So let me ask a question….. about Flight Simulator

So, I was over at the Game Studios very briefly at this years MVP summit.   It is great to see that at least they have retained a good core group of people that can make “something” happen in the future….   what that something is, well…   I don’t know.

But I have a “community question” that I would like as many people to answer here for me.   It may give me at least some weight to take to the new team.

If the former flight simulator team at Microsoft made available, in a rough form, an unsupported set of tools that they may (or may not) have that would improve the current design tools available to FSX right now, would that at least soften the blow of ACES closing as we knew it and would it be helpful in keeping you all developing for the platform ongoing?

Post your thoughts here….

This is a chance to be heard, but ONLY for this specific question.   I won’t publish rants etc!


  124 Replies to “So let me ask a question….. about Flight Simulator”

  1. Bill Leaming
    March 4, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    You’re durn tooting it would! You go for it Nick! 😉

  2. MatthewS
    March 4, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Yes please!

    Now that FSX would seem to be the final version any tools (unsupported or not) would be much appreciated.

  3. HomerSimpson
    March 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    No, not really. If FS is dead as a PC product, at some point it will stop working. It doesn’t run in a vacuum. It depends on the OS, video drivers, compilers and other tools used to create 3rd party content. How much longer will it be compatible? How much longer will ATI and NVIDIA’s drivers work? How long till a Windows 7 update breaks something ? Not only is there no one working on future versions it sounds like there is no one to work on keeping the existing version working with new hw and sw. So at some point something will change and some part or all of FS will no longer work. Having tools to create/modify content won’t fix that.

  4. March 5, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I’m going to say “maybe”.

    The key thing for me is how complicated would the tools be? For the casual developer, there are already good basic tools that we use which are fairly easy to learn. I probably wouldn’t want to learn new software (don’t have time – busy life) unless it offers significant advantages over what already exists.

    But maybe there’s something for the more serious developers? Or maybe there’s tools out there that can be used to expand the usefulness of the software we already use? This is a question for those who publish the 3rd party software design tools (Arno, etc.) that I use.

    – Martin

  5. Francisco Aguiar
    March 5, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Hello Nick,
    I’m not a developer so I can’t speak for them, but from a user point of view, I think the answer is yes, it’d be great. It would be even better if one doesn’t need a degree in computer sciences to use the tools, that would allow for the casual freeware developer to use them.

    Francisco Aguiar

  6. Sean Ruddy
    March 5, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Please yes… hard to comment when I do not know what the tools do but more options would be better!
    Thanks and glad to hear there is still some life in FSX.

  7. March 5, 2009 at 6:38 pm


    Without really knowing much more, I definitely support the release of any development tools, especially ones that the former ACES team believes would improve development for FSX.

    Here’s the way it shakes out for me (keeping in mind that I develop in a very narrow niche). I believe that FSX will be, going forward, an important flight simulation platform for many, many years … even after whatever comes next is released, and even without Microsoft’s support.

    FSX just has that much forward potential, has that many developers already working to improve it, and a fan-base that is not fleeting or anxiously awaiting the next version of Grand Theft.

    It’s also just an excellent piece of software. Is it perfect? Of course not … but I for one believe that it will be around and being used by many thousands of avid simmers for a long, long time.

    And so any tools that were in the pipeline that could be released that might improve on what’s out there would be a welcome addition to my toolset.


  8. Putt4eagle
    March 5, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Yes and no. It would be better to have a some additional tools but I would fear that that would be a sign of the end of the franchise. Sorta saying, ‘here, do what you can with this version. We are done with it.’

  9. March 5, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Very much so! I’d be a very happy taker of unsupported tools. That would be one of the best thing happening to the FS developer community!

  10. March 5, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    In a word: absolutely! Anything we can get our hands on that would enable us to streamline development for FSX would be a tremendous help.

  11. March 6, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Hi Nick,

    yes, of course.

  12. NickWhittome
    March 6, 2009 at 5:31 am


    Do you stick by that statement even if there is nothing else? You would really prefer not to have newer tools, if they are there?

  13. NickWhittome
    March 6, 2009 at 5:32 am

    It is not the end of the franchise, but it is the end as you know it….

    Why not then have tools that allow “our kind of people” to better develop it. What harm?

  14. NickWhittome
    March 6, 2009 at 5:34 am

    @Everyone else.

    Keep this feedback coming, it is REALLY important.

  15. Clayton T. Dopke
    March 6, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Yes, additional tools would be nice. From my viewpoint, at my age, I can continue to fly FS9 or FSX till the day they plant me. I doubt that my present system, (QX9650) will be updated any longer unless it is because something dies in the system. For me, FS9 & FSX will probably be the last of FS that I see . . . just my opinion.

