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John Venema

announcement DOVETAIL GAMES CONTINUES ORBX PARTNERSHIP

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5 hours ago, Spacey said:

Hi JV

 

This is probably a difficult question to answer and so I hope the question is not taken in the wrong way.

 

So far I have over 100+ Orbx airports as well as other software. With FSX being around for so long, the investment in software for many is great,  and for me personally is around $7000.  With Orbx being in partnership as such (or however it is) with the Dovetail 64bit program, it makes the desire to move over much greater than had Orbx not being involved.  So the dilemma is ... Do l or we just I continue to invest in 32 bit Orbx products, or save money and wait for the 64 bit release.  I hope you can understand this dilemma.   I have always supported Orbx and purchased many airports l am yet to use, as l wanted to ensure Orbx survived, and buying product was the only way I could do this.   And l wish to continue do so during the transition, but there is only so much moneys round in these times.

 

So please take this question in the nicest possible way and with the great respect I have for Orbx products, and visa versa with Orbx's support to FSX and P3D, but is it possible to give us some type of answer to this dilemma if it was you as the customer, without breaching confidential info. Or if not now, could you give some idea of when you maybe able to assist us with an outline of Orbx's plans (again without breach any confidentiality that may affect Orbx),  but can assist us in our decision making. It would be sad to see a drying up of purchases ( even a small reduction in purchases) as we wait for the 64 bit release, but for me personally, I am going to need to hold off for now, if I want to consider the expense of transferring over.

 

Thanks for your understanding.

Anthony

 

 

Anthony, it's a valid question which is not difficult to answer.

 

If you assume *all* our Orbx addons are going to be available for purchase for the Dovetail Flight Simulator (DFS) on Steam or Windows 10 store by the time it's released at the end of 2016, then you're mistaken. You've seen just how long it takes us to port to P3Dv 2.x and then again to P3Dv3.x, so we don't have a magic hat to pull DFS DLC out of either.

 

I expect that we may have some of our core products available, depending on the resources we can allocate to porting, but it won't be a large selection by any means.

 

By the same token the rest of the FS industry also has to come to grips with the new SDK and port or create new content. That is going to take years. Remember DTG said they are in it for the long haul and I don't believe they expect 100's of third party DLCs to be available on launch day, not in their wildest imagination.

 

If you want the latest Orbx products that our talented team are going to be releasing this year, then you'd be denying yourself the enjoyment of them by holding out for a possible release for DFS. Why press the pause button on your hobby because of a new sim coming in a year from now? You're either enjoying simming or not, that's the bottom line.

 

I don't expect our sales volume to slow down one tiny bit with all these announcements, I would not have done the partnership with DTG if it risked cannibalizing our revenues. People still want to buy the latest Orbx addons and they'll keep flying them in their sim of choice, and they'll do that though 2016 and 2017 and beyond.

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58 minutes ago, John Venema said:

What we have now with DTG's new sims is virtually unlimited land classes defined and engineered by Orbx so that a decade's worth of R&D is now boiled into a new sim as part of its core. That gives us a fantastic foundation to build upon without the previous restrictions we always had to code around.

 

Additionally there will be a lot of new tech in the visualization engine including new HDR, light scattering and other lighting enhancements. 

 

Does that explain what I mean by new technology?

 

Yes. Thank you for the clarification John.

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One of the benefits I see in this is that OrbX products are being adapted to 64 bit. OrbX will or has developed tools and expertise to make the most the new sim technology. So when LM does convert P3D to 64 bit it will be a faster & easier transition. I think it was good of JV to explain the benefits of using some of FSX "old" technology because many of us don't know the details of how the sim works under the hood. Some assume every single thing must be new for a new sim. Why reinvent the wheel, just modify and improve it.

I trust LM will continue to upgrade P3D in such a way as to get rid of the restrictive limitations so continuous progress can be made in scenery and functionality

Either way we will have 3 sims in which to use OrbX products. The future of our hobby is looking very bright indeed

NB

As FSX use falls with transfer of many Steam customers to the new DTG FS and LM makes some changes to P3D, OrbX will be able to make products that don't need to be restricted by maintaining compatibility with certain FSX limits.

