Jayne - Hi, everyone! Hello, hello! Thank you for joining us today. It’s been a while since we’ve done an SDK [software development kit] stream, but here we are, happy to be back. Great to see so many people in chat. We’ll do some quick intros. My name is Jayne. I am the Senior Community Manager for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Today on-screen we have Alyzée, SDK producer, and Eric, lead SDK developer. Hello, you two! Welcome back! How are you both today?
Alyzée - Hello! Thanks! We’re good. We are happy to be back on the Q&A [Eric - We’re happy! ] and ready to go. [Eric - Yeah!]
Jayne - Happy to have you. So, Jorg, you know, has obviously joined in the past for these. He wanted me to tell everyone here in chat, he’s very sorry he couldn’t make it. He just had an eye operation that he put off till after the 40th [Anniversary Edition] was out. And he definitely wants to wish everyone who celebrates it, a happy Thanksgiving, and hopes everyone has a great holiday season with lots of fun playing the sim. Of course, he wishes he could be here and is sad that he couldn’t. So, best wishes to Jorg as he recovers from his eye operation.
Jayne - On that note, though, I see we are very excited to get started. And I just wanted to go over a couple of housekeeping items. First, just a friendly reminder that this Q&A is for SDK topics only. So we ask that you only ask questions related to the SDK, as we won’t really be able to provide answers for anything else outside of that. Secondly, a few months ago, maybe about a month ago, we put out a thread in the forums and we asked for your SDK questions. So Alyzée and Eric have spent a lot of time taking a look at those and picking some out that they could answer. So they’ll share that set of Q&A after a presentation.
Jayne - So that brings us, of course, to Alyzée. I know you have a presentation prepared for us to look at, first, so I’ll go ahead and hand the mic over.
Alyzée - Okay, thank you! Yes, I’d love to start with a PowerPoint, and this one is going to be quite long. But we have so much to share, and so we can get started. [Jayne - Okay. Here we go.]
Alyzée - Okay. So, yes, it’s been a while. We had the last Q&A in February at the beginning of the year. So we thought today was a good opportunity to look back and have some kind of a retrospective on the promises that we made in February and see what we were actually able to do during the year. And then, we wanted to talk about the team, and just to give you an idea of who’s working on the different tools and how many people are actually here working on the SDK and the developer mode. And I think –
Eric - This is actually a question that was asked by the community to bet on [Alyzée - Yeah!]: “Who was working on this?”
Alyzée - Yeah. You wanted to know the team. So you won’t get the names and addresses, but you will have some evidence to show exactly the guys in the team and the girls (because we have girls now) and then we have answers to a selection of your questions. And for the first time in the Q&A, we wanted to have a slide show, as well, for the answers to the questions. Sometimes we can share screenshots and more details. So we will do our best to answer those questions. First of them: When we need more details, or when we suspect that it’s a bug, we will probably do a follow-up on the forum thread or maybe on devsupport because you know, sometimes we need help from you to look for all the issues that you have. So for some questions, there might be a follow-up after the live Q&A.
Alyzée - So what were the promises of 2022? I took this slide as it was in February. (And if we can…yes.) So the promises were:
We wanted to make a tutorial to help you on how to make an aircraft from A to Z, and be able to create the 3D model and then do the flight model, itself ,and sell it on the Marketplace. So that’s the first one. (I’m just going to list [them] and then we’ll go back on each of them.)
And then we told you that we wanted to revamp the aircraft editor because the existing tool was corrupting your .cfg files, and that’s not a good thing to do. So we completely revamped this one.
We talked about the Blender exporter because you’ve been asking a lot for a Blender exporter like the one you had on [Autodesk] 3ds Max. So we’re going to talk about that.
We made some improvements to the interface. [Eric - Which not everybody may be aware of. So you see where it’s useful.] Yeah. Maybe you will discover new features, and I hope they will be useful and you will test them.
And we said that there would be a strong focus on WASM (WebAssembly). And we will be developing new APIs and improving the iteration times during compilation. So we have numbers to share today.
So we can go ahead.
Alyzée - We actually started the “How to Make an Aircraft” tutorial. I have a couple of screenshots behind this. You can find it in docs.flightsimulator.com. It’s available. It’s not complete, at the moment. We still have to add more details on different sections. We have our tech writer who keeps on improving it every day. It’s been a year now. We’ve should be working on that every day since a year or so, and we keep on improving it. If you have feedback to share, if you need more details on specific areas, you can ask on devsupport. And…
Eric - New sections are coming in the next few weeks. [Alyzée - Yes.] Basically, we’re trying to get this part of the documentation out of the usual SDK update cycle. So each time our tech writer has new sections to put live, we do it. Maybe we should also tell you on devsupport that new sections have been published. That’s probably a good idea; I don’t think we do it right now. So we’ll try to keep you informed of what we uploaded.
Alyzée - Yep, we can do that. We didn’t want to wait for the tutorial to be over until publishing online. This is why you have an incomplete version. But like we said, we keep publishing new chapters and we will keep you posted when we have new chapters. [Eric - Exactly.] But we are close to the end, now!
Eric - That’s what you told me last time I took a look! Which was this week.
Alyzée - We are going in the right direction, which is good!
Alyzée - And then we have the aircraft editor revamp. So as I said, the previous aircraft editor used to corrupt your .cfg files and it was not aligned with the actual parameters in the sim. So we completely recreated it. And basically, now it doesn’t mess with your .cfg files anymore, so you can use it and be confident. And also, we improved the UX [user experience] and UI [user interface] just to make it really useful for you in replacement of Notepad because we know that people use Notepad to make aircraft, and we can do better than that.
