Will the Built In ATC Ever Be Fixed?

Has there been any discussion from the developers at Microsoft/Asobo to address the issues with the built in ATC? It seems like many of the problems with it that have existed since FSX are still here. When I was in the beta, I gave it pass assuming the issues would be addressed within the first year after release, but here we are two years later, and many of the problems with the ATC remain. Namely, the ATC constantly bounces you back and forth between the same centers instead of smoothly handing you off from one to the other and has major problems vectoring you in for approaches (namely, it gives you approach instructions when you are only a few miles from the airport and often doesn’t assign appropriate altitudes in time to line you up to intercept the localizer). There are many other problems with it, but for me (and others) these are the big ones. Yes, I know I can use Vatsim, but sometimes you don’t want to have to go through all that complexity and one should expect the built in ATC to at least not lead you astray and know how to get you to where you are going. It’s to the point where I now have to mostly ignore it and let the AI yell at me as I have to manage my own descent in order to make sure I am at a low enough altitude to land in time.

Anyway, I haven’t heard anything from the devs in respect to upcoming ATC fixes, so I was just wondering if this sort of thing is on their radar or if they are too busy quashing other bugs.

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I don’t think there is any immediate plans / timelines.

WorkingTitle (the fine folks who brought us the G1000nxi and CJ4 mod) are being tasked with fixing the core navigation, flight planning, etc… issues in the sim.

Once that’s fixed, then I suspect ATC would be able to be fixed as well.

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There was some info in a dev Q&A here…

Namely, this bit:

Forums question – Do we get an ATC [air traffic control] overhaul together with the redesign of the AI [artificial intelligence] traffic system? - Timestamp

Marital: Overall, we are still trying to add layers of improvements. So now, we are working on improving the vectoring not for Sim Update 10 but just after. Just to improve the ATC vectoring. And also, we want to make use of the MSAs for minimum safe altitude. So that should include on the flight planning formation, and it would change the way the ATC is using the flight plans, also. So layers of improvement. No reboots, I would say.

So it sounds like it will get worked on and an update due just after SU10, so likely the Q4 2022 release (maybe, this was said back in May). I think it’s a difficult enough system problem that they should probably just open up the API for traffic/weather a bit more and then let 3rd parties wail on it in more depth.

Also, the latest feedback snapshot here

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They talked about starting this topic in “Winter” this year, so don’t expect anything before Q2/2023. Anyway it’s on their list.

I think one problem is VOR in this game is treated as VFR so we never get a vector to an ILS which uses the same frequencies as VOR.

If VOR was placed in the IFR category it might start working better.

In essence, you can create a 400 mile 100% VOR flight and it is viewed in game by your pilot, and ATC as VFR.

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Ah, great info everyone. At least it’s good to know that they are aware of the problem (not sure how they wouldn’t since many of us have been talking about this issue since alpha/beta) and are at least talking about the need to address it. And I do think the suggestion to open this up to third-party developers is a great idea. ATC add-ons seem like a no brainer since it’s such an integral part to the flight experience. Certainly, the current state of the built-in ATC is “manageable” but with the more complex add-ons that have come out since release that have greater fidelity with respect to flight planning and using their onboard flight computers to manage IFR in route, the gaps in the functionality of the built-in ATC become more and more apparent.

You would never get vectored period, vectoring is not available with the in-sim ATC.

Need to use Pilot2ATC or some other ATC tool if you want that kind of functionality at the moment.

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If you are looking for a more “complete” ATC that functions similarly to the in-sim ATC (but improved) check out FSHud.

https://www.fshud.com/#/site/overview

If you want to kick it up a notch further and have ATC that is voice activated, check out Pilot2ATC

Lastly, if you want “as real as it gets” where you interact with live controllers, get on Vatsim or PilotEdge!

