Content, Development, and Direction - Note from Stephen Hood
It feels like a while since I updated you here, and I want to take a moment to apologise for the lack of communication about what we've been working on for Flight Sim World. The response to the rate of progress within our simulator has not escaped the attention of the development team. We'd like to take a moment to address some of the things we've read.
When we first released in Early Access, we had a lot lined up, which contributed to a rapid update schedule. With the feedback you gave us; we outlined a hit list of bugs to squash, elements to adjust and features to plan for.
We also released some major updates, our Cold & Dark implementation emphasised our commitment to welcoming new simmers to the hobby, whilst not comprising the complexity demanded by those with years of experience - something that's consistently been at the heart of our approach to development.
It also saw the implementation of a visual game changer, our Advanced Weather system utilizing trueSKY technology, a technology you cannot experience in any other civilian flight simulator.
Since then, it may feel like things have been quiet on our front. There were PBR improvements and other changes, but we're aware it feels like there hasn't been a meaty update to sink your teeth into for a while.
That's in part, due to the nature of our studio. We're a small but highly specialized team and each member has their part to play. It means things seem mismatched at times, you're asking for one thing and we deliver something completely different. It doesn't mean we're not working on it, but that we don't want to be sitting on content we can share with you in the meantime. We're also none too aware of the need to further improve those new technologies we've brought to flight simulation - rest assured we'll have news on those developments in the very near future.
Our next big update is our SDK, which will open development capabilities to experienced 3rd parties, freeware creators and anyone who wants to try their hand at bringing the experiences they crave to Flight Sim World. It's an exciting prospect and one we couldn't have achieved without the feedback of the 3rd party developers who've brought their content into FSW. Releasing the SDK will be one of the milestones for the continued development of Flight Sim World.
SDK 1.0 will be available before the end of the year, this initial release will provide the tools, documentation and reference material for aircraft, scenery object and mission content creation. In addition, it will provide the libraries required for C++ application/FSW interoperability, through the SimConnect interface.
We view the SDK as an ongoing project, one we will expand over time to encompass the needs for the creation of all FSW content. The 1.0 release will provide all the tools our inaugural 3rd party partners have utilised in their content and have helped shape over the last few months.
Of course, that doesn't mean we're no longer committed to developing the core sim. Far from it. There are no vital pieces of FSW which I foresee only ever being available as a 3rd party addon. That wouldn't be right. Nor does it match our repeated mission to improve the core simulator. Our vision has always been to create a platform for the future of flight simulation and we couldn't do that without your support. You've gone above and beyond to help us, but I recognise that our communication hasn't been as two-way as you (or we) would like.
As Flight Sim World evolves, developing some of our more ambitious ideas take longer than the two-week schedule we previously ran on. That said, we want to keep you more informed in what's going on, with more regular communication from myself and the dev team about what we're working on.
Without further ado, we'll kick things off with a free piece of content that you'll be able to jump into as soon as it has been signed off by quality control, Mission Pack 2.
As the "inspiring" title suggests, this is a mission pack that follows the first week in the life of a pilot for the fictitious Hawaiian passenger and cargo transport company, Kahului Air. You'll be introduced to some of the different tasks expected of you by your new employer. This will be made freely available as soon as it's signed off and named, and will automatically download to your copy of Flight Sim World once released.
We mentioned it previously, but we're developing Flight Sim World with your support and we want YOU to help us name this new content. We have some names lined up, but we're not sure which to opt for:
Name the free Mission Pack!
- Cargo Carrier
- Kahului Air
- Hawaii Hopper
- Pacific Paradise
- Aloha Adventure
Let us know what you think of these suggestions, or if you've got something that is more fitting then post it below and leave your personalised mark on Flight Sim World.
This is just an example of some of the content that our team are bringing to Flight Sim World and we're eager for you to get to know them better. We're planning regular communications from the development team about what we're working on, whether that's a deeper look into the day of one specific developer or broader updates about the progress of the simulator in general. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
Stephen Hood, Executive Producer on Flight Sim World