Interview with Jorg Neumann (Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator) on future updates and plans, AI, the airport gateway, the Xbox version, the Garmin, and a lot more

As he said, if you’ve been following FS from the early versions till now, A LOT has changed, mostly for the wayyyy better. Other things haven’t. Like the response of the plane to the rudder. Yeah, that needs work. Cross wind landings are wayyyy off now, and, of course all the windsocks that are pointing the wrong way aren’t helping, I just can’t get that out of my head as I’m landing. I guess it’s just ingrained in me to trust the windsock. And I can’t here. Even when I know it’s backwards, I have a hard time switching up, haha “dam mit, I need to lean the other way”… or “why’s my plane getting blown into the wind direction???” even when I was crabbed the right way to begin with at the start. I haven’t figure out what that’s about, haha. Although, sometimes I could swear the wind reverses just as I get to ground level. I dunno, the wind stuff at the airport is totally wrong.

Perhaps they’ve turned stuff off at ground level, it should not be so easy to taxi in a stiff wind. And the fact that they seem to set the wind to the gust level of the METAR as well, everything there is wrong. Hopefully it gets fixed.

The other thing that doesn’t add up, and never will, at least not without far superior controller technology, is the response of the planes to controllers. And Jorg has discussed this previously in quite a bit of detail. As I’m sure you know, there are no forces, no feedback. You can pull on that stick or yoke like there’s no tomorrow, unlike in a real plane. And when you do, response is instantaneous, and typically the throw of controllers at full range is much less than the real article. Recreating the real thing in the sim as a consequence is extremely hard. So anyone expecting recreation of the real thing is in for a big disappointment.

With that said, the systems can be matched, and in general, flight simulation can be accomplished. I practice flying in the sim all the time, and it has really helped me to get back to flying again after 20 years. You know, staying ahead of the airplane, managing the tasks, flight planning. Personally I love it. My expectations are what it is, and I fly for real, and as far as I’m concerned I get everything out of the sim I’m looking for.

I am not looking for aerobatics, that ain’t happening.

It would probably be nice if you described what’s not adding up for you.

I am not even talking ATC, or force feedback etc. Those all come second to me, airplanes and the way they fly need to be better, WAY better.

Ground handling of the aircraft in their default state is atrocious. It gets worse for the bigger aircraft.

The speeds, the performance and engine metrics are way off.

You mentioned about staying ahead of the aircraft which in its simplest form is what airline flying is all about. Near impossible to do with the current FMS/Autopilot implementation on any of the airliners.

Try changing a SID, STAR or way point and watch it all fall apart. This is especially frustrating for those that shelled for the premium deluxe or whatever it was called, since the 787 was included in that.

Them breaking the flaps etc. while concerning isn’t even an issue for me. Stuff happens and they should do better, but, stuff happens, and they are putting out a hot fix which is excellent.

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Every computer flight simulator is a game. Some deny it because they’re ashamed about spending so much time and money on gaming, but that fact doesn’t change. If you’re not paid to sim, you’re playing a game.

I’ll leave the “muh experience!” speech be, because it’s honestly funny and it has nothing at all to do with the topic at hand. I don’t need to spam around my resume like some seem so eager to do to support arguments that don’t support themselves.

“something doesn’t add up!” has nothing to do with the fact that this simulator brought a ton of innovation to the scene, and that’s much beyond visuals. Something doesn’t add up in every simulator, even more so before they several years of development after their release.

Yet, this sim has the technology and groundwork to simulate forces that other sims don’t even consider and that are fundamental for simulation. The rest is just a matter of “adding up” the numbers and parameters, and that comes with time and refining.

That being said, it’s funny that some still haven’t understood that spamming this thread with generic complaints about the sim that have been regurgitated over and over in every thread that’s even remotely positive and have nothing at all to do with the interview, is off topic.

P3D runs all of those fps / VAS heavy hitters at a decent playable performance in VR?
I avoided most of those because of the additional tax on VR along with other scenery essentials like REX and ORBX products.
Luckily QW made a patch for my BAE 146 which was eating a ton of VAS, now it plays along nicely with the visual mods.

It sounds like you haven’t tried any of the mods?