Alyzée - So for example, here, if you can see the the screenshots, we have the example of the contact points. It used to be just one line with like 20 numbers or lines and separated by commas. And so now, you have an actual list of parameters and with an explanation, a name for each parameter. And it’s a lot easier to set up your contact points. So, it’s just one of the examples of the improvements brought by this new aircraft editor.
Eric - Just to be to be rather clear on it, it also helps us maintain a version of the aircraft editor that is really in line with what we can add to those .cfg files on our site. Basically, this is now what we call a data-driven editor, which means in the past, if we added some kind of parameter in the .cfg, we had to think about adding support for this new parameter in the editor.
Eric - Right now, there’s a huge XML [extensible markup language] file that lists all the parameters that are supported in the .cfg file. And this editor basically reads the XML and knows how to present the new parameters. So, it’s really easier for us not to forget about adding stuff into the editor. You might think, “How can they forget?” Just to make it clear, it’s because we, the SDK team, are working on the editor and lots of other teams on the flight sim development team may be adding .cfg parameters as they need them. And so it’s just by mistake, we forget to talk and one of us doesn’t know, but we don’t know that some parameter has been added. Then, you cannot edit it in the editor, or you couldn’t edit it in the editor before. So right now there’s a real process where, when a parameter is added to the .cfg file, it is also added to this XML file I was mentioning before, and it all keeps in line with the .cfgs. So there was the front end for you, to make it easier, make it so that it doesn’t corrupt your files, and there was a back-end reason for redoing the editor was to avoid forgetting important things such as these.
Alyzée - Yeah. All he said! So yeah, you can use it now. It’s live already. And as usual, you can share your comments or feedback on devsupport if you feel like it could be improved or if you find bugs. We keep on polishing it and we have people internally who use it every day. So we, yeah, we keep on polishing this one, but it’s already available for you.
Alyzée - And then we have the Blender exporter. So for this one, we have a Blender exporter because we didn’t have one last year. It’s already available on Git for anyone to grab and download and maybe help us improve it. We have a new recruit working specifically on that and on the 3ds Max exporter, as well. We have work to do on this one.
Eric - Yeah, exactly. I know there are some contributors who help developing the Blender exporter that’s on GitHub currently. So she [the new recruit] took a few weeks to basically look at what was available and how it had been developed. She has to split her work between what she does on 3ds Max, what she does on Blender, and providing support for our artists who are always producing new stuff. And so it’s been tricky for her to start working on the Blender exporter. I think she started doing this last week. Somehow, she managed to spend two days on it, probably the same thing this week.
Eric - The aim, right now, for her is to spend two days a week on Blender and three days on [3ds] Max and internal support. Of course, sometimes, internal support is urgently required, so it will take priority over the Blender exporter. But yes, she has already looked at what we have now. She has ideas to put it more in-line with what we have in 3d Studio Max. And, so things should be moving again in the next few weeks. I know I’ve been saying that for quite some time. Those contributors basically have proposed new changes to the exporter, but it’s [being] looked after now. And so we just need to get up-to-speed and to find our rhythm of changes and implementation and documentation of the exporter.
Jayne - tonypezz_ wants to know,
Eric - You can submit Blender export issues on devsupport or on GitHub as an issue. (It has a section for this.) Might be better on GitHub because to be honest, if it’s really related to the exporter, the usual suspects like FlyingRacoon and Boris_ and (can’t remember the nickname of the third one on devsupport [Alyzée - Yoanito, I think?]) Yoanito? So they won’t be able to answer on the Blender exporter. So it’s better to put that on GitHub and our new colleague will answer over there. [Alyzée - Yeah.]
Alyzée - Okay, for the interface improvements, I wouldn’t say it’s completely over. We made some progress, and one of them is in the next slide. It’s the Smart Docking System. I don’t know if you are using it, but if you are not, we suggest you try it. It’s basically rendering the game in its own window and you can put it anywhere and put the different windows aside and they won’t overlap on the rendering of the game. So it’s very useful. We use it internally.
Alyzée - There is one more thing we need to do about that: It’s to have default layouts, like for example, if you open the VFX [visual effects] editor for the first time, at the moment, it will only open the different windows above each other. And we would like to have the default organization, the default setup of the windows, so that, if you open it for the first time, you are not completely lost and confused. And that’s it; you can find it in the options, as well. We completely revamped the toolbar so you can say goodbye to some of the menus like “Windows”. (I think we removed this one.) [Eric - You are spoiling!] Yeah, okay. I think we’ll keep it a surprise for the next update! [Eric - It’s for Sim Update 12.] Yeah, it’s coming in the next sim update.
Eric - Just since I see questions about Sim Update 12 and the Blender exporter:
Eric - Well, I hope it will come before, earlier than Sim Update 12, because, you know, it’s the same: We can release updates to the Blender exporter outside of the normal SDK release cycle. So hopefully, we can release. I should talk to the person in charge of that. From what she told me, she’s already seen a few issues, so I hope we can release a new Blender exporter before Sim Update 12. But of course, we’ve seen “serious animation issues with the Blender exporter, which need to get solved” [reading from chat] – yes, I guess there are there are issues with the Blender exporter.
