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John Venema

announcement Effective immediately - restrictions on downloads of FSS transferred licenses

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what really surprised me is the under estimating by orbx staff in regard to downloads volumes.

if you know that you have 65000 customers, that need to transfer to ORBX direct to be able

to get updates and new products, and your systems are already cracking when 15% of potential customers

are switched over.

I really wonder what will happen when 65000 people in future are downloading sceneries and updates.

maybe you will reach then 50TB every day instead of weekly.

so the biggest profitmaker will be your server provider, he will be really happy with this switch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think that it was not expected that customers would start to unnecessarily download their entire catalogue of products.

At least that is what was very clearly stated at the beginning of this topic.

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The E-Mail / announcement is a pure PR disaster... the choice of words, really really poor.

I really hope there is no P3D update in the near future which forces a reinstall...

First the migration trouble which killed my sim and forced a complete reinstall and now this.

 

Maybe it would be a good idea to include a torrent client into ORBX Direct (make it optional) to ease the server traffic.

Making the old installers completely useless was an oversight as well and i hope this will be fixed soon in some way or the other.

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4 hours ago, John Venema said:

 

I admit it. I messed up. I should have kept the old FSS installers active. My bad, shit happens.

 

We're trying to fix my mistake, hopefully we can have a solution soon that is beginning to look like:

 

A. Allow your old FSS installers to be activated online as they used to be before licenses were transferred

B. Transferring your FSS licenses to OrbxDirect does not impact your old installers

C. Charge an annual A$30 fee for an all-you-can-eat unlimited download OrbxDirect account

I'll happily admit to being one of those who has downloaded all my products to recreate by backup files.

 

I don't feel I ought to be obliged to justify my actions. The facility to obtain backups and the techniques for doing so were discussed in various forums/fora before the event. I feel it is my right to decide how to organise my data, and if I want to take a belt and braces approach if the facility exists, then so be it. If ORBX didn't want this to happen, then the facility shouldn't have been provided. I don't in any way consider this a panic action, simply good housekeeping.

 

However, I'm more than happy to pay the cost of doing this. In fact, I'll quite happily make a paypal payment / bank transfer to cover the cost of my 134gb worth of downloads first thing tomorrow if you can let me know the amount involved and provide me with a mechanism (eg paypal account id). And no, I'm not being sarcastic, that is a genuine offer. I am quite ok with paying for bandwidth/downloads.

 

But I have to say that I think option C above is a bad idea. The whole point about doing these downloads is that they were a one-off exercise so that I don't ever have to do that again.

 

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2 minutes ago, Nemex said:

I really hope there is no P3D update in the near future which forces a reinstall...

 Er... you might want to read this:

 

Thanks to FTXC3 reinstalling Orbx addons is easier and quicker than ever, even if you own ALL products. What took days in the past will take minutes now. Well, depending on the speed of your disks. ;)

 

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I really hope there is no P3D update in the near future which forces a reinstall...

Mentioned already in the topic, there is a new topic in the FAQ section to cover this

 

First the migration trouble which killed my sim and forced a complete reinstall and now this.

Sorry to read that but most customers did not share your experience

 

Maybe it would be a good idea to include a torrent client into ORBX Direct (make it optional) to ease the server traffic.

Maybe

 

Making the old installers completely useless was an oversight as well and i hope this will be fixed soon in some way or the other.

Mentioned already in the topic, did you read it before you added your post?

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4 minutes ago, Nick Cooper said:

Mentioned already in the topic, did you read it before you added your post?

 

Clearly not. And people not reading is exactly what got us into this unneeded trouble (for some) in the first place... Even THIS topic contains lots of posts from people who clearly didn't read the available information... Amazing.

Edited by J van E
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JV,

I have a dedicated PC for my flight sim that I rebuild at least once a year from the ground up.  This keeps my install cleaned up and provides a solid known base.  In this scenario saving folders and copying them back defeats the whole purpose.  I could copy the whole P3D folder and hack the registry also, you wouldn’t suggest that.  But I’m not sure why that is relevant here at all.  I was looking forward to using ORBXDirect and FTC Central v3 for my next rebuild, no wrappers to deal with!  I have no problem with moving forward.

