future agricultural based simulation games with planned release dates in 2017…one could easily say that 2017 would be “The Year of Farming”.  As we were all prepping for the end of 2016, Professional Farmer 2017 came crashing into the scene just ahead of the release of Giants Farming Simulator 17.  For the record, I did take a long hard look at Professional Farmer 2017, but decided to keep my money in my pocket.  I’m glad I did!  Even after many patches and updates, I still think this title has a very long way to go to be considered.  Another title (which really isn’t worth mentioning) is Farm Expert.  Like Professional Farmer 2017, I also gave this one a pass.

If you’ve been watching my YouTube channel, you know I’m very pleased with Giants Farming Simulator 17.  I have over 430 hours in the game (compared to 743 hours for FS15).  I realize I may not be setting any records with the amount of hours I’ve recorded in FS17, but these are all actual game play hours.  Meaning I’ve spent over 430 hours sitting at my gaming PC playing FS17.  Anyway….

In addition to the very promising release of Cattle and Crops (which I’ll discuss in a moment), another title which impressed me and I became excited about is Pure Farming 2017.  The team behind Pure Farming 2017 launched a website and a Facebook page.  Unfortunately, while I’m not saying this is a dead project…there really hasn’t been any new news on this title in some time.  I guess time will tell just what these guys are up to.  I suppose it really doesn’t matter as they haven’t approached the community for any money as of yet.

While my predictions of 2017 going down as the year of farming may not be looking as promising as it was in the Fall 2016 time frame, I suppose only time will tell.  Now, let me get back on subject.

Enter Cattle and Crops

It was early 2016 (February/March timeframe) when I first learned about Cattle and Crops.  The first blog entry I found where I mentioned CnC was dated 8 March 2016.  They released a “pre-alpha” video which really impressed me.  Ok…the video had a cat in it and that pleased me.  But the more I read about this game and their plans for it, the more and more impressed I became.  As the year progressed, the CnC Dev team released more information and more videos.  Sometime in the early Fall timeframe we learned CnC would be funded via a Kickstarter campaign.  I’ve supported many endeavors via Kickstarter in the past, but this would be the first time I would actually support software development.  I signed up immediately…it was a no-brainer.  At the time of the Kickstarter campaign the plan was to provide the financial backers with an early release product sometime in March 2017 with more expanded features afterwards, leading up to the full release sometime in late 2017.  I think everyone will agree, the Kickstarter campaign has been tremendously successful.  Based on the information published on the CnC website, they have a total of 10,071 Supporters who have contributed 460,726 Euro.

Why I don’t believe Cattle and Crops is a scam?

Understand, I absolutely do not have any first hand information to validate my opinions one way or the other.  Like many of you, I’m just simply an investor in the Cattle and Crops Crowdfunding campaign and (again, just like you) I anxiously await the early release and/or any news from the CnC Dev team.  Based on all that I have seen, read about and my own gut feeling….I truly believe this is a genuine software product (not vaporware) which is being actively developed with the intentions it will be released.

I believe much of the concern has to do with the delayed release of early access and the somewhat lack of communication from the CnC Dev Team.  I’ll address communications in a moment, but in the real world I work as an IT Manager for a large US based software company.  While my direct job isn’t in software development, I’m obviously aware of the various lifecycles a software product will go through from the time of its initial concept design to being 100% ready and rolled out to customers.  The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” can often be an understatement when talking about software development.  As hard as any development team may try to avoid,  delays happen and it’s generally in everyone’s best interest to press the brake pedal, versus rolling full-steam ahead.  In addition, early release products and any associated dates of release should always be viewed with flexibility.  While I agree any published finished product dates should accompany a more solid commitment regarding the date, early access is just that….it’s an early access product.

In addition to what I’ve already stated, I also believe based on some of the individuals involved with the project who have experience with Courseplay, DriveControl, GearBox mod and Modhoster that we would have learned by now if this was destined to only be vaporware.  Moving along…

Communication, Communication, Communication

Early on, I was extremely impressed with the level of communication the Cattle and Crops team released.  While we’ll never know for sure, but I think it was the CnC communications efforts which drove Giants to do a much better job in communicating and building the media hype ahead of the release of Farming Simulator 17.  But unfortunately, I’m of the opinion that Cattle and Crops have really hurt their cause with their lack of communication in recent weeks.

As I’ve already stated, software development is not a perfect thing.  Delays can and will happen.  I fully support CnC’s decision to delay the early access release originally scheduled for March.  Especially after watching how Farm Expert and Professional Farmer 17 were received.  While I agree it wouldn’t be wise to communicate a new target date as often more delays occur and the last thing you want is to have to constantly communicate more delayed releases.  But at the same time, going almost completely dark isn’t helping their cause.