Edited by aero-3fsx
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This is fantastic news. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote something along the lines of 'imagine what Orbx could do it the land class barrier could be broken and we see thousands of classifications'. Well I got lucky. John I can't wait to see all your hard work over the years come together in the new sim. Bring it on. 

 

Jess B

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Hi JV,

 

Thanks for for your reply.  I understand as you said that the new 64 bit flight sim will take time to develop, and 3rd party add ons for airports, tools and sceneries will take some years to meet the same level as FSX which has had a good 10 yrs to get where it is.  I guess what I am trying to ask, I will try in the following two questions.

 

1.  I guess one big question l wanted to ask is, at present we need massive machines at great expense to get the best out of FSX and P3D especially, as l and many others are using 3 monitors for cockpit views, 1 or 2 monitors for instrument panel views, iPads for EFBs, etc. Will the new system give us a break from having to spend big money on upgrades computers, as our current computers are more than powerful as we gain the benefit of 64 bit, so we can finally get a break from chasing our tails, so money can be put into new add-ons as they come out, rather than having to purchase new systems or components to run it. Basically are our current computers (eg mine for example), more than powerful enough to run what is coming out in 64 bit?

 

2.  The other question is around the fact that I thought and I am sure, many of us thought that Orbx would be heavily involved.  It was just too quiet.  Has it been possible to slowly add technology into current projects in preparation for the new system. If this is prying too much fully understand. I guess a really am asking, does Orbx believe that there will be major advances with the 64 bit that Orbx airports will just blow us away to a level we are yet to imagine,  or have developers got around the limitations of the 32 bit because it's simply been around so long, the major advances are already there, via modifying that technics used.  This I guess is the real question l and maybe others are really wanting to know as this will be the main reason for changing when we have so much invested in the current systems and sounds like the current systems will be supported for some time yet.

 

Again, hope these two questions make sense and are not asking things that are inappropriate to ask at this time.

 

Thanks again and so glad Orbx Is there with Dovetail.

Anthony

 

 

 

 

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1. The flight sim hobby *always* demands cutting edge hardware. Moving to 64-bit DX11 with new rendering tech won't change that one iota. If anything the extra memory bandwidth will place more stress on CPU/GPU and you'll need beefier speedy DDR RAM to move increasingly larger texture assets around. It was for good reason that MS Flight Simulator was used as 'the' PC benchmark software for three decades.

 

2. From 2008 onwards we have always anticipated an expansion of LC based terrain scenery capabilities. I've submitted white papers on what we envisage the perfect scenery SDK environment to be to Microsoft, Lockheed and Dovetail. We've slowly seen many things from those white papers filter into P3D, FSX:SE and now FS and DFS. I asked LM for cloud shadows about three or more years ago, now they are here. So yes, we have  added content in our products that will take advantage of newer tech. Witness how we now rely on P3D to render building and object shadows for ported and new content, instead of baking them into textures as we do for FSX.

 

64-bit and increased VAS headroom is going to usher in some spectacular addons from Orbx. Imagine if you will FTX Global V2 or V3 using 2048 or 4096 textures? That's up to 16 times the ground terrain fidelity than we have now! You'll be able to make out golfers walking on a golf course and newspapers lying on a street. Then imagine having every area of grass on the planet with actual volumetric grass blowing in the wind, and trees swaying in the breeze. Procedural PeopleFlow that intelligently spawn anywhere you land in the world, and react to weather, your location and their environment? That's all possible in the next decade. 

 

There is no need to use a new engine if the fundamentals are right. Tech can be layered on top of 25 year old code and work perfectly well. I don't get some of the naysayers and blue sky dreamers on various forums who are bleating for new engines, they don't understand that you need a proper foundation to build on first. 

 

We are right now investing in new tech to add more dynamic object manipulation capabilities to any sim engine, that's an on ongoing effort.

hat's all possible in the next decade.

 

We are in the golden age of flight simulation that's for sure.

 

As Dovetail has already said, we're looking forward to working very closely together over the coming years to usher in fantastic new content based on emerging tech.

 

And I am hugely excited about VR, that is a game changer.

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9 minutes ago, John Venema said:

1. The flight sim hobby *always* demands cutting edge hardware...

 

As it should.  To do otherwise would mean not fulfilling the potential, and rapid obsolescence.

