Well, the demo version is out the door and getting ready for it’s debut on GameSpot later today. It’s the first time we’ve ever done a demo and we made it even harder on ourselves by trying to do it while we were working on the full product. Not many teams can pull that off (or so I’m told), at least pull it off well. We certainly learned a lot and will apply those lessons in the future.


I’m excited to read the reaction to the demo, although I’m sure it will be far from universal praise. We know the demo is a little rough around the edges but we only had so much time to smooth them out. It was a tradeoff–wait until the entire project was done and release a demo mere days before you could buy the product in stores, or risk a (hopefully) small amount of criticism by releasing the demo early in order to satisfy the apparent hunger that exists in the marketplace. As a result, it has some bugs. For instance, a few times the aircraft in the demo have loaded with a black, opaque windshield–perfect for IFR training but not so great if you want to be able to see the awesome Sint Maarten scenery! Another bug causes the sim to appear to hang while loading AI traffic after flying a few missions (though you can press Esc, quit and restart). Since these didn’t happen consistently we couldn’t isolate and fix them and so I imagine they’ll crop up “in the field” as well. Such is the nature of the pre-release demo business, I guess.


Of course our challenge was made even greater by the desire to fit the demo on a single CD (for things like bundling with magazines, tradeshow giveaways, etc.) when the full product will ship on 2 DVDs! We had to leave some stuff out purely for space reasons. (Remember that while you laugh at a car driving down the highway with no body, just a chassis. Oh, yeah, it’s in there. <g>)


Releasing early also meant the demo lacks some of the final performance optimizations that people will see in the final product. In fact I just saw a check-in today that made we wish we’d had another day. Oh, well. I’ve been told that people who regularly download pre-release demos of other games take this in stride. I wonder if the Flight Simulator devotees, who probably aren’t part of that group, will handle it. Mostly likely they’ll try dragging the “sliders” all the way to max. My response? “Doctor, it hurts when I do this…”

Comments (21)

  1. denez says:

    What an anticipation !

    Don’t worry, we’ll love it !

  2. Amazing.This is a first for the ACES team over at Microsoft.&amp;nbsp;&amp;nbsp;&amp;nbsp; It is something that I…

  3. kand says:

    I am sure this is gona go down well,I thinj its a great idea for us to get a teaser to play with while you polish the rest of the sim for us.Keep up the good work

  4. Congratulations on a healthy baby, Mike!  I know you and the rest of the team have been working long and hard, and will continue to do so until RTM.

  5. Ian says:

    Not seen the chassis yet, but seen some of the other issues such as opaque windscreen, black light in the rotating beacon etc. By the way the windscreen only went opaque after I increased the autogen and traffic sliders up a bit – well traffic all the way up lol.

    Despite the naysayers in Avsim I for one am impressed so far – God job ACES I say 🙂

  6. john says:

    I have played the demo, quite extensively now and I honestly can’t say I am too impressed. I’m not letting the demo give me any sort of indication of what the release is going to be because I know it is merely a demo.

    But I do have to ask, how close is this demo to the real deal? It seems like it is missing a lot of different things and also very very buggy (and ugly..)

  7. Abid Hussain says:


    Tried the demo this morning before work.

    I just wanna say thanks for the pre release, preview. I’ve already paid my money for the game, but it’s nice to get a feel for it before hand.

    Oh, and thanks for letting us know about the rough edges. I saw the naked car, and I wasn’t really sure what to think. I’m not a game expert, or a game-demo expert, so like many (I assume), I was worried that the naked cars were representative of the final product.

    It;s nice to know that the developers are on top of these (obvious) things.

    Good luck with the release.

  8. Jay says:

    Little off topic sorry but I saw quite a few complaints about the Demo on forums, I tryied it and I must say I love it, no complaints from me (yet). 🙂

  9. chris627 says:

    You were very right about dragging the sliders to the right. It killed my fps so bad but oh man does it look sweet. I’m very excited about this new version now that I got a sneak peek at what it will look like. You guys have done an excellent job with this and I thank you very much for it.

  10. Paul Keen says:

    I just lurk at AVSim and have done for years.  Been tinkering with FS since 5.1.

    Anyway, just wanted to say what a pleasant surprise it was that my Dell XPS M170 laptop managed a decent 25fps more or less continually at 1920×1200 with all the generic settings on ultra high.  That’s pretty good going.  Looking forward to trying the demo on my desktop tomorrow which is dual core and has two 7800GTs in SLI… here’s hoping performance is reasonable on that, too.

    Am even more excited by this release now.  Ignore many of the whingers, some of their heads are so far up their arses… I’m surprised they even recognise sunlight.

  11. says:

    Nice to see the demo so early! I fired it up on Windows Vista Beta 2, but had no luck getting it to run. I imagine this is because nVidia beta drivers for the GeForce 7900 on the x64 platform are just not ready.

    I’m anxious to see the performance gains with DX10 on Vista!

  12. Adam says:

    The demo’s great!

    Finally, finally, finally, FINALLY we can fly VFR and there are things to SEE!! And the FS world…..IT’S ALIVE!!

    I can’t tell you what a difference it makes. This will tear me away from flying heavy metal at 35,000ft and I predict I’ll be spending hours and hours and hours sitting in that microlight.

    Good job tdragger and all on the FS development crew. Can’t wait for the full sim.

  13. Johan says:

    Hey… the trike visual model is wrong…It should be push the bar to slow down (climb) and pull to speed up (dive).

  14. OscarRodan says:

    I was pretty impressed with it too, can’t understand the negative feedback I’ve seen at all – I assume they didn’t read it was a beta demo. I take my hat off to you and the rest of the team – I have pr-ordered as well!

  15. Oscar Rodan says:

    I was very impressed esp with the visuals, keep up the good work – my hats off to you and the rest of the team!

  16. Ted in England says:

    Thanks for the demo, team. I really enjoy it. To those "moaners", this is our hobby – a game!!!. If you want a real simulator, pay hundreds of pounds/dollars an hour on the real thing. Looking forward just as much to FSX as I was to FS9.

  17. Mike in England says:

    Tried it out and was pretty impressed.  I would be interested to know if the performance on my fairly slow (by today’s standards) system will be able to cope as well with the final version as it can with the demo.

  18. Ian Fox says:

    I’ve spent some time with the demo and I’m pumped for FS X! Just a few comments I have so far:

    I’d love to see on the "Select Airport" an option to only show water strips and/or regular land based airports from the airport list.

    The performance wasnt that great but thats something I expect will be improved upon release.

    Would have been great to not had that time limit but I suppose its a necessary evil when offering demo software. Considering the software is still months from release, I would have deactivated the time limit and then had it kick in at a certain date when the game is being released. Not a huge deal on this one though.

    Overall, great work! I hope to see a demo of FS 11 when it nears release!

  19. control says:

    All in all a great demo that has made me decide to buy it at release date… down point: track-ir support would have made it much more enjoyable.

  20. SC says:

    Will the full version have animated ground equipment?  I want tugs to be able to push you back, fuel trucks to pull up, etc…