I think your communication pre-launch was very good.  As I stated, I tried to read everything I could and thought I understood the process very well.  My plan was to rebuild my PC, reinstall P3D, transfer my license to ORBXDirect, and use the new facility to reinstall my ORBX products.  That is what I understood was the proper procedure for reinstall.  There were several questions pre-launch concerning this exact scenario of rebuilding and the consensus was to wait for ORBXDirect and Central v3 then rebuild.  The reasons for waiting were no more wrappers, download speeds would be better, and unlimited downloads.  This is what I took from your pre-launch communication.  If I misunderstood please let me know.  I’ve asked in this thread to clarify if this one per day is applied to installs also or only to backups.  I have no interest in storing backups since you touted moving to the cloud. 

It sure seems if this was caused by a few users that is who you should have addressed.  Is there a way to see that I have purchased products not installed, then allow me to install more than one per day?  Really, expecting me to take months to install products I’ve already purchased while saying buy something new and you can download all you want is poor customer support.

I’m just trying to figure out where to go from here.  I’ve been a great customer and I love your products.  You seem to have made a bad business decision and instead of doing everything you can to make it up to the customer you are blaming them.  You committed to allowing users to download backups, reassuring them they would be able to, and now you’re saying they’re the problem.  You are really starting to sound like a politician.  Once you change the rules like this you can no longer expect trust.  This leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.  I had the issue with the blurries after migration, mighty frustrating, but you guys provided a good solution.  I do have doubts about future purchases from ORBX and will your infrastructure sustain the load.  Will you just make up new rules as you go?  I will wait to see how this one turns out and I am confident you’ll find a fair solution.  But, if it takes months to use your installers to install my purchases, I’ll certainly be rethinking my commitment to ORBX. 

Just my, probably not wanted opinion, but instructing people to copy folders and files around instead of using your installers is asking for trouble.  You should have a good handle on what your user community is all about by now.

 

hank

(I hope you don't mind, your font size was making my eyes hurt. Nick)

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After reading Hanks post above, It made me wonder.....if people who already have everything installed are downloading backups, does that mean they're using the separate zip file backup downloads ? If so, is there a way to only limit those to one a day, but allow people hitting the "Install" button to get their products installed in the sim minus the restriction ?

 

EDIT: To expand on this, and my original suggestion of people sending in photos of their FTXC3 showing products not installed.....FTXC3 obviously knows what products are installed and not installed in our sims, as it clearly shows it in the interface. Is it possible to update FTXC3 to only impose the limit when it shows the product is installed, but allow no daily restriction when installing a product that it detects is not installed ?

Edited by Captain Z

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1 hour ago, awf said:

 

Well why not make life simple and make a backup solution in FTX Central V3 and copy the whole directory structure plus files to a backup medium.

With a simple option to (re)install via one button click ;-)

We can then skip all the drama and make the most of us happy since we are already making backups of our installer files.

In that case you would avoid the need to download everything again and we both have our simple but effective solution.

Cheers,

 

 

 

2 hours ago, Nick Cooper said:

I have written a short guide on how to re-install with the minimum of downloading, it is pinned

in the FAQ section of the Support forum

 

Nick, bear in mind that backing up \Scenery\World\Scenery copies files from other developers. If one of them is corrupt, then the re-install process will be flawed. So, 'awf' gave the best solution so far. :)

 

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RJ, yes I am well aware that users may well find numerous ways to damage their installations, I have been known to do it myself.

It has to be assumed that the installation contains FTX products only, as the guide is for re-installing FTX products only.

There is no one search term that catches all the FTX files added by all the FTX installers.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, fueliehead said:

JV,

I have a dedicated PC for my flight sim that I rebuild at least once a year from the ground up.  This keeps my install cleaned up and provides a solid known base.  In this scenario saving folders and copying them back defeats the whole purpose.  I could copy the whole P3D folder and hack the registry also, you wouldn’t suggest that.  But I’m not sure why that is relevant here at all.  I was looking forward to using ORBXDirect and FTC Central v3 for my next rebuild, no wrappers to deal with!  I have no problem with moving forward....

...

A very clear contribution, which I fully agree to, even more, as I am in much the same situation.