Eric - So yes, [once] all of that is looked at, then we hope to provide you with the fixes rather soon. So, as you know, our main pipeline within the studio is with 3d Studio Max, but we have experienced people who know Blender quite well, so they the kind of model stuff in Blender and try our export tools, and we are trying to put that in place, as well."
Eric - It’s in the Options menu, which would be called, “Smart Docking System”. [Jayne - Gotcha.]
Is vertical docking possible in the docking system? In that [screenshot], the properties “place” is stretched.
Eric - To be honest from where we are, it’s tricky to see.
Alyzée - Yeah, I have to put my glasses on, but you can…
Eric - You get you can dock vertically. [Alyzée - Yeah.] It’s like in – I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this – but in Visual Studio docking, you know, when you move a window over another one, then you can look up, down, left, right. And it’s the same system. So it should be possible. But if not, if you don’t manage to do what you want to do, just drop us a line in devsupport and we’ll have a look. In principle, you should be able to do what you describe.
Alyzée - Okay. And then for the promises we had, we said we would have a strong focus on WASM. So this one is going to be for you.
Eric - Yeah. So as you know, I’ve seen other questions, but let’s go over this slide and then we will get back to the WASM question I’ve seen, or several questions I’ve seen, up above in the chat.
Eric - So, 2022 achievements – actually one of them would be 2023 because as you know, Sim Update 12 will be 2023. So prior to Sim Update 5, the CRJ from Aerosoft took around 5 to 8 minutes to be compiled. There was no “fast mode” at the time. There was only – we can only say – there was only a slow mode. From Sim Update 5, we managed to beat the combined CRJ on your machines, target machines in one minute in fast mode and 10 minutes in slow mode. (Well, you see all the numbers, I’m not going to say that again.) But the important information is that starting with Sim Update 12, we’ve really reduced the combined times.
Eric - And, for instance the PMDG, I think (it’s one of the Boeings), basically, which took 250 seconds in what we call “slow mode” in Sim Update 10, will take 88 seconds in Sim Update 12. What we call “slow mode” really (I don’t quite like this term), it means that it better optimizes the resulting DLL [dynamic link library] and – I’m not sure if the measurements were made on the [PMDG] DC-6 or 737. I need to ask the guy who was in charge. – But basically, “slow mode” means biggest optimization and “fast mode” means the least optimization. So that’s the idea.
Eric - So how did we do that? As you may know, the way wasn’t supported on Flight Sim is that you build your WASM with the Microsoft Flight Simulator platforms in Visual Studio. (I know some people are using Rust, as well. And this WASM is read by them by the sim, which recompiles it on-the-fly to a native DLL. And this is done through an LVM, which is marked in Microsoft Flight Simulator, at least a version of it. And we realized that there were a lot of optimization passes.
Eric - We were running on all your code which was lengthy and use less in the end because there was no result to be had from those optimizations. So we decided to deactivate them, really. So providing you use the platform toolset and you build in release mode using the proper flags for Chrome, which are now set by default in our toolset. You’ll get an optimized WASM, and then we can avoid re-passing optimization passes on your already-optimized WASM code. So that’s why we managed to get such nice compilation time improvements.
Eric - (So if we go back to it. So I’m just going to look at the chat…) So, to get some good information about the actual status of WASM and maybe some info, what’s going on with the submissions for Marketplace. So there are two questions, here:
Eric - Basically, there’s been some misunderstanding around this aircraft. There were performance issues, and initially, some people thought it was related to WASM. Something people don’t know, really, is that when you’re downloading an aircraft that contains a WASM module from the Marketplace, it comes pre-compiled, so that’s why you don’t have wait for one minute or two minutes for the WASM to be compiled. It’s already compiled in your package. So that’s why you don’t have to wait for several minutes. One thing that was misleading, actually, was that the WASM debug window was showing you that the WASM module was built in release on the bug and the information could change from one run to the next one. And the issue is that this information was irrelevant for packages downloaded from the Marketplace.
Eric - So it created some kind of confusion, and we actually fixed this debug window in Sim Update 11, 220.127.116.11. So I think right now you have 18.104.22.168 either in flighting or even publicly released; I’m not sure. So basically, the WASM debug window now provides relevant information. If you have an encrypted package and a pre-compiled package, it will tell you, and it won’t tell you anything about the release or debug or anything, or the DLL, itself. So it should be clearer and it should avoid wrong assumptions in the future. And performance has been tuned quite a lot by iniBuilds and I think the latest updates provided to the A310 make it a lot faster.
Eric - This relates to – I saw someone mentioning it earlier in the chat – BuffyGC wanted to say, “Thank you for fixing the AssistanceItem issue.” Basically, we made a mistake in the initial release of Sim Update 11, whereby we inserted lines in an enum, which maybe doesn’t mean a lot to people, but for those programing [Alyzée - It means a lot!], it’s something to be avoided. And it could have created issues with missions, already published missions and potentially published to-be-published missions. So we decided to fix the enum. It took two updates, actually, because we missed another one on the first try. So basically 22.214.171.124 is fixed in that regard. And you can use it safely to get your missions and submit to the Marketplace. So that’s why we blocked ingestion on the Marketplace: It was just for this issue. We wanted to make sure everything was resolved before ingesting again. So I think today, I mean, if you build your package with 126.96.36.199, it would be safe to send it to ingestion and I think that’s –
Jayne - Yeah meurkel would like to know:
Eric - There is the long-awaited “edit and continue” feature that has been really tricky. We think we have a solution to that, which doesn’t involve any third-party-product, which was something we envisaged at some point. So, we hope to provide it in the future. I mean, since it’s not done yet, I won’t – because on several occasions, we thought we had reached it and then we got another case where it doesn’t work. “If we do that, it doesn’t work.” Now, we really think – there are many other good news related to WASM, which – but we’re still working on that, making sure it works as we expect. And then we communicate about it. But yes, we are. We want to improve debugging, providing “edit and continue” and perhaps provide better performance, which we should see in the next few months.