If you are nervous about it, use Pilot2ATC to get you talking back and forth with the computer using the same phraseology as you would on a live network like Vatsim/PilotEdge

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Have you searched for open bugs and fixes delivered for ATC? There are a number of ATC bugs that are known and being worked on. There are also a number of ATC bugs that have been fixed and delivered in previous updates. Asobo is working on and delivering ATC fixes.

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I would guess, they’ll be minor fixes, but nothing earth-shaking. With games that have been out for a few years, the manpower cost of each new iteration or expansion, is justified based on its potential to create new sales from fresh excitement around new features, and a major rework to ATC, which would be hugely expensive, and time intensive to undertake, doesn’t have the ‘sexy’ factor that will drive new sales.

As others have said, there’s loads of great 3rd party content out there that will satisfy those looking for a deeper experience. I think Asobo would probably argue that a partially functional ATC system exists, and that it’s developed enough to satisfy those casually dipping in. I’m sure they’d also say that, given due time and resources, it’s their intention to polish this system up as much as they can.

But I don’t think we’ll see a new system, or a massive overhaul.

What you are likely to see is more online functionality, increased social media connectivity, more movie and product tie-ins, and novelty aircraft. It’s incredibly expensive to make video games, and two years after launch, you’re left with very little traction that will drive new business. I think the game has got many, many good years left in it, but like the Arma series, I expect the really significantly progressive content to come from 3rd party developers.

I was intrigued yesterday, when I was in an A320 and ATC asked me if i had visual on an aircraft at my six o’clock.

Now I might be missing something, but i’m fairly sure that an A320 has no wing mirrors, yet my co-pilot claimed to have the other aircraft, that was still at my 6 o’clock, in sight.

Oh well, i guess this is one of the least important of the ATC issues?

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I have to disagree here on the simulation sector :wink: as imho simulators live by evolving.
A good example on this is DCS which basically is free to play. Anyway you won’t go anywhere without investing money into DLCs which are released regular. Also they got some partnership with Thrustmaster :wink:

MSFS can generate money for several (possible) reasons:

  1. Every sold item on Market Place will bring in some cash, even if it’s third party stuff
  2. Every sold “Local Legends” or “Famous Flyers” is even more money
  3. The sim is Microsofts testbed for stuff like AR, AI (Azure text to speech the be on topic :wink: ) and cloud based services - it’s not just a game for them but more a large scale proof of concept
  4. Merchandise for other products can be provided through MSFS for free (see Halo Pelican Dropship, Top Gun, the Volocopter and the Windows 11 paints for now)
  5. Xcloud as a service brings regular money as well as the Xpass for all MS branded games
  6. Large scale DLCs are coming - Reno was likely just a start
  7. Partnering with different well known third parties raises and keeps interest in the sim when it comes to the community (Aerosoft, Gaya, PMDG at some spot?).
  8. Maybe they go all mad and target b2b in (far) future like Laminar does on X-Plane (targeting flight schools and some FAA approved version) or the military way (ESP 4.0).
  9. Maybe they go the eSport route on realistic stunt/formation flying events watched in VR/AR? Who knows?

If your theory was right they would also not have started working on DX12, DLSS or a whole new flight model :wink: They just could have released the sim with two years of support and then let it go like ACES did on FSX. At least I was surprised by their quite large scale moves they already took (like the move to Xbox and Xcloud).

In the end much of the costs you think about are likely just virtual costs within Microsofts metaverse, shifting money and knowledge from a to b.

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You don’t need mirrors. Just stick your head out and take a gander!

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Yes! This needs to be priority ! Please change the voices because I can’t stand how they sound. They sound to ordinary . Need to add several different types men and women and high pitch , low pitch and possibly some foreign but speaking English . Also the speed is too slow . They need to speak faster especially when we got AIG traffic running . And the speech doesn’t sound authentic enough in regards to vectoring /approach /departure /switching over /climb/descend/ ground contact etc etc. it’s sounded better in P3d/fsx with the addon software of Editvoicepack . Can we hear some feedback if this in slated for major overhaul ? Open up the sdk and see if the staff at Editvoicepack aka Bevelstone can join in and start to overhaul the in-sim ATC .

