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Aces Studios Closing?!

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The division of Microsoft that produces the Flight Simulator series is possibly going to close shop because of cutbacks at Microsoft. I guess it's not official yet, but it doesn't look good for Microsoft's gaming future. We may be using the last flight simulator made by Microsoft. I myself do not feel very comfortable with this news if it's true. But life goes on, and if the future of FSX is the same as what FS2004 is continuing to be, we may still see a long life for FSX as well as FS2004.

Scott

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That's really stunning. After all, I had already some concerns a since a while for two reasons. One was the exploitation of the sim platform in the commercial field as "ESP". Frequently, such a maneuvre is a symptom that something's wrong with your core business. The other one was the awful bunch of bugs, still sitting in the sim even after SP2. The effort to sort it out could have been considered too much to expect a profitable continuity. Financial crisis has accelerated the decisions.

After all, I could imagine that it even motivates freeware devlopers, at least, for which the at last unpredictable development strategy of ACES repeatedly resulted in severe setbacks, as we all know. Their contribution will yield in most of progress we could hope for.

For the commercial add-on makers the situation appears somewhat different. Yet I think for the next two years there will not be much change, but after that a clear outlook is needed. Otherwise their journey continues on a sinking ship, since the number of new users will constantly shrink, and, eventually, incompatibility with current OS platforms will put the thing to an end. So they will look for alternatives (e.g. X-plane) and priority for FS addon development will decrease.

Cheers,

Peter

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hey Scott - your post was the first alert I noticed of the FS team getting laid off, and at first thought the various web gossip was exaggerated but, no, Micro$ has confirmed Aces is being shut down and one employee (engauged) reports in her blog that FS11 is on hold 'indefinitely'. Of course it's up to the firm to decide what businesses to invest in but it was still a personal shock to find the platform I've been programming to has had the rug pulled from under it.

I think this is another aspect of the financial crisis affecting our lives in unexpected ways. Just when we'd got soaring in FS fairly well sorted...

We can let this drama settle down and think about what's next for virtual soaring. I'm optimistic that the 3rd-party developers will move on to another platform so we'll have the quality of global scenery available in FSX, be able to program an effective soaring simulation, and maybe have improvements in other areas like multi-player. I hope the market doesn't become too fragmented.

Ian

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Hey Pals,

call me an ignorant, but I won't worry too much about that.

Why? Hmm.... here's my Top 6:

1st

There has always[TM] been a M$ FS

2nd

Better times will come... don't exactly know when, but they surely will. Just relax a bit. :winks:

3rd

How old is this MSFS 9er now? Haven't there still new addons beeing released lately (e.g. Active Sky Advaced)?

4th

On how many computers is FSX running at full max settings now?

5th

Have you been to all interesting soaring sites in FSX? I haven't and I'm sure there's plenty of hours of fun left for my FSX.

6th

Hey, those ACES people have been fired, they did not exactly die.

Just my xx Cents.

Cheers,

Dirk.

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Read the other day, that there is still hope for the Flight Simulator series. I think I've read at least two places that suggests that Microsoft Flight Simulator will always be around. But more info will come after things die down.

Scott

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I finially got to the web site.

All I can say about all this is that Bill Gates and Microsoft are renown for their arrogance. This horrible mental condition always leads to stupidity. Microsoft's latest move to totally eliminate Aces I think is a classic example of the relationship between arrogance and stupidity. Gates and Microsoft are equally renown for their greed. When you have a situation where both of these detrimental behaviors exists, the results will seldom be productive.

Don

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Not to put a too fine point on it . . . but Mr Gates has "officially" left Microsoft.

These days, Mr Ballmer is responsible for everything MS.

Just to correct a misunderstanding - ACES hasn't been shut down, they "only" sacked all but 6 devs.

They can't just shut it down, there are subscribers to ESP.

An MS spokesman said:

You should expect us to continue to invest in enabling great LIVE experiences on Windows, including flying games.

Sounds a bit vague . . . I for one couldn't care less for their LIVE experiences.

But there's something going on - I've got an update for ESP this morning.

Here's my 2 cents:

Vista sales stayed far below expectations, so the looks of older programs weren't a major concern.

But now Windows 7 is about to be released, and MS will push it with all they've got.

I'm running it since pre Alpha state, and today, it's what Vista should have been in the first place.