Eric - But just one I saw that’s related to Xbox and [Alyzée - Can I go?]
Alyzée - One more!
Eric - Just one more related to Xbox and WASM. I think typical. “Isn’t WASM a thing for Xbox?” [reading from chat] or I think someone said, “When will it be on Xbox?” It’s coming.
Jayne - Yeah I think the question was like,
Eric - Yeah. [Jayne -] Or something like that.] Yeah. It should be ready quite soon. As far as I know there are no blockers, there are no remaining blockers.
Jayne - But that’s still planned for Sim Update 12.
Eric - Yeah.
Jayne - Okay, Alyzée?
Eric - Okay, go on!
Alyzée - Thank you!
Alyzée - So we have reached the next chapter, which is the team behind the SDK. (So we can get started on the next slide. Yeah.) This is basically a description of how the resources are split and the exact amount of people working on each editor, or each area. (I don’t have my glasses, so I can’t see clearly!)
Eric - (Don’t worry, the first one, the first face that appears should have been the last one. So we had an issue with PowerPoint. So just go on, Jayne.)
Alyzée - Okay. So yeah, we have one person working on the material editor, one person working on the material editor and the dev mode in general. So he is the one who brought you the smart docking system, for example. And he’s also making big improvements on the project editor at the moment. This one really needs some rum. We are lucky.
Alyzée - Then we have one guy working on the aircraft editor. We talked about it, and everything you see in the new aircraft editor is his work. And then we have one guy working on the VFX [visual effects] editor and he’s been working on it for like, a while.
Alyzée - Then we have – oh yeah – scenery editor. (Sorry, I didn’t see. I was thinking.) So we have one guy working on the scenery editor and he’s part of the engine team as well. So we cannot even consider that he is 100% on the scenery editor. [***Eric - He’s not full-time.] No, he’s not full-time at all, but he does most of the work on the scenery editor. Then we have the WorldHub, and you don’t know what that is, and that’s normal because we have slides for that in a couple of minutes.
Alyzée - And then we have one girl working on the exporters and Blender and we talked about her and her work earlier. So that’s for the development –
Eric - There’s one missing. He won’t be happy! (Can you click once?)
Alyzée - Oh yeah, sorry! That’s the guy working on WASM and on SimConnect as well and API, mostly. (So yeah, sorry!)
Eric - And so, the one on the right is working more on SimConnect than the one on the left is working more on WASM. But the guy on the right does both WASM, SimConnect, and lots of other things. [Alyzée - Yeah.]
Alyzée - Okay. And then on the support side, we have three people working on devsupport, and I wrote the names in blue. That’s how you can find us on devsupport. So, of course we have FlyingRaccoon, and now he has a team of two people. We have Boris_ and we have Yoanito, who recently joined the team.
Alyzée - They are not working full-time on devsupport because their base work is QA testing and SDK testing. So being on devsupport and investigating your issues is a part of their job. But we are going to talk about that in a few minutes. Then we have one guy working on the documentation. You know him under the name Nocturne, and you’ve seen him on devsupport probably.
Alyzée - Oh then, that’s me [SonantAlpaca] on the production side! And then we have Eric [EPellissier] and a great beard!
Eric - There’s a disclaimer, here: I didn’t produce this avatar!
Alyzée - And that’s it! He’s the lead and I’m the producer for the team that you just saw. So as you can see, there are only a few people working on the SDK and we are doing our best.
Alyzée - This is just a slide to describe how we do devsupport because we wanted to give you some vision on what happens when you post a question on devsupport. Just to help you understand why sometimes the delays can be long and why we keep asking for more details. Because basically, when you post a question on devsupport, we have one of the guys investigating.
Alyzée - So every morning, they look at the questions and they decide who works on which one, and sometimes it’s really quickly answered. So you can get an answer instantly or so. But sometimes you can stay like days without having an answer. It’s because it takes time to investigate. So when that happens, usually, they ask for more details. We ask for reproduction steps first to see if we can reproduce it, ourselves.
Alyzée - And when we cannot, we ask for your package and your resources to see if we can reproduce the issue with your data. Really, because when we don’t have this, when we cannot reproduce your problem, it’s really tricky for us to debug and to send to a developer because if we are not able to see the issue, how could we fix it?
Eric - On this topic? I think I saw someone might have been private. (Perhaps not everybody saw it.) I think once FlyingRacoon asked for the package for help looking at this issue and I think the answer was, “I’ve described my problem in a lot of detail. Why can’t you use that to look at the issue?”
Eric - And the thing is that, I mean, it would have meant – I can’t remember what the issue was and I can’t remember who was involved – but it means that FlyingRacoon should have basically redone a sample of the issue, reproduced that issue. (Perhaps he wouldn’t have managed to do it or something like that.) Basically, it would have taken him maybe just 10 minutes, but maybe an hour to reproduce, to create this new package.
Eric - And if we do that with all the questions we have on devsupport, then basically, we cannot answer your questions. We don’t have enough people to do that, and I’m not sure it’s worth it, to be honest, I mean, spending time redoing your packages. And so that’s why we ask for your packages to help make things go faster. Really.
