Something that makes Flight Simulator different from nearly all other games is the fact that every user gets a different experience out of it. I think this is partly because we provide an open “sandbox” to explore and because we have such an active community creating content for the product. For people that delve into the community and start downloading content, there is an endless supply of new experiences to explore.
So in reality there isn’t a single experience, there are a myriad of different experiences and users with a very wide range of interests, knowledge and skills. Knowing and embracing this about Flight Simulator is probably the single most important influence on what approaches I take when designing for Flight Simulator. It’s also what makes Flight Simulator a very challenging game to design for. How do you account for so many different types of users and experiences and still create a cohesive product and user experience?
So you may ask what I really do here and the answer is that I craft the overall user experience with the intent to produce a cohesive and balanced game AND simulation. Our overarching goal is to provide new and exciting features and content for our enthusiasts so that their hobby will continue to improve and engage them in new ways while making the product easier to use and more approachable for new users. If we didn’t have both ends of the spectrum (and everything in-between), I don’t think the franchise would survive long-term (IMO).
Of course we have to make sure we don’t fix what isn’t broken and we try very hard to maintain what has kept Flight Simulator a great product for over 20 years. We improve and innovate features where it makes sense to invest our limited time and resources.
I know most of you reading the team member blogs just want to know if we fixed this problem or that, and what is new in the product. Certainly by now you know that we can’t tell you details unless it’s officially and publicly announced, but I know tdragger, Pixelpoke, and hal9000 do drop hints when they can.
Much of what we are doing is improving the base of the product by raising the quality bar OVERALL while adding new functionality and cool new stuff.
What a general statement… and kind of obvious isn’t it?
Reading between the lines, we don’t have a lot of time for focusing on one single aspect of the product at the detraction of another. New features of course require a focused effort, and we have several new features that are getting the attention needed.