 

This is all really good news.  Me, I'm not really interested in Flight School per se, but I do see it as an important stepping stone towards the full DTFS. The fact that Orbx is on board is very encouraging - as the highest concentration of talented scenery devs out there, I hope that their wishlist of sim capabilities is granted. :)

 

The prospect of hires textures and enhanced landscape features is wonderful, and prefect timing for the VR revolution.

 

 

A quick question - as GIS data gradually improves in quality, are there likely to be sim capabilities that could make use of future GIS data?  As well as manual design, of course.

 

For example,  it would be nice to fly over Joshua Tree NP and see the rockpiles and jagged landscape, i.e. 'localised' mesh/models/textures (via landclass), where existing GIS/mesh data results in bland smoothed-out mounds in our current sims.

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1 hour ago, John Venema said:

...

You'll be able to make out golfers walking on a golf course and newspapers lying on a street. Then imagine having every area of grass on the planet with actual volumetric grass blowing in the wind, and trees swaying in the breeze. Procedural PeopleFlow that intelligently spawn anywhere you land in the world, and react to weather, your location and their environment? That's all possible in the next decade. 

...

 

John,

Thank you for the vision and dedication to our hobby.

It is truly appreciated.


Cheers,
D-Man

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HI,

 

I dont post very often, because I do not have time and I am not an expert too to be able to help others. But, I am really happy to see the concertation between developpers to offer to us very good stuff as Orbx done and will do again.

 

Good luck in your project. I will be a supporter by buying again Orbx stuff.

 

Michel

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Would I be correct in saying that there is a high chance of the 3d street lights of FTXG also being part of the scenery then as well? If so, one of the great tweaks LM has done is the way auto gen items fade in but sadly the street lights which are an addon do not.  It would be great if since FTXG will be part of the core code, that DTG can do something similar and also allow the street lights to fade in along with the auto gen items. 

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The 3D street lights are included in the DTG sims, yes.

I'm not aware of the lack of the lights fading in their engine, I'll mention this in our discussions.

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first - great news. glad to hear it.

 

second - just  a question -  is the land class tile size still locked or has it been made either smaller or developer selectable?

 

Ive always thought the landclass approach was very intelligent and if landclass tiles had selectable sizes then it would be easier to fill in odd 'cracks' in scenery to keep textures more appropriately aligned with mesh and vector data.

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Wow, hearing John talk about this I think I'm going to wet my pants! 

 

Bring it on!!  Credit card at the ready.

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5 hours ago, John Venema said:

64-bit and increased VAS headroom is going to usher in some spectacular addons from Orbx. Imagine if you will FTX Global V2 or V3 using 2048 or 4096 textures? That's up to 16 times the ground terrain fidelity than we have now! You'll be able to make out golfers walking on a golf course and newspapers lying on a street. Then imagine having every area of grass on the planet with actual volumetric grass blowing in the wind, and trees swaying in the breeze. Procedural PeopleFlow that intelligently spawn anywhere you land in the world, and react to weather, your location and their environment? That's all possible in the next decade. 

 

There is no need to use a new engine if the fundamentals are right.

Thanks very much for those pieces of insight, that was exactly what I wanted to ask.

I understand that your talking about what is possible and not what will be included in the first release of the new flight sim, but looking at what's possible leaves me very exited :)

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Thanks JV,

 

That time I think I asked the questions the right way as your answers were exactly what I was after. Much appreciated.

 

One final question if you get time, does this mean 2 more platforms now need to be included, so as to now include Dovetail 64 bit and P3D 64 bit,  or will there be a need to move away from the 32 bit in the next 2 to 3 years, as this workload will be massive (just as porting FSX to P3D has been a massive undertaking for Orbx in itself), or does the development work and technology allow for a progressive program be built to allow for an airport to have multiple levels in the one design / package, as the base technology is fundamentally the same. And so we buy either the 32 bit or 64 bit version just as some programs allow for FSX, P3D and on occassions 2004. 

 

Best wishes

Anthony

 

 

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If OrbX can organise with LM how the 64bit version of Prepar3d will be implemented then the conversion of OrbX products to Dovetail FS could be done in tandem with the future P3D 64bit. Since LM already admit that conversion of P3D to 64 bit will render all existing addons obsolete, why not get them to have the same or similar texture & LC structure as DTG FS. Since OrbX has influence then it should be for their benefit, making it easy to provide 64bit products to both 64bit flight sims.

