A passion for passion

A Flight Simulator writer writing about Flight Simulator writing

A passion for passion

  • The Flight Simulator User Experience

    When we create products for customers, we'd obviously love it if everyone felt passionately about using those products. Not everyone comes to an experience with a feeling of passion. For some, using a particular product is a means to an end for solving...
  • Thanksgiving flights

    One of my best friends works right across the hall from me. We've worked together on FS for six or seven years. Some of you know him from AVSIM conferences or airshow booths: Mike Singer. We often discuss how to eliminate barriers for new users to getting...
  • Civilization and the human heart

    "Civilization, after all, is but a thin layer of civility stretched across the passions of the human heart." I have this reputation as the Egypt guy. I've been interested in ancient Egypt since I was a kid. My home is filled with Egyptiana and my office...
  • Habibi goes to misr

    I won't bore you with excuses about why I haven't been writing here because I only have enough Monday brain power to write this and thinking up excuses would hurt my head. I'm about to take another trip to Egypt. This time for only a week but I'm looking...
  • Back from the past

    The trip was exhilarating and exhausting. I didn't ever adjust to the time change and was getting only 3-5 hours of sleep per night (there's a 10 hour difference in time between Redmond and Cairo). We had a lot of fun with the group that came to tour...
  • The UX curse

    Five years in this building and I still can't easily find an office if I haven't been to it before. The FS group is parked in a leased building that has some of the worst design I've ever seen. Hallways have weird angles and some of them actually go nowhere...
  • A Passion for Egypt

    Everytime we ship a new version of Flight Simulator, I torture our Art Director, Jason , about the Giza Plateau. I've spent a lot of time walking around the Pyramids at Giza, the temples, the Sphinx, and the thousands of associated Old Kingdom tombs....
  • FS Elders

    This morning I was looking for the website of the National Institute of Mental Health. I searched by acronym but I wasn't getting it quite right. I tried "NIHM" for some reason and was thrilled to find the website for the New Iceland Heritage Museum ...
  • A passion for science

    I like science. So does my friend. He just doesn't like scientists much. Or at least the ones he sees on TV. Richard Dawkins is one of his favorite whipping boys. He thinks that scientists are arrogant and that they approach science as their religion...
  • FSX announced! BillG talks FS at CES

    It's a nice relief or release or something when we go public about the next version of FS. After months of working away, knowing that you all are waiting to hear the word, it feels great to know that Flight Sim's fans now have something new to get excited...
  • Who am I?

    I'm the User Experience lead for the Flight Simulator group. Actually, that's not true. I work in a group that provides User Experience services to the ACES studio in Microsoft Game Studios and as such, we are the User Experience group for Flight Simulator...
  • Information when you need it

    The problem with software, especially really deep, rich software products, is that users want to start using them right out of the box. So maybe the problem is with users. That's a joke. We tech writers sadly admit (to ourselves) that if a user...
  • Tumbling tumbleweeds

    I went to see King Kong last weekend. As a technophile, I loved the CG. The big monkey looked amazing and the island was pretty cool. I liked the scenes in NYC where Kong is tossing cars around. 1930s NYC looked totally believable. As a writer, I was...
  • Think locally, write globally

    One of the challenges of documenting a program like Flight Simulator is that its complexity goes beyond program functionality. It's about aviation and aircraft and systems and aerodynamics...'n stuff. We have to think locally in terms of how to explain...
  • Writings on the Nile

    Since early this year, I've been planning a trip back to Egypt with some friends who have never been there. We spent twelve days together in Egypt in late October. I had thought of blogging here while on the trip but I was so busy I hardly had time to...
  • A writer's writer

    One of the real pleasures and frustrations of being a writer is reading other people's excellent writing. It's a pleasure because writers are in love with words and it's a frustration because someone else wrote something you wish you'd written. Such...
  • Adults at play

    Nana asked me at the end of the Egypt trip, "What has been different than what you expected on this trip?" Really it was just that it all came together so easily and that nothing major went wrong. I'm not a pessimist by nature but there were any number...
  • Blind cold wimps

    Good thing I filled up my gas tank on Thursday night before the 90 mph winds hit and took down the operation of most of the pumps in the area. Too bad I didn't get around to replacing the emergency release mechanism on my automatic garage door opener...
  • A Pass to Railroad Heaven

    The best part of spending two and a half weeks in Japan over the holidays was the food. My friend Akiho comments frequently on the Japanese love of good food and she insisted on making sure I ate "real" sushi before leaving Tokyo. She took me to an elegant...
  • Not quite as fast as a speeding bullet

    After riding on trains almost daily for two and a half weeks last month in Japan, I have a newfound interest in the rails. I rode several different flavors and without exception they were fun. I already wrote about the subway system, which is a joy...