  16. Mike F
    March 6, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Absolutely. Despite the comment above about the need for continued support of the OS, video drivers, compilers and other tools, I for one will simply not spend money to upgrade Microsoft if it means losing Flight Sim.

    A very possible “unintended consequence” to MS of abandoning the vibrant FS community may be considerable loss of revenue to other of its products.
    We can only hope so.

  17. Walter Meade
    March 6, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Hi Nick,

    As a long time user/pilot of the MS Flight Simulator series, I would appreciate any tools which would enhance and extend the life of FSX.

  18. March 6, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Hi Nick, yes I think it would be a great move if the ACES team provide something more for developers that would enhance the experience of FSX for its users.

    Ready and waiting…

  19. Scott Printz
    March 6, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Oh my… please, yes. Release them, unsupported even. That would be great!

  20. Russ Hennessey
    March 6, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I agree any assistance whether it is software mods or tools to support Flight Sim would be appreciated. However if so they should be useable by the not so well informed or those end users without development experience.
    IOW..Those that love to fly but not technically inclined.

    Make it easy..

  21. Ray Proctor
    March 6, 2009 at 9:26 am

    It sure would be GREAT…A BIG YES

  22. unk@home
    March 6, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Might as well, as it seems to be the only all-user friendly flight simulation program in town for the forseeable future.

    Unless X-Plane’s Austin decides to sit down and take up the challenge to program X-Plane to bring it to the level of FSX in terms of diversity, detail, and user friendliness.

    With that possibility being extremely remote, we have to keep things rolling with FSX.

  23. J. Malloy
    March 6, 2009 at 9:36 am

    The availability of tools would most certainly be
    a good thing. I would suggest that FSX was on the threshold of development for programs for a new
    Traisim with existing rail road location data and
    associated boat and ship simulations. I hope the that
    body of knowledge is not thrown away.

  24. Robin Gregg
    March 6, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Certainly! Any additional tools would be welcomed by the community. Existing developers may or may not choose to use them, at their discretion. And if there are no further Microsoft updates, those of us dedicated and long time Flight Sim users may be encouraged to get involved in creating our own homegrown updates and bug fixes, as we see the need from our individual perspectives.

  25. Sinned
    March 6, 2009 at 9:45 am

    No. I think FSX is dead and it’s time to move on. Either X-Plane or some new simulator should advance our flying experience. Microsoft is becoming more and more a shadow of itself and until Balmer leaves the trend will be downward.

  26. FPEMiller
    March 6, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Any info, development tools, and if I dare to even go further and suggest, the base code. Not knowing MS’s stance on the future of FS and what they want to do with it, I truly believe the FS community has the experience and capabilities to pick up the ball and run it. There is a lot of good talent out there in the FS community, and it’s evident in the shear volume and quality of the freeware and payware addons already available. This situation might be the right time for the FS community to really step up to the plate and take over. We have the capabilities in the global FS community to take over an excellent product and improve and maintain it (to even include bug fixes and conflicts with future OS’s) if we were provided with sufficient tools/code to work with.


  27. Ken
    March 6, 2009 at 9:58 am

    I would definitely say yes! Way back the ability to customize FS4 is what set MSFS apart from other sims and made it the standard for decades to come. I’m sure the community could rise to the challenge again and take the sim to a level beyond anyone’s expectations.

    The talent and the motivation is out there. If this isn’t done I suspect in time these people will start focusing more on open source projects already out there, eventually overtaking MSFS at which point it really would be the end of the line.

    One request: could any utilities that exist for FS2004 also be released? The FS2004 community is still a very large one. If developers could release their creations for both sims this would widen the appeal considerably.

  28. Ed Wilson
    March 6, 2009 at 10:05 am

    That’s a totally silly question.

    Anything that can improve our ability to develop is a good thing! So, of course it’s a YES.

  29. arno
    March 6, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Hi Nick,

    Any tools that you can get are welcome I guess, although I doubt ACES has many hidden tools that can help us further. A lot of the problems we have with making the addons we want for FSX is that the engine itself is restricted in some way. Some additional tools will not solve that.

    But any extra tool or piece of information that helps us to get the most out of FSX would be more than welcome of course.


  30. xxmikexx = Mike McCarthy
    March 6, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Thank You Department: Yes, tools please, even unsupported tools.

    Give ‘Em An Inch, They’ll Take A Mile Department: Any chance of making the tools source code available?

  31. John DeKruyter
    March 6, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Absolutely, release them! I would love to see a newer version of FS, but if it is up to us (a and we can) to further our beloved flight sim, we will.