Eric - Another thing I’d like to mention is that across of you, we haven’t gone through the whole the three boxes, here: we create a ticket… [Alyzée - Oh, I can finish!]
Eric - No, it’s just that when we say we create a ticket, it doesn’t really show the whole thing that happens. Basically, if one of the three manages to identify and reproduce the issue, before even creating a ticket, they’ll try to get in touch with the team responsible for the area that has the issue. And actually, it can be one team, it can be two. But it can be four or five teams. It can be complex. And then we need to talk to either the lead of each team, and then to the person who developed the feature within the team. Check if this is a known bug, if this is “as designed”. It can happen. [Alyzée - Sometimes.] And then if it’s not as designed, if it’s really a bug, then there’s the question of, “When can you fix it?” And then, it can take time because, as you know, those people are not waiting for bugs to come in. So, they’re usually busy on other things, and so they have to fit that in their schedule. And then, you as a user, as a player, as a third-party developer, you have to wait for the next update where we release the fix, and it can take literally weeks, really. Let’s be honest.
Eric - So as much as we can, before – really we can we try to provide fixes in the next sim update, if that’s possible. But it really depends on the schedule because you have lots of other teams and that’s why it sometimes takes weeks or a month. And sometimes we also say, “No, we’re not going to fix that or change that.” I know you don’t like it. But that does happen and it will happen again.
Jayne - Question from intheblueyonder:
Alyzée - So devsupport is available for anyone you can just enter devsupport.flightsimulator.com, and you have access to the platform. And then you just have to create an account and you are free to ask questions and answer existing questions.
Jayne - Awesome. Thank you.
Eric - (Just trying to see questions.) From simbol_fsreborn: “Would it be possible to get an update regarding the MAX exporter tool and the ability to create wipers directly…?” It’s one of the questions we answer later on in the presentation. [Alyzée - Yeah.] Too many questions.
Alyzée - We haven’t even reached the questions in the slide show.
Alyzée - This is just a reminder of how it works between Microsoft and Asobo, because sometimes it can be confusing from your point of view. So we just wanted to remind that Microsoft, they test your addons during the ingestion process that comes before the moment when you are live on the Marketplace. And then, Asobo investigates when you have an issue with your package. That’s what we just described. And we do our best to help you sort it out, but we don’t necessarily have the package. And we don’t test it update after update. So that’s how we are separated. And this is why we need lots of details when you have an issue and because we want to help investigate.
Alyzée - Just a word about devsupport, because the platform has been live for 1½ years, and we have like 500 contributing users, which is a lot. And we wanted to thank you for keeping this platform a safe space where anyone can ask for the details or where anyone has a question, information, and you share knowledge with each other. And I think it’s a good place. And we would like to thank you for making it that way because it’s basically yours. So we are really glad.
Eric - See space and friendly space. Most of the time!
Alyzée - Sometimes you get angry, but who doesn’t? So yeah, it’s good, and we hope devsupport will go on like that for many, many years. And next is….
Alyzée - Oh yeah! The WorldHub. So, you don’t know what the WorldHub is, but you are about to find out because we have a video to share today.
Jayne - Alright. Here we go:
Hello. We are excited to share some progress and screens about the WorldHub. The hub will be the place for the community to update their favorite airports and bring them into the sim for everyone. There, you will be able to search upon all airports available in-game and select the one you want to improve. Whether it is your favorite one, or the one nearby. On the airport page, you will be able to browse through all of the previous submissions and download the most up-to-date one.
Starting from there, if you want to contribute to this airport, you can check it out, giving you access to the submission flow. (Only one person can check out an airport at a given time.) Then load this directly into the dev mode where you will be able to modify data for this airport using [the] scenery editor in a specific mode. For example, you can modify ground surfaces, adjust vegetation, and any other generic data available for airports.
Up next, submit your up-to-date project back to the hub with details. It will then go under review. If approved, your airport version will be processed and added back to the core sim in an upcoming patch for everyone. We can’t wait to have the community on-board and to improve the airport together. With the WorldHub, the Earth is calling.
Jayne - Alright., yes, it’s super exciting. I’m sure. Let’s talk about this a little bit and chat, if you have questions specifically about the WorldHub, please write them in chat. Now, we’ll talk about this for a little bit.
Eric - Yeah. [Alyzée - Go ahead!]
Eric - Okay. So this is a project that started more than a year ago, perhaps a year and a half. We knew it was important to simmers to have something like this. So we hired someone, the guy whom you saw on the diagram Alyzée presented just minutes earlier. And so, basically, with a lot of people within the studio, we started working on that and we are now ready for the alpha phase.
Eric - So as written on the screen, there’s a link in the chat if you want to apply to become an alpha tester for this. And yes, I mean you’ve seen that elsewhere: The idea is really that the community works on the Microsoft Flight Simulator world improvements. I mean, people would like to improve their own local airport. They know it really well. They fly there, they want it to look more like what you have in reality. And so that’s what the WorldHub allows you to do. So just to make things clear, just in case, you won’t be able to import custom buildings or stuff like this, it’s really using the base. You’ll be able to tweak everything in the airport, but you cannot add, at this stage, custom buildings to the airport. But you have access to the full Microsoft Flight Simulator library, anyway. And so you’d be able to tweak runways and anything you want to check.
Jayne - Yes. So here’s some questions:
How long can someone reserve an airport, and can you basically renew your airport if you aren’t finished improving it at the expiry date?