It also sounds like you are dealing mostly with the airliners, which I don’t have any experience with flying in real life. I’m only just now getting into using GPS, which wasn’t available back when I last owned an airplane… which, I’m pretty strictly a GA flyer.

Yep, ground handling is atrocious for all planes, as I noted. Hopefully they fix that.

There are lots of mods out there that, disregarding the Turboprop behavior, which has never been correct (and there’s nothing a mod can do in the sim to correct that), and they haven’t changed at all (Sim Update 4 fixes that supposedly, hopefully, I’d love to learn more about flying turboprops), get the flight characteristics really close to the real planes, rudder not withstanding. I don’t know what’s up with that, why it’s basically on/off and that’s it. Kind of ridiculous. Good thing is, the planes I fly, precise rudder behavior isn’t all that important in the flight regimes I mostly fly, cross-wind landings notwithstanding, as that’s broken across the board.

But, as far as I can tell, they are aware of the issues. I fear they are stuck between a rock and a hard place, and, too often seem to choose dumbing down for the newbies rather than letting them learn to swim. How many posts are we going to see asking why their plane is at an angle to the direction they are flying? :roll_eyes: And why haven’t they made documentation a priority; why didn’t they update the Rod Machado tutorials for MSFS for these folk??.

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This one is puzzling me: I’ve read another discussion here lately with someone mentioning it. I thus launched the sim, set myself on the ground at LFPB for testing on RWY 21 with a nice view with the windsock to the right, I then opened the Weather popup and manually set the surface wind. The winsock was rotating according to the direction of the arrow in the Weather popup panel as expected.

I then decided to review what animates the Windsock and this one is easy to find. Look for the ANIM_CODE entry in the ASOBO_WindDirection_Template template in this file:

OneStore\fs-base-aircraft-common\ModelBehaviorDefs\Asobo\Misc\SimObjects.xml

You can rotate every windsocks by 180 deg in changing the code like to this:

<ANIM_CODE>(A:AMBIENT WIND DIRECTION,degrees) dnor</ANIM_CODE>

However they will now point to the tail of the wind arrow in the Weather popup.

NB: AFAIK this template is only used by windsocks and shouldn’t affect any other sim object for now.

It is interesting to me you bring this one up because yesterday I decided to try our the 747 which I didn’t flown for a long time. And what strikes me is how “gaming oriented” it is designed in the controller response. Here is:

I have a long time aversion for cockpit animations which most 3rd party developers are coding on a 1sec time span. When I click a switch, I don’t want this switch to animate for a full second from off to on, I expect it to switch position instantly (or nearly instantly for the sake of animation something like 200ms is enough, at 50fps this still gives you 10 frames of animation to see it moving). Most FS2020 aircraft switches and controls animations are coded exactly the same way with unnecessary 1sec long animations.

But the other problem I’ve spotted in the 747 is that the yoke roll angle animates slowly and doesn’t match your hardware control. This is the kind of animation you’d use in older games where joysticks /keyboard only allowed ON/OFF positions and the more you keep the input ON, the more the yoke would roll. However the main problem with the 747 I can see is that it is not just the yoke roll angle changing slowly, but it is also the control surfaces moving slowly as if they were not moving per my hardware controller input, but by the dampened slowly rotating 3D yoke in the cockpit.

The same control input flaws (to me these are flaws) can be seen with steering tiler, and brakes.

This is wrong to me for a flight simulator for simmers, but I believe it is right for piloting the game with an XBox controller where you have limited input range (you can’t compare a controller 1 inch stick to a Honeycomb yoke roll amplitude for example).

These two example are really not supporting the idea of a simulator for simmers in my opinion and they might just be cosmetic, or they might just be the tip of the iceberg indicating a more profound design decision.

[update]
There is another one where you can test side-by-side the controller animation problem I’m describing above. Load the G36 and compare the animation of the mixture and the propeller levers when using a hardware throttle quadrant having both. You’ll see what I mean.