    Long Live Flight Simulator!

  32. Doug Dawson
    March 6, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Yes, please. Anything provided can only be helpful.

  33. SR71 Blackbird
    March 6, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Nothing ventured nothing gained,lets hope somebody can make use of them for the benefit of the whole community.

    You can,t keep a good sim down!

  34. March 6, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Any new tool that can speed up or improve developement for FS would be most welcome from my end, that’s for sure. FSX developement will have a life for some years to come so yes, please release it.

  35. Snafusam
    March 6, 2009 at 11:29 am


    I think any tools that can extend the life of FSX should and must be released to the public.

    It’s such a shame that MS decided to pull the plug on FS and abandon such a loyal international community of consumers… I’m very disappointed.

  36. Joseph Redding
    March 6, 2009 at 11:40 am

    My vote is a strong yes… I am 63 and started with FS4. I have always been a generation behind after the price came down. I have not yet bought FSX but will probably get that and would like to have even unsupported tools for 2004 too if there is anything. My hesitation to buy the new has always been that my computer could not handle the new product well.

  37. Simon Westmancoat
    March 6, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Unreservedly, yes!

  38. Robert Kerr (aka N2056)
    March 6, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I would greatly appreciate anything I could get my hands on regardless of how complex it may be. In time the developer community will do what it has always done and figure out how to use them. You can never have too many tools!

  39. March 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm


    Absolutely! Bring ’em on!


  40. March 6, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    A HUGE ‘YES’ vote on this one Nick …

    I think it is imperative that we have anything we can get our hands on to keep FSX alive …

    I am sure I speak for all of the third party developers out there ..

    This really is important to each and everyone of us that has an interest in Flight Simulation !!

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention

  41. March 6, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Yes. and Yes.

    I agree with the statement that FS-X is still a viable product, and having more tools will enhance the developers’ abilities to put out more attractive content.

    Whether they are useful to the hobbyist developer (not all of us can afford 3DS max) is another thing, but having the tool out there (where presumably it can be studied and retuned) can also spur development of similar tools for the hobbyist’s use.

  42. Steff Grunwald
    March 6, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    as this may be the last of MSFS, it would be great to have the tools to develop this and use it to it`s fullest.
    cheers to all…

  43. Karl Kleiber
    March 6, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    As a user of Flightsim for many years and more to come, I believe any help we can get to keep this going forward would be much appreciated. Our community will not die easily, so bring on the tools.

  44. Andrew
    March 6, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Since it could be a long time before we see another sim, then anything that give this one a longer shelf life would be great!

  45. James A Williams
    March 6, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Is it possible that jane’s flightsimulator,will take over the development of microsoft flightsim.

  46. NickWhittome
    March 6, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    @James A Williams

    No. I am certain the Intellectual Property will not be sold by Microsoft….

  47. March 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm


    Yes, the community needs tools. Even unsupported, we can carry the torch and make sure we alert to proper usage and necessary documentation that might be lacking at the moment…

    I am sure I speak on behalf of the other FS MVPs – we’ll be there to help, still!

  48. Stef
    March 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Hello Nick,

    Not a developer myself, just an avid user of whatever those magicians (well, perhaps not all of them, but most of them at least in my eyes) come up with.

    Give them whatever they need to have those people continue and improve on their wizardry! The more tools that are available for their disposal, the better!


  49. Mathias
    March 6, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Yes! Particularly tools that help in creating and fine-tuning the air file would be greatly appreciated, as this always was, and remains to this day, the most obscure and best guarded secret within the FS series.
    Any tools that could help in improving the efficiency of FSX would also be highly welcome.
    And like many others have expressed here and elsewere, I am also quite shocked by this very radical step taken by MS in closing down and getting rid of the majority of the FS development team, negatively affecting hundreds-of-thousands of flight simulation enthusiasts around the globe and simultaneously damaging the image of MS. That cannot be in the business interests of MS…

  50. Sidekick
    March 6, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    if these tools would help get a 4.2 ghz PC to display non-blurry textures…SURE!

  51. Michael Gabriel--Gabriel Studio
    March 6, 2009 at 3:26 pm


    YES! Please, give us the tools! But, meanwhile, what is to happen with all the time spent, and code written, for Train Simulator 2? I saw an incredible future crystallizing, given the co-existent (online) potential of FSX, MSTS2, Microsoft Virtual Earth, and the emergence of Cloud Computing (let supercomputers do the dirty work!) and ever-faster web connectivity. I was even expecting Space Simulator (anybody remember that one?) to re-emerge in a new photo-realistic version. I believe the many development prodigies of the planet should be allowed to evolve this future. Please give us the tools!