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22 hours ago, John Venema said:

64-bit and increased VAS headroom is going to usher in some spectacular addons from Orbx. Imagine if you will FTX Global V2 or V3 using 2048 or 4096 textures? That's up to 16 times the ground terrain fidelity than we have now! You'll be able to make out golfers walking on a golf course and newspapers lying on a street. Then imagine having every area of grass on the planet with actual volumetric grass blowing in the wind, and trees swaying in the breeze. Procedural PeopleFlow that intelligently spawn anywhere you land in the world, and react to weather, your location and their environment? That's all possible in the next decade. 

 

Wow.

 

I think my drooling has just je,mmd my kjeebrd.

 

My mastercard is already looking for somewhere to hide.

 

Thank you

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2 hours ago, aero-3fsx said:

If OrbX can organise with LM how the 64bit version of Prepar3d will be implemented then the conversion of OrbX products to Dovetail FS could be done in tandem with the future P3D 64bit. Since LM already admit that conversion of P3D to 64 bit will render all existing addons obsolete, why not get them to have the same or similar texture & LC structure as DTG FS. Since OrbX has influence then it should be for their benefit, making it easy to provide 64bit products to both 64bit flight sims.

Yep, I already had this idea, too. It might be a win-win situation for all involved (LM, DT, ORBX, customers) - if they are only willing to cooperate. Kind of a mini industry standard.

 

Kind regards, Michael

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this will be perfect timing for my next build with the Broadwell -E box.  I'm be going to M2 SSD for the system and will dedicate my Current SSD to the new sim when it's available. :lol:

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23 hours ago, sightseer said:

 

first - great news. glad to hear it.

 

second - just  a question -  is the land class tile size still locked or has it been made either smaller or developer selectable?

 

Ive always thought the landclass approach was very intelligent and if landclass tiles had selectable sizes then it would be easier to fill in odd 'cracks' in scenery to keep textures more appropriately aligned with mesh and vector data.

 

LC tiles are still 1024x1024, but they can be any size really. The larger they are, the higher the resolution the textures are. What remains fixed is that no matter the resolution each tile represents 1.2km square of land surface; that is not likely to change. Making the area smaller would immediately require a huge increase in the number of textures for the global terrain, not really desirable.

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19 hours ago, Spacey said:

Thanks JV,

 

That time I think I asked the questions the right way as your answers were exactly what I was after. Much appreciated.

 

One final question if you get time, does this mean 2 more platforms now need to be included, so as to now include Dovetail 64 bit and P3D 64 bit,  or will there be a need to move away from the 32 bit in the next 2 to 3 years, as this workload will be massive (just as porting FSX to P3D has been a massive undertaking for Orbx in itself), or does the development work and technology allow for a progressive program be built to allow for an airport to have multiple levels in the one design / package, as the base technology is fundamentally the same. And so we buy either the 32 bit or 64 bit version just as some programs allow for FSX, P3D and on occassions 2004. 

 

Best wishes

Anthony

 

 

 

There is no real difference for terrain scenery and airports in 32-bit versus 64-bit, the raw content is the same. What changes is the texture format which is now DDS instead of BMP for terrain textures, and also the tools to compile them are slightly different. So developers would create the same core content but compile them using different SDKs. Of course with the extra memory footprint available to developers with 64-bit, it's possible that 4096 textures would become the norm for airports on the DTG sim. You'd get much higher fidelity with those versions in that case, ie terminals, ground poly, aprons; they could all be extremely detailed.

 

The other new thing to possibly expect from DFS as it evolves is new material attributes; meaning that there may possibly be all sorts of eye candy applied to textures to have specular lighting, shine, reflections etc, depending on whether they are concrete, glass, timber, plastic, gravel, grass, sand, asphalt, metal and much more. So this means a lot of extra work at the modeling stage where textures will need to use material attribute maps to take advantage of new lighting tech. This same lighting tech may well filter down to landclass terrain textures as well. You'll end up with incredible depth and reality to everything in the world if the developers take the time to apply material attribute masks. Don't quote me on this happening in V1 though, I am sure this capability will filter to the sim as it evolves over the next few years.