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So, the issue is in the placement of the object. For the behaviour to work properly, the object when placed needs to be oriented at 0 degrees. Many scenery creators now know this and properly place their windsocks. But not all. And I have not done a survey of Asobo created airports, but, my impression so far is that they are inconsistent in their windsock generation. So I can’t say all default airports are wrong. But my experience tells me at least some are backwards. Or perhaps ground level winds are messed up? In any event, leaned toward the windsock, and been blown into it, in the opposite direction of the windsock :roll_eyes: It gets very confusing.

So, given that not ALL windsocks are incorrectly placed, changing the behaviour at the base level of all windsocks is not going to fix the problem. Asobo needs to do a 100% redo of all their airports and make sure all windsocks are placed oriented at 0 degrees, and then they need to change the default placement orientation to 0 degrees, so people don’t accidentally place them in the wrong direction.

I have zero idea why Asobo chose the default orientation of objects to be 0 degrees. Who does that???

Programmers I guess, it does always seem to me their logic is backwards. :wink: :laughing:

I’ve also tried setting the wind to the max and my aircraft was indeed pushed by the wind toward the direction the wind was flowing to, as expected. I didn’t try elsewhere than default LFPB so this might be it, some are ok, some others aren’t. Food for thought. Do you happen to have any mod which could cause the discrepancy between wind reported and wind experienced, like the enhanced weather panel?

See that’s where I was torn between P3D’s improved VAS management over FSX but losing access to certain loved addons as the P3D updates came along and broke compatibility so I stopped at P3D V4. If I could take all of my FSX addon toys over I would grab the latest P3D version in a heartbeat.

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Interestingly, it is actually hard to find very many posts in this thread that have anything to do with the interview.
I would have to say that my greatest takeaway from your chat was that Jorg seemed to want to keep coming back to the relationship with the simming community. It sounded like he felt there was a lot of placating required.

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Most definitely did not get that impression. It sounded like he wanted to give a lot of interesting info on future plans, which he did.

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Not trying to push any buttons here. Was just an observation. I will agree that he did offer some great info and was genuinely excited about the future.

It is also very obvious that the community is forefront in his mind. This is not a criticism. I get the feeling he really cares about meeting the responsibility head on and meeting the expectations as best they can.

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See, I don’t see that as placating. It’s a pretty cool-headed description of the situation that also reiterates concepts that he has been telling for a long time (since before release). Which, mind you, is in direct response to a question I asked.

I’m fairly sure that he wouldn’t have even touched on it if I didn’t directly ask him how he feels about the situation. As a matter of fact, I almost didn’t, because it’s usually a pretty banal question, but since most interviews have been focusing way too much on “oh my God tell me moar about that amaaaaaazing tech of yours that lets me fly over my home!” I decided to start with a general point of the situation about the actual sim instead. :joy:

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Placate - vb - make (someone) less angry or hostile.
Maybe not the perfect word choice. I am not a professional writer so didn’t spend a lot of time grooming the sentence.

I read the above as Jorg recognizing some of the frustration the community was feeling and attempting to let us know that he hears the concerns, he cares about what the community is feeling and that he and the team are working hard to give us the platform we desire.

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What concerned me most was that he said they are not going to dumb things down, that they’ll make it real against making it easy. Which is pretty much what I think the community in general wants across the board (despite all the calls to “reduce sensitivity of the elvators!”. To me, that’s a stupid choice. Make it real and make it work appropriately. Don’t break something to make it seem like it’s working better. There will be a consequence.)

And yet, there are plenty of examples of the opposite of this. They took out turbulence at flight levels in storm clouds. That’s got to break things in other areas, there’s always consequences to any choice.

Clearly, winds on the grounds of airports are broken. Is that because they didn’t want to make taxiing too hard for people?

The rudder response I keep bringing up, I imagine that’s just broken and not a choice, but I’m not sure.

And, as noted above, I believe they did reduce the response of elevators. Now, maybe there is a good technical reason to do this. But, to me, if you’re getting a different force on the elevator than what the actual response should be, then you’re going to get other consequences that break something else, and if it wasn’t working properly to begin with, well, fix that. Don’t break something to fix it.

So I’m not sure why he said in the first place that they are not going to make it not real. Don’t say things you’re not going to follow through with. As long as you’re up front about what you’re doing and the choice makes sense, to me that’s acceptable. For him to say what he said confuses me, since that’s clearly not what a lot of their choices have been.