  52. NickWhittome
    March 6, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    No, they won’t…. of course.

    @Michael Gabriel
    All that code / design would sit and wait to be used by whatever the team choose to do ongoing. I, for one, am excited about the concepts they have within the team. There are still some very very very clever people still there.

    Thanks to the *community*, there are more people there than expected (IMHO).


  53. Paul Laube
    March 6, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    ANY tools would be appreciated !

  54. cso
    March 6, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Definitely acquire the tools. FSX has a long way to go before its washed up. In fact I still like FS9. I’ll probably keep that going for quite some time.

  55. Romes
    March 6, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I’d say a definite yes to any sort of tools to keep it up ‘n’ running. Now, as some of you are being a tad “doom and gloom” regarding the longevity of FS in the future, well, take a look at Falcon 4 (the original release, not the Allied Assault version) which was released back in 1996 or there about….it’s still going strong with patched content and the like….and a large client base too! So, if that sim can hack it through player support I’m damn sure FS can do the same !

    just my 2c worth!

  56. March 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Nick, yes I believe they would be of great help to the many diehards who would commit to using them. But because of the rate technology progresses, and compatibility constantly changing, they need to be available yesterday. Especially considering the recent, now bleeding, laceration the franchise has received and how long before it bleeds out.

  57. March 6, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    How can one turn down such an offer? I’ll take anything they want to throw at us but please have some form of documentation to go with it.

  58. Frank
    March 6, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    It would be worth it if it made it a little more reliable platform like Fs2004 is.

  59. March 6, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Yes, Tools are good. More SDKs too!

  60. Steve Hall
    March 6, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Nick I think access to the tools would be great.
    The days of this franchise continuing to run on a PC are numbered with an inevitable shift to a console based one. FSX has shown us just how difficult it is to produce a product that can deliver what it promises on such a huge array of different spec’d computers.
    Bring on the tools!

  61. Rick
    March 6, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    My initial reply would be “Yes”, release any available tools. As you said aboutthe “team”, there are many very, very clever people out there, and that applies to the community as well. Any tools made available would almost certainly aid in keeping FSX “alive”. And I think this is an important concept…whether FSX is actually “dead” or not now. I don’t believe it is.

    There is a *somewhat* striking anology to the current FSX “alive” vs “dead” debate. I am an avid Racing simulator enthusiest also, and the situation involving the “old” Nascar Racing 2003 Season (N2K3)racing simulation, Sierra, and Papyrus comes to mind. N2K3’s last official release occured almost 6 years ago. But there is still a very, very strong community using it, thanks to freeware developers who continue to provide “updates” for it. This is despite the release of many “newer” versions of racing simulators like rFactor, etc (which I also use). Despite the original N2K3 code never being updated, there are numerous enhancements that continue to be released through the community that keep it a very viable racing simulation. This no doubt is partly due to the release of the N2K3 core code (which in the manner it was done is a completely different topic, and one I don’t wish to start any arguements about here). The viability of any additional FSX “tools” to keep FSX “alive” in the future may be impacted by the amount of things that may be able to be accomplished using those tools, less access to the original FSX code, but anything is better than nothing. I don’t foresee Microsoft releasing the original FSX code to the community in the same way N2K3’s code was, so there would no doubt be limitations as to the usefullness of the “tools”. But what the heck….any tools are better than no tools.


  62. Gizmo
    March 6, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Id love to see any tools that allow the expansion and streamlineing of FSX if any of those tools allowed tweaking of the autogen batching or a chance to move it to GPU instancing or the abillity to add/tweak the shader code that would be super,its amazing to see how far FSX has come since release & with even more dev tools it can only get better

    Thnks for the headsup i hope to read me positive news soon 🙂


  63. Paul Johnson
    March 6, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Absolutely Nick! This sim has got at least another 4 – 5 years before FS_totally_redesigned begins to replace it. It will certainly help our developers, and will garner an even greater amount of experimentation from the plain old user group like me. Mant thanks, we appreciate your efforts.


  64. Robert
    March 6, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    I don’t know how anybody could say no to this.

    Anything that can help is welcomed. I don’t care if they are unsupported and only 10 people on the planet can figure out how to use them, if those 10 people can make our experience better let them do it.

  65. March 6, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    You bet I would be too! I just started getting into developing for FSX and anything that you folks from ACES could make available to us, would be great fully appreciated by this long time user just turned developer…..:).

  66. March 6, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Heck yes! ESPECIALLY how to code for the Autogen (AGN) format!!!

    I would pay money for that knowledge and ability to generate an automated autogen design tool!!!