Alyzée - I think it’s a lot.
Eric - I can’t remember in the prototype, but 20 to 30 days. It can be renewed. [Alyzée - Yeah, once.] Once only? Okay. So it can be renewed once.
Alyzée - There is no limit at the moment.
Eric - So there will be a limit.
Alyzée - There will be a limit at some point.
Eric - I think at some point, I thought it was three. So I don’t know why it’s been lifted. I’m not sure, maybe five.
Alyzée - We’ll see. That will depend on the alpha and beta tests. Still needs to be polished.
Jayne - sleeve83 wants to know:
Alyzée - No.
Eric - It’s not planned for now. The platform would support it. But for now we want to –
Alyzée - It’s really for the airport logic, like the taxiways and stuff like that. It’s very limited. It’s not about completely changing or revamping an airport. It’s mostly improving it and fixing it in terms of flight logic. And basically, when you download a project on the on the WorldHub website, you will open it in the scenery editor and you will open it in a light mode, where you will only have some features available. It’s the light mode of the scenery editor.
Eric - So just to…an interesting comment from OMGEDSON: “Adding custom objects would absolutely kill scenery developers.” It’s true that if you want to create a really nice airport, you may want to provide it through the Marketplace as a product. And so, that would be really the aim of the WorldHub is more to refine the data of the airport, rather than what it looks like. So that everything behaves like in the real airport or the runways, the taxiways, and stuff like this, which we know were wrong for quite a lot of time.
Alyzée - Yeah, we haven’t had the time to go on each airport in the world and fix it.
Eric - I see PieterWasAlreadyTaken says, “Basically fixing the XML.”
Eric - It would be PC/Xbox. They share the same dataset.
Alyzée - Yep. Of course, you won’t be able to visit on Xbox because no developer mode on Xbox. But, when you do it on PC, you will have the benefit of it on Xbox, as well.
Jayne - Gotcha.
Alyzée - It’s Asobo. You have one guy ready to –
Eric - Ready to be under fire! So, yes. So we’ll see if we need to change this way of validating things in the future. But to start with, we’ll do it this way, and then we’ll see if there’s a need for some kind of community-driven approval or something.
Alyzée - It will depend on the enthusiasm and then the amount of submissions that we receive. And it’s really something that we don’t know. So we will have the alpha and beta tests and see, and we’ll adjust on that. [Jayne - Yeah.]
Eric - runshotgun, I quite agree with you, but we’ll see. See in practice. Yeah.
Alyzée - Yeah. “One guy won’t be enough!” [quoting runshotgun] Yeah. But, you know, baby steps.
Is it possible to change the traffic pattern from left to right on a given airport / runway? Found a lot where this is wrong.
Eric - And Ensi_Ferrum_666, I’m not sure about that, to be honest. This is a setting in the XML, yes? It’s something – I’m not too sure if it’s on the list, so I need to check. I can’t answer.
Jayne - Okay. We’ll follow up.
Alyzée - And I would make sure that we provide the list of what you can and cannot do prior to alpha testing. This way, it will be clear for everyone.
Eric - Yeah.
Jayne - Another question:
So once an airport is approved by you, does that mean it’s just automatically added straight into the sim for everyone and it’s just live and accessible?
Eric - It might have to wait until the next sim update or world update. I’m not too sure yet about that. Ideally it could be like that, but I’m not sure that’s how it would work at the beginning.
Alyzée - But I think the idea is to improve the base game with the latest evolutions brought by the community on the WorldHub.
So what do you think the learning curve is for someone who might want to help out with the WorldHub, but maybe they haven’t had a lot of experience yet in the SDK?
Eric - I think the version of the scenery editor that’s used to do the addition is a light version compared to the full one, when you’re making a package with custom buildings. [Jayne - Yeah.] I think, if I’m correct, that we have documentation dedicated to this version of the scenery editor?
Alyzée - We should have and if not, we will.
Eric - I think we do already. And no, I think, well, there may be things to be learned because maybe people don’t even know how those airports are built. So someone who is really a newcomer in the domain will probably face the usual learning curve, I think, for seasoned modders or third-party developers. As I can see in the chat, I’m sure it will take them at least five minutes to learn how to do it. And I’m not, I’m not worried for them. And yes, a newcomer will have to learn, but it’s not that difficult.
Alyzée - It’s not like building an aircraft from scratch.
Eric - It’s different.
Jayne - Another question I have is:
What happens, basically, if someone’s checking out airports all the time and they’re maybe making incorrect changes that don’t get approved? Does this affect their ability to contribute in the future?
Jayne - Is there some kind of system that you might put in place, there?
Eric - It will have to. I’m not sure we have system for that right now, which would be correcting people and even preventing them from checking out. I’m not sure. I’d need to talk to the developer to check if he’s thought about doing something like that. But if needed, we will add this. I’m sure it would be needed. So we have to at least…maybe it’s already in there. To be honest, I’m not sure. [Jayne - Gotcha.] But if required, yes. Be assured that there would be something there.
Jayne - Awesome. Well, definitely, chat, if you want to be one of the 50 alpha testers, definitely sign up on that form. I’m not sure at what point…do you know when you’ll pick the 50 and notify them when we should close the form out?
Alyzée - I don’t know. To be honest, I won’t take most, of course, that I couldn’t give an ETA at the moment.
Eric - It would be pretty quite quick.
Alyzée - Yeah.