Yeah. That’s for sure.

Not all choices result in predictable consequences, especially in software as complex as this, with so many moving parts. You’re trying to extrapolate the choice from the visible consequence, and that’s not a very accurate way to see what the choice actually was.

That is EXACTLY my point. As a general rule, the worst thing you can do is break something to “fix” it. That’s just lazy. Figure out what’s really going on and fix that. The whole point is to not have to worry about predicting the consequences of a choice. Nature works just fine. Do what nature has chosen to do.

Yep, it’s going to take longer, to develop, because, yes, it’s very complex. But, people have been working with the equations of fluid flow for a long time now, it’s been 40 years now since the first PC based flight simulators, and nearly 100 since people first started really understanding aerodynamics. Hire the right people and pay them. You’ll get your return on investment.

That’s not lazy. That’s the nature of working with software as complex as this. Without experimentation, we’d still be playing FS2004.

Nature isn’t made just of numbers and formulas that can be directly inputted in a software model and they’ll “just work.” The hardware that can run the kind of simulation that would effectively work that way doesn’t exist because it would approach infinite complexity.

A software simulation designed to work on a home computer requires a level of simplification (mind you, even million dollar simulators you find at Airbus require a level of simplification), and that doesn’t mean dumbing down anything. It means working with the physical silicon constraints that you have. To make it so that said level of simplification is as close as possible to how reality works requires a ton of experimentation, and that involves trial and error, whether we like it or not. The history of flight simulation has been all about trial and error and experimentation. And before AI QA testing progresses a lot further than it has, it will inevitably lead to mistakes. We should already be happy that we live in a time in which said mistakes can be fairly easily fixed with patches, because it has not always been the case.

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I’m going to have to disagree with you here. I don’t believe it was a good choice to cut the force of the elevator in half, which is what I understand was done. I believe there is something else going on that would solve the problem, most likely an issue of CG calculation and airflow movement that they are neglecting. I think their choice will turn out to just be making things worse.

Now, it is entirely possible that the issue with the flaps is related to the actual solution they are working towards, and they just aren’t done yet, and then they can return to equilibrium. that’s cool.

But this is getting off track from my point. It concerns me he said they are not going to remove reality, and they clearly have. I think he should perhaps have couched his statement in the reality of what they are actually going to do. As said in the interview, it was just a marketing statement, by evidence it isn’t the reality of their decision process.

I’m a mechanical engineer with training some training in aerodynamic analysis. I’m extremely familiar with the simplifications you have to make in an analysis, and the consequences of those choices.

What bothers me even more is greatly reducing the forces of winds in “situations”, as they said they did in another interview, because they were afraid people wouldn’t understand why they crashed. That choice is pretty clearly going to have negative consequences someplace else. I can’t predict what, but, yep, it’s gonna happen.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Are you understanding what I’m really getting at? I’m not as concerned about particular choices, I was only bringing up examples. It’s more the discord between what he said and what they are doing. When he said that I got that twisted to the side confused dog look. Sometimes my communication skills could be better.

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What we believe is good or bad isn’t really very relevant to the decision-making process. Our knowledge of the mechanics under the hood of the simulation is superficial at best, so theories are pretty much just theories.

If you think it’s a “Marketing statement” feel free, but the reality of the issue is that this simulator already goes a long way to support the simulation of forces that other sims don’t even come close to touching, and the underlying changes that are obviously being made indicate the geometrical opposite of your belief.

It’d be VERY easy for them to just call it a day on the level of realism that they have, and it’d simplify their life tenfold. Despite what some people completely out of touch with reality and too lost in their small bubble believe, this is an extremely successful product, and not catering to a few hundreds of people screaming in a niche forfum wouldn’t change that one bit.

People that don’t know how development work keep saying that they should “focus on the core simulation” but simply adding content and basically doing nothing else would be much more beneficial in terms of pure product success, and it would require a lot less effort and resources.

The fact that they continue with experimenting shows the opposite of this being just a “marketing statement.”

I am. But that discrepancy you appear to see is something I can only identify as non-existent.

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