 

Kind regards, Michael

 

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3 hours ago, pmb said:

While this idea has something, it's not without a backside. Actually, I still have a backup of the ORBX filder from my previous machine. However, as always the devil may be hidden in detail. Where did I rename those .bgl to .off files? Will I install the same 3rd party sceneries as before? Plus, I installed Vancouver 3+, Victoria+, Tongass Fjord. I don't excactly recall how I did it, but they worked and their installation hand some relation to ORBX (after all Vancouver 3+ is called "for PNW"). Thus  I might probably copy their folders, too. Or not? 

 

Make your way through the compatibility forum. How many renamings / substitutions are there? Will you be able to reproduce the very same 3rd party addons infrastructure? Moreover, perhaps I even don't want to? 

 

There are several loose ends in this approach, and I would have preferred a clean start.

 

Kind regards, Michael

That is one of the reasons I won't back up my FS installation. As an example, I installed SBuilder and found out weeks later that some airports had trees on the runway. There was no way to remove them. One other time I found glitches in the PNG region because of some mesh I installed. So, every once in a while I do a fresh FS install to correct these errors. :)

 

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I hope that Mr. Venema has learned one thing from this PR desaster: the customer is always right, because it is him, the customer, who pays his bills

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1 minute ago, RJ said:

That is one of the reasons I won't back up my FS installation. As an example, I installed SBuilder and found out weeks later that some airports had trees on the runway. There was no way to remove them. One other time I found glitches in the PNG region because of some mesh I installed. So, every once in a while I do a fresh FS install to correct these errors. :)

 

Acronis

 

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Wouldn't it make sense to " rebuild at least once a year from the ground up" and at that point make the back up,

before you have had the chance to do any damage?

Unless I am mistaken, that backup would then provide the baseline for any future re-installation?  

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7 hours ago, Trevor Bagnell said:

I am glad I got all my downloads in before this rediculous decision was made.

 

Obviously there is nothing ridiculous about it when you suddenly face 50TB of traffic.

If I hadn't recently had to set up my whole OS from scratch, I wouldn't have the need to download a single bit from ORBX, because I had all of my purchases installed in my sim.

Just because they switch to a new distribution system, doesn't mean that you have to re-download all your stuff again.

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17 minutes ago, Nick Cooper said:

RJ, yes I am well aware that users may well find numerous ways to damage their installations, I have been known to do it myself.

It has to be assumed that the installation contains FTX products only, as the guide is for re-installing FTX products only.

There is no one search term that catches all the FTX files added by all the FTX installers.

 

 

The perfect world would only have FTX products. A solution for this would be JV buying ALL software developers and ruling the world. I wouldn't mind. :D

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With all this wailing and gnashing of teeth just show how few people read the OPs about ORBX Direct. At first I was hesitant about changing over to ORBX Direct it didn't take me long to bite the bullet and make the change. Once I installed FTXCV3 it showed all the ORBX products I had purchased and installed. Only NZSI was not installed but I soon fixed that along with various upgrades. The main reason was that I had a backup of my ORBX folder. People find such thread boring and only scan through them missing the main points.

 

Having said that I could say the same about the thread that restricted signatures to just 2 lines and a graphic. Reading through all 5 pages of this thread show just how many people read/ignored the thread about their signatures and still have half page sigs. Yes I know I can hide them but why should I have to do that because someone is too lazy to read a thread or change their signature to what is required.

Edited by Pat Cox (Aussieman)
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2 minutes ago, KVSandleben said:

Just because they switch to a new distribution system, doesn't mean that you have to re-download all your stuff again

That is not entirely true, Karsten. In my case I had Australia and many Aussie airports on a HDD with a FSS installer. I hadn't installed them yet after a system upgrade and of course now all of them didn't work anymore. So ORBXDirect downloaded all of them again

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Nick,

Thanks for fixing my font, I didn't catch it.

 

I won't get into a religious battle about installing fresh vs copying files.  My experience, I have a lot of it, has been that it is always best to reinstall fresh.  Everyone can go about however they want.  I don't have a clean install right now so that doesn't work for me.  Also what would that baseline be, ORBX products, addon aircraft, what would be baseline?  If I understand your solution above it only applies if you only have FTX products installed.  Not sure if that is correct but it makes no difference.  Your asking users to avoid your installers and instead copy files around and hope for the best.  Unprofessional for a developer your size and not acceptable to me.  One of my (growing)  frustrations is that you (ORBX) keep deflecting from the main point.  Which is, if I need to reinstall my purchased ORBX products I can only do this one product per day.  ORBX touted how great going to the cloud was going to be for customers.  I bought in.  I followed all the instructions, I've deleted all my old FSS downloads and now I'm being made to look like this is my problem. This is not fair to me, plain and simple. 