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Hello, Alexa…

I seem to remember ACES were sacked by MS, which was a pity.

One of their developers used to be fairly active on the forum (going by the name of “Taildragger”) - I just wish Asobo would show a similar interest in this forum.

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Great points, and I genuinely hope you’re right and I’m wrong.

But there are plenty of ‘red flags’ for this product, particularly how the PC and XBOX versions are ‘locked’ together, preventing separate development on PC.

The beta that has brought us DX12 and DLSS is absolutely amazing for me on a mid-range card in 2K, and I can’t praise Asobo enough for what they’ve achieved there, BUT the guys with 3090ti’s are wondering what’s in it for them? GPU prices are now coming down hard and fast, which will put top end hardware into the hands of more people. The 40 series is just around the corner, and it’s going to kick the 30 series into the long grass. There’s currently no way (beyond editing game files) of improving the visuals beyond ‘Ultra’, and of utilising this new technology. London is still a mass of melted buildings, even if you use the most powerful PC on the planet, and the LODs for cliffs and mountains have serious transition issues right across the planet.

If the XBOX and PC versions remain locked together, a lot of this stuff will not be changed, because the XBOX hasn’t got the ability (and that might include a fully featured ATC system) to run it. The XBOX can’t be upgraded, so it has a fixed shelf life, which means the game has a fixed shelf life unless they un-couple the products.

As you know, I love the game to bits, and I’m a massive supporter, making videos promoting the game, and talking excitably about it to anyone that will listen, but you have to be realistic about the future, and that’s why I think 3rd party stuff will likely drive the significant progress of the future.

Are you saying the Xbox is the reason London has a load of melted buildings, thats just a bug/issue that’s not been fixed, why would “being locked together” stop that issue from being fixed.

No, what I’m saying is that new content is always going to have priority over bug fixes. Bug fixes COST money, new features CREATE money. If you spend $1,000,000 fixing bugs for customers who have already paid for your game, you lose $1,000,000 of the revenue your game has already accrued. Spend the $1,000,000 on new content and you’ll likely get the money back, and even make a profit. Example:-

Choice A: Fix the photogrammetry in one of the world’s most iconic aviation cities.
Marketing win percentage = 0%, Chance of attracting new customer = Low. First you’d have to advertise that the photogrammetry in one of the world’s most iconic aviation cities is broken. And then you’d have to advertise again to say you were fixing it. Seriously, trying to sell that to the marketing department would be career suicide.

Choice B: Release Tom Cruise Novelty Plane to tie-in with massive Hollywood movie.
Marketing win percentage = 80%, Chance of attracting new customers = Very high. Literally, the only people you’re going to put off, are people who don’t like Tom Cruise, and I’m putting that at 20% of the global population, and I think that is generous to Mr Cruise.

So what’s my point about XBOX? Well the fact is that PC games can get quick and easy visual ‘bug fixes’ just by the developers fiddling with the settings, and allowing the additional grunt of new hardware to drive their ageing games better. At the moment the quality settings for both XBOX and PC are locked together. But the PC is developing, and becoming more powerful, with 40 series in the wings, while the XBOX plateau’d on the day it was released.

So a visual bug fix for XBOX and PC is likely long winded and expensive. But a visual bug fix for just PC, might involve only some quick and basic optimisation, and then changes to settings to allow PC users to leverage their superior GPU and CPU power. As you say, the London issue is likely more related to photogrammetry problems, and can’t be as easily fixed with horse power. But hopefully you get the point that I’m making.

With all that mentioned, the latest Beta is an absolute cracker in regards to performance, so massive congrats to Asobo for their hard work on that. Now fix London please!!

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Just under two years with no descent improvements. Very very annoying.

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