    Who would I beg plead, bribe to get data on how to build the AGN files outside of the annotator tool????

  67. March 6, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Heck yes! ESPECIALLY how to code for the Autogen (AGN) format!!!

    I would pay money for that knowledge and ability to generate an automated autogen design tool!!!

    Who would I beg plead, bribe to get data on how to build the AGN files outside of the annotator tool????

    Nick, I desperately need access to being able to code AGN files. I’ve got technology that would make the autogen system for photoscenery as accurate as planting each tree exactly where it is in real life with the canopy height and everything. The only thing I need is the info on how to code for it…

  68. meshman
    March 6, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Please Microsoft, there’s still life left in FSX and any opportunity to enhance it would be greatly welcomed by me and many more. Unless it’s something like the VisualFX tool, then I’d probably pass…

    But you have our attention, won’t you let Nick throw us a small bone to chew on?

  69. Ludowise
    March 6, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Any tools would most certainly help further development, both commercially and for the freeware developers.

    FSX will remain a viable platform for quite some time… I would think through 2015 which would be about the end of Windows7 lifespan. CFS2 is still running on Vista, and may actually be working on betas of Windows7.


  70. Michael "Lotus" Johnson
    March 6, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Yes, I would surely welcome having access to some of the in-house tools, the more the merrier. Whether for aircraft design (current work) or scenery (definitely interested for the future) anything that would help 3rd party devs keep FSX fresh in the coming uncertain years would be very welcome.

    Thanks Nick!

  71. Trainman
    March 6, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Yes I think tools to help FSX would be very helpful. I started simming last year so FSX is my First Sim. I have found that there is not a lot out there for FSX not like fs9 anyway. so i would be very Interested in any tools that could help me improve my FSX Sim Experience. As a member of a multi-player sim I find that the users have fs9 have better experience playing than the FSX users. so please help us FSXplayers out I for one would be very grateful.

  72. Raúl Alejandro Molina Rosetti
    March 7, 2009 at 2:57 am

    Well, i thing that it would improve a lot, because even in its current state, FSX has a lot more to offer, could be developed even more and still needs a few fixes, plus, that again will make us feel that not everithing is lost after all…
    Just my thoughts.

  73. Conao
    March 7, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for asking, but my answer is no. I think it’s a bit late for that question. I work for a worldwide swedish company and I wonder what our customer would say/do if we make them that question after suddenly stop developing/supplying the systems they have bought from us. Their previous investments would be condemned because WE decided they needed something different, without ever asked their opinion about it!

    I don’t see the point of investing time and money to further develop something that is already sentenced to death (at least in the way we know it, as you said). No matter what the developers say, from a user point of view, would I keep spending hundreds of dollars to buy new add-ons or thousands of dollars to buy new cockpit hardware if I’m not sure for how long more FSX will be running on my PC? What value for money is in it? I’ll keep flying it for as long as it’s possible, that’s true, but not spending much on add-ons anymore.
    Many seem to disregard the fact that, sooner or later (and maybe much sooner than many want to admit) FSX will stop running on our machines due to incompatibilities with new hardware, drivers, OS, etc.
    Said… but inevitable truth! 🙁

  74. March 7, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Yes, of course!

    I’d love to see asm2air tool…

  75. Paularx
    March 7, 2009 at 5:38 am

    Yes Please – The tools would be very welcome in my workshop – roll them in boys, we’ve got a brilliant sim to build for – Better tools + Excellent developers = better products !

  76. March 7, 2009 at 6:04 am

    Hi Nick, I see you’ve created quite a wind of comments here which is not surprising.
    I know I commented previously near the beginning of your post but I thought I’d comment again after having a “catchup”.

    I think there’s two users of FS that people must understand. There’s the PC users and then there’s the real world pilots. For the real world pilots, there’s not much other choice out there for simulators and I think the PC users must remember this. For this reason alone there will always be popular users of FS until they deam it’s passed its time when another flight sim launches and takes FSX’s position.

    The PC gamer/simmer will be the most likely group to pack their bags and rather spend their dollars on something that has more life to it which is expected as highlighted a few comments above.

    I believe FSX has many years ahead of it still before hardware from all its users can fully enjoy it (just look at FS2004 for example). So for developers, I see it as still viable and those whose target markets are real world pilots and the add-ons will do well till another sim appears more worthy of investment.

    The next sim though will have a high bar to pass as the ACES team has built up strong “capital” behind itself for FS2004/FSX products and pilots trust it with its accuracy.

    X-Plane could step in but has some way to go and the brand capital is still there for FS9/FSX. There’s still plenty of get up and go in it.

