There seems to be some anxiety among our hard-core users that FSX is again turning into a game with the release of the Acceleration pack instead of building the sim. We saw the same anxiety with FSX because it included missions. Although there are still some holdouts that refuse to fly a mission (or have some and still don't care for them), most users (a vast majority) have greatly enjoyed them and have impoved their skills by flying them.
Now we are introducing more missions in Acceleration, plus including head to head racing and we are getting the same fears about turning FSX into a game. Part of this is because this is the first competitive element ever included in Flight Simulator's long history, and for some reason some users feel that is too game-like.
I will readily admit that racing is very much about gameplay, but not at the sacrifice of realism. The main features that really make it like a game are the on-screen race map, iconic engine gauges, and the race info gauge. These totally look like game UI elements. That said, the map and engine display can be turned off for a realistic experience. The race info gauge can be undocked and moved, or closed, but the information is too valuable to turn off completely all the time.
The actual flying of the race planes is VERY realistic and we have validated this with real race pilots. Nothing has been dumbed down for this expansion pack and in fact we have significantly expanded the capabilities of the simulator with this expansion pack. If you fly with the autopilot most of the time, you probably won't be very successful flying a P-51 Mustang. But if can learn to fly it, you'll be a better pilot in the end.
The simulator can now more realistically simulate helicopters and helicopter operations with many new systems employed. The F-18 is using many new systems that can be applied to any modern military jet. The Mustang is using a new supercharger that wasn't present in FSX. In the area of scenery we have a much more realistic representation of the world at Edwards AFB, Cape Canaveral, the Florida Keys, and all of the racing venues in Acceleration. To say the Acceleration Pack is hurting realism is simply wrong and misinformed.
I understand that the hard-core users want us spending our time enhancing the sim so that airliners and commercial operations are more realistic, but we have a very broad audience which is expanding all the time. It is time to expand the platform with new systems for those users and build the infrastructure for the future. We will continue to improve systems and realism for GA and Commercial operations as we develop the next iteration of FS.
Happy Labor Day!
I don't feel this will harm FSX. Quite the contrary, I believe it will open up even more new users to the wonderful world of simulation. There are many of us who don't fly the "heavies" and I, for one, truly appreciate the expansion possibilities that Acceleration brings. I will not be "into" the air racing aspect, but will be flying the new Mustang. Thanks for the fine effort the team is putting out for us!
For some of us with just barely enough time to run a Pylon session, the Accelleration pack is appears very cool and a nice addition. Between the F-18, Mustang, and EH101, there's a lot of interesting new capability and associated missions. I'm not that interested in droning along in a -400 for hours on end and the small chunks of time I have available to play are just perfect for a mission or two.
FSX is growing in 'players' and hardcore fans every day. I can't see why FS: Acceleration will harm it at all, however I do feel that there are some factors of FSX realism lacking that would be very nice to see. I'll note state them here, as its not the place, but one example would be terrain affected runways... to my knowledge they're not all flat as a mill pond.
I agree, FSX is most definitely a huge leap forwards in terms if realism and immersion of the player in the aircraft environment, and FSX: Acceleration will just take us on to the next step, but there are some tiny niggles that get us "hard core" users to think of FSX as more of a 'game' than a 'simulation' as it should be.