Developer's Blog #7 - Long time no see
by Otmar Nitsche, 25.04.2018
Oh man, time passes so quickly these days. I am certain that the earth spins MUCH faster now than it did when I was six years old. The truth is that sometimes things just won't work out the way we plan them. And while I was certain to meet my deadline last time I wrote a devblog, reality hit hard. In essence my plan collapsed when my to-do-list grew bigger the closer I got to the projected date of release. And here we are, months later you still haven't heard anything yet.That's why I'll take the time to give you an overview of the state of affairs.
For the past few months I dug myself deep into the core of the Vega, because I found a lot of issues that I couldn't address with a quick fix. As a result I changed the whole architecture of the systems simulation in order to achieve a higher level of maintainability and stability! And because I felt so bad about not meeting my goals, I didn't want to engage in discussion until I have a solution. I know that it's frustrating for you, but unfortunately it is the way I operate. Believe me, I feel bad about it as well...
So here are a few of the things that I addressed over the last months:
- The website wing42.com had an issue with the user registration. When the site was launched, it wasn't possible to sign up a user account yet. It took me a few days to find the error. The good news was that it was a really stupid error that was fixed within 10 seconds, once I knew what it was.
It's all fixed, you can register an account on our website now!
- The latest development is that the website now features a comprehensive download module that I integrated into the site over the last few days. It will allow for large files to be exchanged and includes a version control that will let you know when a new version of the Vega's installer is available. It took a while to integrate, because of the custom design of wing42.com. But it's all done now
- I also spent considerable time working on the checkout process to adjust the design and streamline it for you.
- There's still some minor issues with the site that I will address at some point in the future. But overall the website is ready for launch!
- I finished the writing on the manual for the early-alpha Lockheed Vega! At the moment it contains about 30 pages designed to help you understand the operation of the aircraft and also to show which parts are NOT working yet. It will be released soon, so you can have a look at the work.
- I told you before that the early alpha version of the Lockheed Vega will be released for two platforms: FSX and Prepar3D v4. In addition to that, I can now announce that the installer will include an installation for FSX Steam Edition as well. And both, the FSX and FSX:SE version of the early-alpha aircraft are ready to go!
- The bad news is that the deployment for Prepar3Dv4 is still not quite up to speed. Now, I have two options: I could release now without the option to deploy on Prepar3D, or I keep working until the Prepar3D version is finished. What do you think is best?
- As I wrote above, I worked a lot to fix up foundational problems with the Vega's installation. I won't go into detail, because there's just too much that was changed over the past months.
- I also worked extensively on the 3d model of the aircraft. The most prevalent example of that work is the new window structure in the cockpit. Check out the new screenshots I uploaded on the website, if you haven't done so yet.
- I implemented the maintenance tool in form of a manual to the simulator. The core of it is functional, however since I haven't coded malfunctions yet, most of it won't have much of an effect yet.
- The ground crew interface also received a small facelift.
- Lighting is finished. Among other things it features a volumetric landing light, flickering cockpit light and ground reflections.
- Custom particle effects are implemented for engine start and touchdown effects.
- ....and much more
And now for something completely different.
Security, DRM and Piracy
For a long time, the flightsim community is plagued with bad software design practices when it comes to matter of anti-piracy and DRM. One cause of this is certainly bad software design practices by none other than Microsoft when they designed FSX. The fact that the simulator needs Administrative control is disconcerting to say the least and ever since the release of FSX, users of the sim have been accepting the risk that comes with it. Unfortunately, other than switching platform to a more modern one, there is nothing I can do to elevate the risk. I do, however want to make one thing perfectly clear:
Wing42 is dedicated to the security of our software and the protection of user data!
The initial release of the early-alpha Vega won't have any DRM protection. There's no activation process and no serial number. That being said, I do plan to integrate a basic, non-invasive activation process some time in the future and I hope I have your support for this step.
What I can assure you right now is that our setup program won't install anything else but the Lockheed Vega, the manuals and the uninstall wizard. I personal consider anything beyond that a breach of trust.
Now, let's talk about your personal data. If I had my way, I wouldn't even ask for your address when you make your purchase. Unfortunately, I am legally obligated to obtain and save some personal information of every customer. But I do my best to keep all the information save as best as I can. Our server receives regular software updates and all communication - with exception of this forum, is SSL encrypted for your protection.
I hope you gained some insight about my work and the achievement. I think I'm passed the point where I should make any promises, so let me just say that the Vega will be released soon! I am working towards this date for the past two years and I cannot express how excited I am about it!
As always, please feel free to give me your opinion!