 

I need to clarify though, that any DLC that Orbx releases for Dovetail Flight Simulator would not be sold by us, it would be a brand new purchase published by DTG via Steam or Windows Store, and the packaging of those DLCs is very different to our current quad installers.

 

I can't talk to what LM may do for a possible 64-bit version of P3D, that's all conjecture at this point and we envisage continuing to support 32-bit P3D for some time yet with our quad installers.

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4 minutes ago, John Venema said:

I can't talk to what LM may do for a possible 64-bit version of P3D, that's all conjecture at this point and we envisage continuing to support 32-bit P3D for some time yet with our quad installers.

Thanks John for the further clarification of how things are going. As I stated earlier it would make OrbX work far easier if they go the same way with 64bit as Dovetail so your work is minimised. Yeah, sure the marketing will be vastly different but the OrbX product foundation would be best if both Dovetail and LM were as close as possible. Then you are going to be more motivated to make those textures really shine (pun intended)

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Thanks for replying again.  Very content with your answers and clarification.  Very much appreciated. 

 

Anthony

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On 2016-03-17 at 4:54 AM, John Venema said:

 

If you want to cover the entire planet with a realistic facsimile of what is there in real life, the only viable system to use that would not require 750GB+ of data is one based on the Olsen landclass (LC) approach. This allows a whole-earth sim to be shipped in about 10-15GB worth of files. In FSX/P3D this Olsen LC system is limited to about 128 classes - far too restrictive to depict the vast terrain variety on earth.

 

There has been lots of banner waving and espousing of supposed current-tech engines like Outterra, Unigen, Unreal (insert name here), but those engines simply cannot scale to whole round earth models and push the insane level of geometry to the horizon as the 'old' FSX engine can. Despite 10 years of progress in gaming engines nothing can touch the FSX engine for far-horizon geometry rendering; the other engines are all mostly designed for limited area arenas. Even the excellent DCS engine is limited in its scope and relies on vast amounts of data per area.

 

What Orbx has been doing over the past decade is making our own 'FSX 11' by expanding past the 128-class barrier with hundreds of new classes. However this required us to hack FSX/P3D and that's why FTX Central exists.

 

What we have now with DTG's new sims is virtually unlimited land classes defined and engineered by Orbx so that a decade's worth of R&D is now boiled into a new sim as part of its core. That gives us a fantastic foundation to build upon without the previous restrictions we always had to code around.

 

Additionally there will be a lot of new tech in the visualization engine including new HDR, light scattering and other lighting enhancements. 

 

Does that explain what I mean by new technology?

 

Best explanation EVER...  on everything  including the reason for FTX central.

 

Thanks, Ben

 

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5 hours ago, John Venema said:

 

LC tiles are still 1024x1024, but they can be any size really. The larger they are, the higher the resolution the textures are. What remains fixed is that no matter the resolution each tile represents 1.2km square of land surface; that is not likely to change. Making the area smaller would immediately require a huge increase in the number of textures for the global terrain, not really desirable.

 

Thanks, John for the answer.  but actually it was the 1.2km square that i was referring to.  I know that it has caused trouble in the past so I wondered if the situation may be changing.

What had occurred to me since I wrote the question though is that if that 1.2km square were cut into fourths then it would also take four times the memory read and writes to 'paint' the same area with texture.  and I never thought of texture resolution playing a role.

 

 

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Really excited for this new sim and Orbx. The benchmark for DTFS for me was to have the scenery look better than stock P3D v3, and this seems to meet and exceed that benchmark. The new screenshots look really nice, and however DTG are doing their vector and landclass looks great too.

 

Now I just hope they get the flight physics up to my benchmark, as good or better than X Plane. I know they stated that Flight School will have FSX:SE physics, which is slightly disappointing, but understandable. Makes sense for it to have easier physics for new players.