Jayne - Yeah. So sign up, as soon as possible, if you’d like to be in the 50.
Eric - Right now, brickdrummer, it’s airports only to start with.
Alyzée - Yep.
Jayne - Alright. We’ll move on to some questions from the forums that we got.
Alyzée - Yes. So, we picked up some questions.
Jayne - We’ll start with the first question we got in the forums. They said,
We are missing information about the actual positions of jetways in the new Sim Update 10 navdata API and need a reliable way to know if a jetway has docked and where.
Eric - Yes.
Alyzée - Yeah. So we spoke to the scenery editor developer and he estimated it’s roughly a week of work. So we’ve added the bug to the Sim Update 12 backlog because it was the most voted question. And it’s true that the jetway issue has been there for a long time. So yeah, we would definitely do something about that for Sim Update 12.
Eric - Just to be clear, we asked our scenery editor about it, but she’s not the one doing the SimConnect part. So, it might be a bit more than a week of work. Yes.
Alyzée - Yes. It’s gonna take teamwork.
Eric - Yeah, but the idea is to do that. Actually, I don’t know if we’ve managed to do everything, but we tried to do work for SU12.
Jayne - Cool. Alright. Next question:
Will we ever see a full weather radar compatibility in Microsoft Flight Simulator? Why haven’t we gotten an answer to this?
Eric - So, this question has been raised several times in devsupport, and there were complaints that the answer wasn’t clear enough. Because I know sometimes, the answer was, there are legal aspects. Sometimes the answer was, there are technical aspects. Actually, there’s all of that. So, it’s still under investigation. We can do it. “Can”, which means legally and technically, but we are actually moving forward because we understand it’s really something you want. We’d like to provide it. So yes, we, we work on making it more, checking if it’s possible and making it possible. I know it doesn’t fully answer the question of will we ever see full weather…I think we –
Alyzée - Cannot answer now because we still have to determine if it’s even possible. And at the moment, we don’t know. Hopefully, we’ll have more news in the upcoming months and we will share on devsupport. But for now, there is no additional answer to that.
Jayne - Alright. Next question.
Alyzée - So at the moment, there is no tool in the pipeline dedicated to snow. But I know that some improvements on the behavior of snow were made for Sim Update 12, which is a step. So maybe we can discuss that when Sim Update 12 is live. And see if it’s enough or if we can go further on that topic. But for now, no, there is no tool planned at the moment.
Eric - I guess, as you know, before we release sim updates these days, we have flightings. It’s been like that for quite a few sim updates. So that will be a flighting for Sim Update 12, hopefully, as well. That’s the plan. So, if you can check as soon as a flighting is released for Sim Update 12, you can check if what’s been done is good enough. I mean, that won’t be a tool, but at least maybe it will make the snow appearance on aprons and stuff like that would be better. If you can just give us feedback straight away, as soon as this Sim Update 12 flighting starts, just so that we can check if there’s something more to be done. If there’s time for this or not. To be honest, this is not really SDK-related. It’s handled somewhere else in the studio, but it’s always better if we have that kind of feedback early in the flighting rather than late because, if we receive issues in the last three days of the flighting, most of the time it’s too late to actually address the issue. Except a really, really huge bug and we have to provide a hotfix.
Jayne - Cool. Thank you, Eric. All right. Next question:
Is there any plan to release tools for creating meshes and vector features, rivers, roads, etc., like the classic resample.exe from the past versions?
Eric - Not at this stage, which doesn’t mean there will never be. But right, now nothing is planned. Doesn’t mean we don’t want to do that. It’s just that we haven’t thought about it and we haven’t –
Alyzée - The bandwidth limitation that you saw from the size of the team to work for now. No, it’s not planned.
Jayne - Thank you. Next question:
When will mountain and coastal morphing be sorted? Says it’s been ongoing in world updates. So can you give us an update on what you’re doing?
Alyzée - Yeah. So, we are going to push an improvement on the resolution of terraforming on Sim Update 12. And we have provided an example of what it would look like before and how it will look like in Sim Update 12. You can see it’s smoother. I mean, the resolution is higher. So we hope it will solve lots of issues that are similar to this one, and that it will improve, as well, the mountains and coastl morphing.
Eric - There’s one important thing to know about this modification in terraformers. If we had just activated the better resolution terraformer in Sim Update 12, we would have had strange things where you would have packages made with previous versions of the sim, which could could have a polygon like this, and another just next to it, but with a slight space. And in the past versions, because the resolution was coarse, they would fall on the same cells and then they would have elevated the terrain in the same way. But with the final resolution, it would have a hole in between. And so you could have elevation here and the hole here in the added sense. So what we’ve done is that, previous packages will still use the old terraformer. And any new package with Sim Update 12 will be able to use the higher resolution of terraformer. So if you have packages that are already published, that have issues like the ones we can see on the screen, and you want to improve the situation, you will have to reopen your project in Sim Update 12, rebuild your package, and distribute it again. So send it to the Marketplace. We really couldn’t do that automatically. It was creating too many issues.
Jayne - Great. Thank you. Alright. Here’s a fun question:
How does the SDK team deal with the stress of everyone always wanting more from you? And have you been surprised by how many different things the community wants to create? Thank you for all the great work you’re doing.
Alyzée - So how do we deal with that? With beer! No, that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to give you a vision of the team and the team size. You can see that we are not very numerous.
Eric - There aren’t that many people on the team.