    Kind regards

  77. badderjet
    March 7, 2009 at 7:24 am

    No question – definate YES. Any additional tool could be helpful in some way. After all, if we don’t know them we can’t judge, so of course, any tool, supported or not, would be greatly appreciated.

  78. Martin driehuizen
    March 7, 2009 at 7:59 am

    For me it is time to explore X-plane and out phase FSX.
    Sooner or later I have to go to an other simulator, so I better start now.
    FSX will be history after some time.


  79. Albert Mc
    March 7, 2009 at 8:41 am

    I would love the tools. As to people worrying about FS finally breaking, or no longer supported by a newer OS, etc, I have the solution. The computer I use for FS is just that, an FS Only computer. I built it to run FS9 and FSX only (no other programs or processes to slow it down). As long as that computer runs, I will not have to worry about my FS passing away.

    So yes, tools to better tweak and develop the existing program would be greatly appreciated, as there are a LOT of us using dedicated systems for FS!

  80. Michael Flahault
    March 7, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I would certainly welcome any new tools that were to come out. FSX has a great deal of life left in it: why not try to exploit and enjoy it to its fullest? It may not just help current developers continue to develop the simulator, but could encourage new people to learn new skills. And if FSX were to achieve a certain level of precision, who knows if it wouldn’t attract other interests?

  81. Steve Parker
    March 7, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Hi Nick,

    FSX still has a lot of potential and any tools that the community can get its hands on could be very useful towards keeping FSX alive and well for many years to come.

  82. Ronald
    March 7, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Yes, throw my name in wih the yea crowd. My biggest questions would be, are the tools new, or are the packages that utilize the SDK tools we already have available.

  83. FsMillKa
    March 7, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Absolutely YES !

  84. John Dutton aka warmingham
    March 7, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    If someone is going to make available tools then it has to be a big YES. We owe it to them to try what they have. Or ask your self another question, would ACES or someone have made them available if they didn’t close down. We take what they have and say Thanks, we’ll always be grateful!

  85. Ross
    March 7, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    definately a yes… more is better!

  86. March 7, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I think that would be great. As a freeware FS tools developer, I know the FS community is extremely grateful for any help they get, and they are very forgiving of bugs and wrinkles in the tools they use. I think releasing more tools would be a great help to all until the FS team is back on their feet. Besides, it would keep alive the desire for the product, which would help the director of the FS group make a case for future releases.

  87. Airtrooper
    March 7, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Without a doubt, YES!!!

  88. Mike Eppright
    March 7, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Regardless of the technical level of released info, it would progress the hobby. If too technical, it may provide opportunity for the more gifted to create utilities for the less gifted of us. Still opportunity would be moving forward on different levels. I see many years ahead of FSX development.

  89. rhagen
    March 7, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Yes !!! Please help me! I’ve just started developing when FSX was released. If the tools made it easier / faster I would probably consider continuing to develope for FSX even after I finish my first project.

  90. Joop
    March 8, 2009 at 4:32 am

    Allthough I think , that the next Microsoft OS , may heave some negative influence on he performance of FS9 and FSX ( it is not sure, but a maybe) I think,
    that all posibilities to keep FS running in the future , must be tried.
    There are to much FS users in the community , to let it go.

  91. NickWhittome
    March 8, 2009 at 7:09 am

    I can tell you for a fact that Windows 7 will be faster than Vista.

  92. Jose Valdez
    March 8, 2009 at 10:24 am

    YES please, do! I believe a lot of simmers are past the “computer-not-good-enough-to-run-fsx” syndrome but still are using FS9, If a new set of developing tools (…or developing aid tools) would come up, we’d get all those FS9ers into FSX, we need them to keep FS alive! After all, I truly believe that FSX is just awakening. Also, if FSX would happen to start selling again because of this, that would make some noise at MS…

  93. Joel
    March 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Yes. While im not a developer myself, I do use bits and bobs that others make and while the future of flight simulator may be unclear, at least this would allow the public to keep going with it.

  94. EagleEye
    March 8, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Definitely! Any and all tools that will help developers develop better products on the FSX platform would certainly be a bonus. Since it looks like FSX will be the standard for quite some time, it only makes sense.

  95. Alex
    March 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Go get them tools Nick! No doubt the community will make well use of them.

  96. Rob
    March 8, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Absolutely yes…even as an an amateur dev, it would be useful to release additional tools. Anything can open that one door that will lead to the next leap in capability/reality/authenticity.

    I am sticking with FSX for the foreseeable future, and I know there’s still much more to come from the current engine!