 

I do have a question for you guys at Orbx:

 

Is the new platform giving you guys the tools to make textures stand out some and look 3D at all? Like some bump map technology, or whatever awesome modern texture technology which games use now? Even the best Orbx and aftermarket sceneries can look really flat and slightly unconvincing sometimes, especially lower to the ground. It would be super awesome if mountain textures really popped and looked like jagged rocky faces, forest textures really popped and had alive undergrowth, waves really looked like they were cresting and exploding in whitewash, river banks/gravel bars rose up from rivers, and most importantly photo scenery in high detailed areas such as add on airports had some roll and undulation beyond what the mesh can provide.

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7 hours ago, Benny said:

 

Best explanation EVER...  on everything  including the reason for FTX central.

 

Thanks, Ben

 

 

+1

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4096 as standard. No more OOMs. I think I'm going to need a bigger SSD.

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43 minutes ago, forostar said:

4096 as standard. No more OOMs. I think I'm going to need a bigger SSD.

By the time this happens SSD's will be faster and cheaper

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WOW , been away from FS for the last 6 weeks. The world has changed, I bet this announcement killed the DTG naysayers.

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22 hours ago, John Venema said:

I need to clarify though, that any DLC that Orbx releases for Dovetail Flight Simulator would not be sold by us, it would be a brand new purchase published by DTG via Steam or Windows Store, and the packaging of those DLCs is very different to our current quad installers.

 

Does this continued partnership also continue the 90 day exclusivity, like SE had with Meigs and Friday Harbor?

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33 minutes ago, Bruce Hamilton said:

 

Does this continued partnership also continue the 90 day exclusivity, like SE had with Meigs and Friday Harbor?

 

At least for YMML v3, apparently not, as JV indicated here.

    "Simultaneous release for FSX, P3Dv1/2/3 and also a version for FSX:Steam Edition via DTG"

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On 18.3.2016 at 5:36 PM, John Venema said:

 

I need to clarify though, that any DLC that Orbx releases for Dovetail Flight Simulator would not be sold by us, it would be a brand new purchase published by DTG via Steam or Windows Store, and the packaging of those DLCs is very different to our current quad installers..

First, thanks for your thorough explanations which I closely followed.

 

This new publishing scheme - which certainly makes sense within the framework of DFS - begs one question for me. Do you intend to give valued customers who bought quite a lot of your sceneries (in my case read: all) some kind of rebate for buying the DFS transferred versions? Please make sure: Neither do I ask for free converted versions nor for an exact percentage at this point, but for the general framework if this is your intention. 

 

Thanks and kind regards, Michael

Edited by pmb

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JV,

 

Great News and happy to see our hobby moving forward. Bring on DTG Flight Simulator...! I hope you all are doing well!

Edited by WillClark

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1 hour ago, pmb said:

First, thanks for your thorough explanations which I closely followed.

 

This new publishing scheme - which certainly makes sense within the framework of DFS - begs one question for me. Do you intend to give valued customers who bought quite a lot of your sceneries (in my case read: all) some kind of rebate for buying the DFS transferred versions? Please make sure: Neither do I ask for free converted versions nor for an exact percentage at this point, but for the general framework if this is your intention. 

 

Thanks and kind regards, Michael

 

No, there is no intention to give rebates to DTG customers buying Orbx DLC through Steam/Windows Store. You become customers of DTG with the new sim, and we have no visibility of transactions as they happen. There will be constant deals, sales, bundles and offers on Steam anyway, so chances are it will be offered at a lower price point than you're used to.

 

DFS is a line in the sand for us, because it will cost time and money to create DLC. Over the past few years we've spent a six figure sum compensating our customers for all the free double, triple and now quad installers for three/four different simulator code lines. That's a lot to absorb and we now have to find the resources to create DLC for DFS, because all of the current Orbx developers are not going to down tools for six months to make that happen when they instead can continue to create new content for FSX/P3D.

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1 hour ago, John Venema said:

DFS is a line in the sand for us, because it will cost time and money to create DLC. Over the past few years we've spent a six figure sum compensating our customers for all the free double, triple and now quad installers for three/four different simulator code lines. That's a lot to absorb and we now have to find the resources to create DLC for DFS, because all of the current Orbx developers are not going to down tools for six months to make that happen when they instead can continue to create new content for FSX/P3D.

 

That pretty much is a deal breaker for me in regards to switching to DFS.  Like Michael, I own everything ORBX has released, and I would rather purchase new content for Prepar3D than repurchase "old" content just for DFS compatibility.

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