Monday, September 20, 2010

Feature Requests for X-Plane 10

Yesterday I got a bit cheeky regarding feature requests for X-Plane 10. Here are a few slightly more serious thoughts regarding the feature request process.

The major features that we are putting into X-Plane 10 were decided, for the most part, a long time ago. Those who we met in France two years ago won't be surprised by the major items on the list: weather, ATC, airports, and new scenery, new shaders. For that kind of major feature work, we have to start an initiative very early on. Heck - global sun shadows (which I believe we will ship in v10, God willing) were in the works before version 9.0 shipped - it took that long to get an implementation that was useful! (In fact, the v9.0 version was not released because the quality was bad, which is why I am always nervous about announcing features in advance; it ain't over until it's over.)

So while it's exciting to see so many people discussing X-Plane 10, realistically if a feature is a "big" feature and we haven't started it now, it's not going into 10.0. That train left the station over a year ago.

There have also been two complicating factors that have cropped up during the X-Plane 9 run:
  1. Microsoft closed ACES, which definitely changes what we want our next major release to look like.
  2. The iPhone came along - until the first iPhone release, we had no idea that it would be such a big product.
While we have to plan our big features in advance, the market we are going to ship into changes during development.

So bear with us - a lot of what I see are good ideas that we will get to soon, even if they don't go in the initial roll-out.

7 comments:

andrew said...

"There have also been two complicating factors that have cropped up during the X-Plane 9 run:

1. Microsoft closed ACES, which definitely changes what we want our next major release to look like."

And MS has reopened... ah... -something- like ACES for "Flight". How does their closing of ACES affect what you feel your product should look like?

Chances are that Flight will look really, really, really good, albeit, as I'm anticipating, in more geographically limited environments. Then again, they could be updating everything.

Benjamin Supnik said...

The main factor with ACES is that if we are shipping X-Plane 10 into a market that doens't have a MS sequel coming out immediately, we expect a larger influx of new users to at least check it out, and thus we are going to push for more features now while the field is less cluttered.

andrew said...

Thought so.

I bet we'll start seeing game art from MS shortly. If they feel XP will pull attention away from their new sim (which is should) they'll undoubtedly start ramping up their hype like they did with the Courier.

Sure felt like they did that just to keep mind share from Apple.

Jack Skieczius said...

Everything well said here Ben, watching with attention at the release for X-plane 10. question tho, and i don't care if i get an answer, cause i know how these things work, but are you guys aiming this holiday season for a release?

Darrick said...

Your doing a great job Ben! Thank you for handling the constant deluge of requests and criticism (my own included,) with such poise. Can't wait to see XP-11 go gold, for our sakes, and for yours!

psionmark said...

Any chance of the Android app being released? I know there are issues with the Marketplace, but you could make it available for purchase via other means, such as PayPal etc.

Anonymous said...

Great to see updates on your blog - looking forward to version 10 of the series.