  97. Dai Griffiths - Dragonflight Design
    March 8, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I’d be a bit more than *just* interested. Bill Leaming wouldn’t even have to twist my arm (much) for me to think seriously about writing some words on how to use anything that’s gauge/panel related.


  98. March 8, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Most definitely “Yes”. Whatever they have that would help fix the various outstanding bugs in FSX, plus anything else to help with mission building, scenery design etc ec.
    I have used a number of tools already (FSDS, Mission Editor, etc), and would like to take things as far as I can to add to my FSX experience, plus improve what I have already done for my VA.

    FSX will last a long time yet !

  99. aj
    March 8, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    You have only to glance at flightsim or avsim or one of the other sites that make available enormous amounts of freeware addons and advertise payware addons to get an idea of the expertise that there already is outside of MS and ACES. Making more tools available is bound to further expand what could be offered in these areas.
    I suppose that MS selling Flight Simulator to an outside developer is out of the question on the grounds of price, if nothing else.

  100. Terry Gaff
    March 8, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Hey Nick, you can stick my name on that list, do like the Ireland rugby team and give it your all.

  101. March 8, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    The question isn’t ‘is Flight Simulator Dead?’ but rather ‘How do we extend the use of Flight Simulator ever further?’ Don’t get Microsoft indigestion as there are other shops on this side of the moon.
    I don’t have time to sweat M.S. Can anyone recommend a ‘build it yourself’ type of flying model thingie? Can I use the Flight Simulator as a skelton to create new flying ‘things’ around my F.S. neighbourhood? Hope to hear from you soon. Great to see you FSmers. I’m a 63 year old new kid on the block.

  102. Wayne Rudd
    March 8, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    absolutely! FSX will have a long and healthy life with the right tools to help. A long life for FSX must be a +ve for the ex-ACES team…

  103. March 8, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Hello Nick!
    Thank You for thinking about us! My answer is YES!

    I think there are many people that do not understand your point. I believe there tools are to enhance current tools. Not replace them nor make them worst, but to enhance. So I guess developing could become easier or more robust.

    The Flight Simulator community is one of the strongest application communities out there, probably even pioneers, since it dates as back (as I remember) as the FS 5 – Flight Shop days. It is still going strong. So it’s not that we “need” new products to enjoy flying. There are people still developing for FS98, a 10 year old game. And it still works! Even on Windows 7. So the point that FSX is dead, etc, it’s invalid. We love our hobby and we stick to it as long as we can. If the community were so quick and in need of adapting new technology, then we would be all running FSX; we all know that is not the case.

    Now, the unsupported part: Taking from the previous paragraph, the strong Flight Sim Community has always figured out how things work, and had taken over the support of very well known tools not released by MS i.e.: FSUIPC, AFCAD, Airport, etc. It’s true that the developers have continuously been involved with these tools, but the FlightSim, Avsim; etc forums do a great job in helping us understand these tools. So, we would only request some kind of guidelines and clues, and we’ll figure out the rest (well, do document as much as possible, please).

    So, to finish this ultra long post… I understand that MS is going through hard times, just like myself and probably most of us here, but it’s a big disrespect from them to just kill FS out of the blue. It’s been 30~ years and we have never backed away from FS. We’ve built a rock strong community and just because MS did not appreciate that, it don’t mean the community will go away in a flash.

    Thanks again and… BRING IN THE TOOLS… and then some 😛

  104. March 9, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Hi Nick,

    i m a developer and i say YES…. I hope that Microsoft continue to support small developer .. There will be a microsoft store in future for flight sim related product ?


    Fabio Merlo

  105. MickBz
    March 9, 2009 at 7:54 am


    I think fs needs a new “leader” – what would be better
    is to port over whats good in FS9/FSX to somethimg
    like X-Plane or even Flightgear.

    Both of which are run by a small team of dedicated enthuiasts – with no reason to abandon its users for
    the sake of profit.


  106. Jim Goldman
    March 9, 2009 at 8:02 am


    Yes please we need more SDK to enhance our understanding of FSX.

    Thank you


  107. Tuente
    March 9, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I’ve been a user of FS ever since FS2 came out for my old C64. Over the years, I have bought new hardware, changed OS, done EVERYTHING, just to be able to fly the latest versions. Now, MS has scrapped the team and I have to fear that (as mentioned earlier) FS9/FSX will at some point not be supporting the latest OS/HW or vice versa. Additional functionality for the add-on development community will not prolong the lifecycle enough I’m afraid.

    I am left with only one option: change to X-plane or something. And while I’m at it, also change to non-MS OS, non-MS office software, etc. I would encourage the entire FS team to find a way to continue converting their knowledge an talents into new FS products that we all love so much. It doesn’t have to be under the M$ label…

  108. March 9, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Well, definitely, YES!

    Any tools that may help us improve FSX will make it’s life longer, and make a much more enjoyable simulator, so, yes!