Alyzée - Thank you. But all of the people in here, they love what they do. We love what we do and we give our best. So that’s why we are always happy when we get nice comments, and always a bit sad because, when you get mad for good reasons, we can hear it. It’s just that we don’t always have the bandwidth to answer or to do more. So beer helps.
Eric - As I said before, we understand your issue. We can get mad at it, as well, and it can involve a lot of other people who would really like to resolve the issue, as well. But they are, I mean, they are busy on other things that cannot wait. I mean, it’s really a scheduling issue. So we are doing our best to make things move forward.
Eric - So but, we don’t complain. Don’t worry for us.
Alyzée - As for the second part of the question, we are always amazed by what you manage to create with the tools because you have some usages that we didn’t even think of. So, it’s always nice to see what you would manage to do with our tools. And this is why we are always happy to hear about your feedback on the editors and how to improve them. That’s it.
Jayne - Alright, next question:
Alyzée - So, like we said before, there are going to be fixes with Sim Update 12, but there won’t be an actual tool for that. But we are making improvements as described by Eric.
Eric - Hmm, not 100% sure it address the question, but –
Alyzée - No, it’s a start. Baby steps once again.
Eric - Yeah.
Jayne - Next question:
Are there currently plans to get a working script editor? And if so, when can we expect one? XML is fun, but a script editor sure would make things easier.
Alyzée - So, we know we have issues and crashes on the script editor. And [to Eric] it’s actually on your plate to have a look at them and the crashes. So we will do our best to address that, but we won’t be able to provide details or news about the missions in general because we are working on it at the moment. So as soon as we are ready, we will share more info. But for now, we will do our best to fix the script editor, short term. [Eric - Short term.] Short term considering Eric’s workload.
Eric - Yeah. Hopefully Sim Update 12.
Alyzée - Yep. [Jayne - Gotcha.]
Can we have an ETA [estimated time of arrival] for the official Blender plugin integration in the SDK?
Alyzée - Yeah, it’s going to be 2023, which gives us 300 more days. Yeah, like we said before, we have a new girl working specifically on that, and she will start pushing on Git very soon, and I believe we will do it in 2023.
Jayne - Fantastic! Last question we have pulled from the forums.
Alyzée - So this one is the one we would love to work on, but it’s not – I mean, the tech, itself, is not on our team and it’s not being worked on at the moment due to bandwidth issues. But when it gets in-game, of course, it will be available in the SDK as well. But for now, we cannot share any ETA on that. And I know it’s really expected, but for now, I’m sorry we can’t share.
Jayne - Alright. So we’re a little past time, but I wanted to check with you first, Eric, if you saw any particular questions you wanted to answer before we close out.
Eric - I’ve seen several questions on updates to the camera API. So, we’ve been trying to design it or work a bit on it, internally. It’s not planned right now. So it doesn’t mean we don’t want to do it. It’s just that right now, we can’t fit it in the planning. Yeah, I guess there would be one one day.
Eric - (What did we see?) I saw that the missions needed love and yes, we agree with that. There are already on some of them on that one. Camera SDK… There are questions that are a bit too technical here regarding glass reflection, glass deformation. I guess these ones should really go to devsupport. It would be easier. Okay. Then the last one I saw was:
Eric - No, we don’t have something like that in the pipeline, but we reckon there should be a better way. Well, actually a way to create liveries in the project. Yeah, that’s something we want to work on. It’s not planned, either, but yes.
Eric - “Are you planning to improve the weather preset system? It would be great if we can define different weather in different locations.”
Alyzée - That’s not the SDK team. So, I don’t know.
Eric - Yeah. I haven’t heard of this.
Eric - Force feedback support. Same thing. It’s more on the engine core team. [Alyzée - Yeah.] So I don’t know. I can’t tell you.
Eric - “Start location for helipads, cold and dark.” I’m not too sure. I’ve seen people talking about it. But I’m not sure.
Jayne - Alright.
Eric - “Helicopter example?” [Alyzée - We are working on that.] We are working on that.
Jayne - Nice. Okay, good to know. Alright, I think we’ll wrap it up, here. Here, I’ll let you get your last question. Sorry.
Eric - Just one thing. Access to LVar, VVar, etc. We’re working on something for Sim Update 12. But I’m not sure, yet, how far we got, so, yeah, that’s…we’re working on it, actually.
Jayne - Perfect. Alight, thank you, Eric and Alyzée for the presentation; we really appreciate it. I think a lot of us are extremely excited for the WorldHub, especially. There is a link, one more time, if you want to sign up, to be in the alpha for that. Please do so. We’ll be picking just 50 people for that and will notify you probably via email, I’m guessing, when they pick their 50. But, of course, as you saw from the team structure, there are three of them in the devsupport forums, always looking at your questions. So if you haven’t yet created an account there and [you] are a developer, feel free to do so and get involved in the community, there. It’s a really great resource, not only to get questions answered from Asobo, but also, your fellow community members, as well.
Jayne - Is there anything you two would like to say before we close out, today?
Alyzée - No. Thank you for this live Q&A.
Eric - Thanks, everyone, for attending and for your questions. And, let’s go on with discussions on devsupport, if we haven’t had time to answer, or if you think we didn’t answer completely. So, please feel free to ask again on devsupport.
Jayne - Absolutely. Alright, everyone, I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving, if you celebrate that. And if not, happy holidays! We will see you in our next stream, which is Friday for our Community Fly-In Friday. Alright, everyone, have a good one! See ya!
Eric/Alyzée - Thank you! Bye!