 

I have faith that ORBX will provide a fair solution.

 

hank 

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I have a wife and two kids and a busy job and barely get time to fly. But I still reckon I fly more than most of you. I had no idea most people spend their time constantly reinstalling addons and fidgeting with backups and configurations

 

Not sure how ORBX could have forseen this. Maybe they should release a Download, Reinstall and Backup Simulator to keep those people happy?

 

I have not migrated. Will do so when  I next need to buy something. 

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14 minutes ago, bernd1151 said:

That is not entirely true, Karsten. In my case I had Australia and many Aussie airports on a HDD with a FSS installer. I hadn't installed them yet after a system upgrade and of course now all of them didn't work anymore. So ORBXDirect downloaded all of them again

Look at my situation. I have 128 FTX products. I am reinstalling my machine from scratch. I was able to install 7 products in the last few days using FTXC3. There are still 121 products to be installed. This gives me 121 days (or more than 4 months) with the new "one download per day" rule. However, I still have all these products with the FSS wraper. Basically, it takes, on everage, about 2 or 3 days to do these installations. So, I don't see any problem if these wrappers are working again since, of course, a period is allowed to take advantage of this.

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42 minutes ago, Captain Z said:

EDIT: To expand on this, and my original suggestion of people sending in photos of their FTXC3 showing products not installed.....FTXC3 obviously knows what products are installed and not installed in our sims, as it clearly shows it in the interface. Is it possible to update FTXC3 to only impose the limit when it shows the product is installed, but allow no daily restriction when installing a product that it detects is not installed ?

I could easily fake an image, so what you wrote is one great solution too. :)

 

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I keep reading examples of people using OrbxDirect in a perfectly normal and planned manner, such as downloading products they own but had not yet installed, or doing a system rebuild. None of those usage patterns would have had any affect on our bandwidth, certainly what we had planned and provisioned for.

 

It's the customers who downloaded 100's of GB of installers for products already installed on their system that we have taken issue with.

 

You may call it a PR disaster - it's not. It's us putting the brakes on carte Blanche downloads while we discuss the issue in a consultative way and try to establish and understand  the reasons for people wanting to do all these downloads. 

 

You may call it disrespecting the customer - it's not. Putting a cap on downloads is protecting the business from harm until we find the best solution.

 

You may claim the customer is always right - they're not. If I believed that, Orbx would not be anywhere near the company it is today, nor would you have the range of products we have developed.

 

You may claim a loss of trust in Orbx - that's your prerogative. But we have tens of thousands of customers who have stood behind every decision my team and I have made over the past decade and will back us today, tomorrow and in the years to come. Why? Because despite all these little crises, supposed PR disasters, acts of contempt or disregard that generates such hysteria - it usually turns out that we actually really do care about quality, our customers, the buying experience and making our products the best in the industry. We really do care about delivering the best we can make. We really do spend a lot of money on R&D, on code and apps, and back-end systems.

 

And eventually everything all works out and the crisis is forgotten, and life goes on.

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1 minute ago, RJ said:

So, I don't see any problem if these wrappers are working again since, of course, a period is allowed to take advantage of this.

I fully agree with you RJ. Once these wrappers are working again, all will be fine. But the last two days, when I re-downloaded all this Aussie stuff (and nothing else btw), we hadn't talked about that yet ;)

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I upgraded smoothly to v.3 and only downloaded some updates and the Lancair.

 

My advice is to keep a full back up of your sim and if you ever have any issues, you have the peace of mind you seek. I would never try to re-download everything without considering the reality that it will incur a cost to ORBX.

 

The best thing to do is to permanently make the old installers workable.

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3 hours ago, John Venema said:

You've done nothing wrong, if everyone who needed to do a fresh new install did what you did it would not have been a blip in the bandwidth quota.

 

The issue is those who decided to download 100's of GB of products purely for the purpose of creating installer backups; products they already had installed in their ORBX folder.

 

The customers who have downloaded everything have done nothing wrong. The FTX Central V3 - Offical FAQ, posted under your name, (still) says:

 

Q30 Is there a limit to the number of downloads per product from OrbxDirect?