  109. Jim Brown
    March 9, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I’m not a developer, but I am a users of developers products. Anything that would help out those developers is a good thing for us users!

    So, YES!!!


  110. Airtrooper
    March 10, 2009 at 7:20 am

    This isn’t strictly a “developer” tool, but seeing as FSX is maturing and hardware is catching up if would be great to have a tool/patch that allows the Anti Aliasing (AA) to be changed when using DX10 Preview, rather than having it hard-coded.

  111. DTH
    March 10, 2009 at 7:23 am

    Go for it!
    A diversification of the development ressources will keep the competition and increase the quality.
    Turning the FS into an online game would be very bad!

  112. NickWhittome
    March 10, 2009 at 7:45 am


    Nothing has ever been said that it would become an online game.

  113. Geoff_D
    March 10, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Absolutely YES !

    Obviously to help current developement for FSX.

    For those that say FSX is DEAD .. It’s not.
    There is currently nothing to replace it.

    But the more development that is done by FSX developers to add to FSX, produces a Model and fountain of ideas, for anyone developing the next generation Flight Sim.

  114. BTScott
    March 10, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Not a developer—just an avid user still stunned and somewhat numb. But, YES, of course, anything to perpetuate and improve FSX!

    (why, oh why?)

  115. March 10, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Developer here. Any additional tool (particularly an exporter for 3ds Max 2009 (64 bit) would be EXTREMELY useful for me. I’d quite like to uninstall my copy of 3ds Max 8 and never see it again!

  116. Alan Whitlock
    March 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Absolutely yes at least it gives hope of any further enhancement/development if MS really have given up on it, otherwise FSX is certainly a dead end and no one wants that.

  117. Paco Sánchez
    March 13, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Nick, any tools, supported or not, will be most welcome. A big Yes from my side, and a big Thanks in advance (hoping, hoping).

  118. Reginald
    March 15, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    If it works, then I’m all for it. But the question is, will it work?

    I agree with others who say that there will come a time when new hardware (os, etc) will not support the software. Sorry guys, but it may be time to move on.

    Reginald (a sim lover since FS98).

  119. Felix²
    March 21, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Are you kidding? rhetorical question, plethoric answer:

    YES! YES! and… YES!

    New tools would really be an opportunity to add value not only to FSX, but by bringing in new ideas from the talented simbuilders out there, will surely enhance the development of future simulators.

    X-Plane is currently not a valuable replacement for FSX and I will not switch to X-Plane before the absolute death of FSX. The shutdown of ACES is sure an opportunity for the rival(s), but they will have to prove that they don’t want to miss it. Other than that, the end of FSX will just be a big loss for the flight simmers’ community.

    Keep pushing, Mr. Whittome. And thank you.

    Cheers, Felix.

  120. Etienne Martin
    March 23, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    The toolset with SimConnect is a stellar improvement over FS9 that made FSX development its own little microcosm of frenzied activity, and while it has a steep learning curve, as is stated above, the community support is terrific and it’s taking the built-in capabilities to new heights…

    My wish in new tools would be model support for a current version of 3DS, and more exposed feature set via SimConnect, in particular, AI controls, ATC controls, and an interface allowing dynamics access to the mission engine.

    A resounding YES to new tools 🙂



  121. March 24, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Since the blow has already been struck, no it will not soften it.

    What it absolutely will do is keep developers developing and the FS community flying.

    If this were to happen it would likely be well received, even in an “as is” state, and would create a bridge to the next iteration of flight sim software.

    Considering that many people still valiantly support FS9 and FS2004, I believe that FSX has quite a few years left in it. And I have yet to see any 3rd party developers shuttering up as a result of the ACES closing.

    “Goodwill is the one and only asset that competition cannot undersell or destroy.” -Ludwig Borne

  122. Tim
    June 5, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    No and here is why. Without care and feeding, MSFS will die eventually and with ACE’s shuttered and no community of developers (commercial or open source) breathing life into it, that life will be a short one.

    I would suspect that FlightGear is a good position to step in where MSFS has left off and become the next great Flight Sim franchise. The beauty of this would be that the community holds the keys for life.

    I for one am going to start developing for FlightGear.


  123. David W
    June 19, 2009 at 1:26 am

    Release-don’t release-Somthing’s comming bigger and better…


  124. F. Marshall
    July 23, 2009 at 5:23 am

    It would be better if they release the unfinished Train Simulator 2, unless they’re really commited to finishing it in the near future.


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