Community v base platform

It is becoming more and more apparent that the world will be open and collaborative. In the world of flight simulation games, xplane understood it many years ago, and LR so much supported a large community that developed the plethora of add-ons that make xplane what it is. When MSFS came out, there were little practical talks about MS’s support to non commercial developers. They kept saying how community was important for MS but it was very much about marketplace. Sdk took a while to come out too, with the feeling that it was to be reserved to professional developers.

Now we are a month in the life of this title and the add-ons available are growing in numbers and quality. Forums are appearing and provide sceneries, planes and liveries. What may become the new a320 Zibo appeared too.

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With all this great community developing, and with the growing of high quality add-ons, it’s important, in my view, to remember roles and responsibilities in this delicate ecosystem. Xplane is a lovely game but one of the few criticisms I have is that, 5 years after the title was released, it’s very difficult to keep it stable and working because so many core functions of the base platform have been taken over by add-ons (often through flywithlua).

I would love not to see this mistake repeated in MSFS. I understand that general users may want to see eye candy items addressed in the platform but that’s not it’s job. I really think that the platform should focus in making good enough:

  • the aerodynamic, system and flight model and interface (not the quality of individual planes but the ability for developers to dev their mods without having to use other plugins)
  • the interface with multiple screens and VR
  • the graphic effects (ie lights at day and night)
  • the user interface (ie allow for sensitivity calibration and provide an interface for random cockpits)
  • ATC interface (not the ATC itself but the ability to interact natively with plugins for voice recognition, vatsim etc)
  • interface with navigraph
  • reply
  • interface for plugins to record and display flight parameters
  • weather
  • obviously helicopters/damage models etc if they want to expand the scope of the game
  • that’s all!

Many of these points have already been developed to a large extent and they are close to be good enough.

You really want to leave to the community scenery, planes, liveries and all fancy stuff but make sure that the separation between base platform and add-ons is clear. In other words, no more FSE/reshade/xEnviro etc

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