A30 No, there’s no limit at all, you can download as many times as you like as often as you like.


You're mad at people for taking you at your word.

 

3 hours ago, John Venema said:

It's similar to me downloading my entire Steam library of games (about 250GB worth), just in case I might have a crash or failure in the future. Something I'd never do and nor do I understand why anyone would either. Actually no - it's more bizarre than that. It's like me downloading all my Steam games *again* even though they might already be installed on my HD. You know, for a rainy day or in case the sky falls on my head :)

 

Would you do anything differently if you knew it would take you over four months to reinstall your Steam games? That's the situation you've put me in with the 1-per-day restriction. It would never have occurred to me to proactively download everything just to have it around, but it seems like the smart move now.

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7 hours ago, Walkabout said:

Anyone tried to download the encrypted nested zip folders  (Manual download, rather than the FTX Central route which can take hours).  I tried one and found 138 zips, with 13 zips inside each and more files inside those zips  with no way to combine them, so had to resort to a 3 hour download via FTX Central.

 

I was wondering what happened, My download folder had about 200 zip files, and each of those had many zip files, it was crazy.

 

On another note, I have only two regions and about 5-6 of my mnay airports installed, so I shall be patient and install only one at a time, which I usually do, no rush.

 

The only thing that scares me is losing my internet during a download, My service is terrible right now, and trying to restart it and getting that red message that I have to wait until tomorrow.

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I should advise Orbx for future releases to calculate the Au$ 0,15 per GB in the product price

so a 1GB scenery will cost 0.15 cents extra and a 10GB scenery will cost au$ 1,50 extra

so we have paid then for the download if we buy a product and everybody can download

a backup for his private collection if wanted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, ak416 said:

Is this a joke, or are you really that out of touch with reality? The tone of this message as a whole is so condescending its embarrassing. 

 

I agree. I appreciate that you guys may have underestimated the load but the tone of your email leaves a lot to be desired. I was one of the users that did a complete reinstall of windows partly due to some updating issues I was getting with orbx direct. A lot of us pay a lot of money for your software. Please treat us with some respect.

Edited by Renidroc
Didn't originally post
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No problems at all with downloading only 1 Orbx product per day. Not sure if I like the 30 $ idea though.

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47 minutes ago, John Venema said:

You may call it a PR disaster - it's not

You may call it disrespecting the customer - it's not

You may claim the customer is always right - they are not

You may claim a loss of trust in Orbx - that's your prerogative

And this exactly is, what I call a PR disaster, Mr. Venema. I have been in this business for over 35 years and trust me, I have seen many companies falter because of precisely this attitude.

 

Just in case you want to know, where I come from: I am 65 years old and I was for most of my life working for a company called BASF. It happens to be one of the biggest companies in the world and I was in charge of all of Asia for their pharmaceutical business. People management and customer care was one of my major focusses 

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Seems a very inefficient design, from the onset, to require a redownload of all of the data to have a backup file. 

 

Why not have FTXCentral itself generate the backup file from the installed data right on the user's PC?  FTXC3 installs add-on by downloading content from servers, then zips/stores a backup sourced from the installed data, which FTXC can use to re-install later.  Content only gets downloaded once.  Any subsequent reinstalls occur with FTX Central using the local backup as the source instead of the server.  And include an option to generate a backup from an installed scenery on-demand so sceneries can be re-archived after an update is applied as well as allowing users of FSS-sourced installations to save an FTX Central v3-compatible backup of each scenery.

 

Regards

 

Bob Scott

Edited by w6kd

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I think people panic because they may be uncertain about what you guys are doing.
Why suddenly apply total change for total control, and retrospectively too, destroying a system,

which served you perfectly for a long time, and the new system is not even fully functional.

 

With due respect, I am also a bit apprehensive about the sentiment of your statement, as it may

suggest that your products, instead of becoming more affordable, because you no longer have to

provide for commission to Adrian, may in fact become more expensive.
I have been your customer from day one, yet FTX stuff, no matter how good and beautiful it may be,

has never been a necessary part of any flight simulator that I use. I do like it and enjoy it, but now

I am retired, and I can afford it less and less. There is always that straw that breaks the camel's back, is it not?

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