Now some will argue that it may take too much time to create game play videos and that CnC is better off keeping their nose to the grind stone and not wasting time communicating.  But honestly, I really don’t need a weekly YouTube video to keep me engaged in their progress.  A simple blog posting, Facebook posting or even Tweet on Twitter each week would be all that is needed to keep their audience in the loop.  To make us feel as if we’re still part of the process.

If the original early access release date was end of March (remember what I said earlier about flexibility), we are now one full month beyond that.  Most folks who may have helped to fund CnC may not be as familiar with how the software development process and early access releases work.  Again, a little more frequent communication from the CnC Dev Team is most certainly encouraged.

Now having said all the above, the CnC Dev team did release an inspiring video showcasing how they have resolved leaky barn roofs.  The timing of this video update couldn’t have come at a better time for me.  After watching this video and feeling impressed about what they have achieved, I sat down to record an episode on my Lone Star FS17 Let’s Play.  Before I could get all my work done it began to rain.  As I parked my tractor in the barn I happened to notice that it was raining just as hard inside the barn as it was outside.  See…it’s these little things that have me feeling so excited about the release of Cattle and Crops.  Immersion and realism is very important to me in a simulation based game.

Cattle and Crops a Game Changer

In closing, please allow me to remind you that I have no inside information.  I’m not associated with the CnC Dev Team outside of my financial investment as a crowdfund investor.  That’s It!  But I really, really believe we’re going to be surprised (in a good way) with what we’ll see both in the early access version and the full blown release version.  I stand by what I’ve said many, many times that I would much better wait for the product they intend us to have than to receive something that is half baked and riddled with problems.

Finally, I only have a need for ONE agricultural based simulation game in my library.  The main reason I got involved in the Kickstarter for CnC is I do firmly believe that Cattle and Crops will change the way we experience agricultural based simulation games.  While I think FS17 is an awesome product, I’m disappointed in the similarities with FS15.  Giants most likely (or should be) is in the process of really upping their game.   If history repeats itself (and I see no reason why it wouldn’t) we can expect to see Farming Simulator 19 in October 2018.  I’m more than certain Giants has been watching and we should assume that one (or more) of the 10,071 supporters of CnC are folks at Giants looking to get their hands on the game.  While I don’t like to make dire predictions, but when Cattle and Crops reveals it is everything we hoped it would be AND if Giants releases a product which is just a slightly enhanced version of FS17 but they call it FS19, then that my friends might just spell the end for Giants.  At least it will in my book…

I’m curious what you think.  Please leave your comments below.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

How to change the language of a map in FS17

I truly love helping my fellow farm sim enthusiasts, it’s really the main reason why I launched my GrizzlyBearSims blog site and the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel.  I have been blogging about my simulation based gaming efforts since 2007 and both through this blog site and my YouTube channel, I’ve met some truly incredible people that I happily call friends.  Many of my friends have launched their own media outlets to showcase their game play and also use their platforms in turn helping others as well.    One such friend, Farmer Klein has successfully launched his YouTube channel and is quickly gaining in subscribers and popularity.  I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to feature one of his most recent tutorials on my blog site.

Unfortunately, not all maps are created equal in terms of the written language.  Some of the truly great maps may feature a language other than English and perhaps we see the German language most frequently.  Having a wife who is fluent in several European languages has worked to my advantage many times.  However, I believe she has grown bored with me calling her over to my PC to translate words I don’t recognize and I’ve often wondered how difficult it would be to change the language to English.  But I must admit, I’ve never really looked into how one goes about doing this and I really don’t have the time (or the desire) to do much with Giants Editor.  Well…..as Farmer Klein demonstrates in the video below…the process of changing the written, displayed language doesn’t require a degree in rocket science.   All that is needed is the desire, the time and the ability to use Google Translate (or have a multi-lingual wife who doesn’t mind helping).

If this interests you, (no you can’t borrow my wife) please watch the video below by my friend Farmer Klein.  After you watch the video, please show your appreciation of his hard work by subscribing to his channel and liking the video.  I’d like to give a really big Grizzly Bear “Thank You” to Farmer Klein for taking the time to showcase the steps required to change the language of a map.  Now if I can just figure out how to stop the trees and fence posts from jumping out in front of my tractor, I’ll be all set.  Mr. Farmer Klein….got a video tutorial for that?  LOL

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

GrizzlyBearSims

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