It's fast and responsive, all bells and whistles turned on - even on a P4 with 1G RAM

People will accept it, and that's where the Flightsim cookie crumbles.

I don't know how many of you still run XP, but let me tell you that FSX and Windows 7 don't mix.

As soon as you start FSX, the whole system switches into legacy mode, which looks weird and reduces performance a lot.

My guess is, there will be a complete rewrite.

With ESP - with DirectX 11 - and whatnot.

It may not be any better than FSX, but look at this shiny interface . .

Needless to say, you'll need a pretty hefty rig to run it.

Everybody wins, but the customer - sounds familiar, huh ?

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Yes, since Vista there's an utility called bcdedit, which makes editing the boot menu very easy.

The catch is that a freshly installed Microsoft OS overwrites the old boot sector, so you must install Windows 7 after XP.

You can also use the Grub bootloader if you have a Unix/Linux Partition on your Box.

My favorite is called GAG , coded in pure assembler.

You just copy it onto a diskette, boot from it, mark your OSes and select: "Write to HDD"

Works fine for me with FreeBSD / AIX / Solaris / XP / Win7.

It can even hide partitions and swap drive letters, if someone wants to install DOS or OS2.

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Okay, next question.

I have a Dell computer which is under warranty. Dell does not support partitioned hard drives. If I partitioned it I would loose my warranty. Will it be possible to install Windows XP on one hard drive, and Windows 7 on another physical hard drive?

Don

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It is your computer, you paid for it.

You can do with it whatever you like, as long as you don't apply physical force.

What if you want Unix/Linux, or any other OS ?

Dells no-format policies are as void as it gets.

And yes, OSes can be installed on different physical HDDs.

We don't even need a bootmanager in that case.

A modern BIOS let's you decide which HDD to boot from, if you press a certain key.

(Mostly F2)

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WOW Ravna, it sounds like you know a lot about computers. Is it possible for you to field most questions about computer upgrades/modifications in one form or another?

One question I might have, since I haven't looked into dual booting (only virtualPC or equivalent), is If I have my old hard drive that ran WindowsXP installed as a secondary hard drive on my Vista system, would I have to reinstall WindowsXP in order to run it from that hard drive?

I imagine I'm going to have problems since it's now a different drive letter. Would GAG help with that, and can it change all the programs configurations as well, or would I have to reinstall all the programs? Hope this isn't too many questions.

Scott

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You don't have to re-install anything, if your OSes are on different drives.

You can tell the bootmanager where each OS resides, or boot from the Bios.

The install order is only relevant if you want XP and Vista/Win7 on the same drive, AND use the Windows bootloader.

MS OSes overwrite the bootsector, and the Vista/Win7 bootmanager can start XP, but not vice versa.

The reason for this is that MS added another ntloader file format

In earlier times, Windows had a file called boot.ini, which was a simple text file, that could easily be edited.

Now it's a binary, that can only be manipulated with bcdedit.com.

Since earlier versions of Windows can't know anything about it, the newest OS has to be installed last.

However, if you use GAG or Grub this isn't a problem.

Install anything in any order/partition, and let the BM take care of it.

The only thing to remember is that Windows always wants to be the first OS on the first HDD.

It doesn't have to be there, we can lie to it.

With Gag, you just select the "swap drive letters" option for an MS OS on drive 2.

For Grub, you have to edit grub.conf, but I don't think anyone here will use it.

Anyway,

this isn't something we should worry about right now.

FS might be rewritten, and folks might want to upgrade to Windows 7, but not this year.

As soon as there's FSXL, or whatever, we'll have a deeper look.

About your first question:

I got my first box 6 years before a certain Mr Gates released something called DOS.

Back in the "old days", you just had to know how everything works.

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Thanks Ravna for the info. I downloaded GAG the other day and started reading through the instructions. I may have another problem though, I've got info on both harddrives that I like to get to in an instant. With what I've read, the drive that has the operating system not in use may be invisible. I'm not sure how to get around that, other than copy that info to the other harddrive in return using more harddrive disk space which currently is not a problem but unwilling to do maybe. Also, the uninstall gives me chills if using floppy/cdrom boot. Will I have the same machine after uninstall if uninstalled?

I really want this to work for me, but am still kinda leary of any complications that may come along. My 2yrold son has a nasty habit of starting the computer on his own because of the blue lighted shiny button. I've fixed it so he cannot turn it back off so far, but he's getting smarter.

Scott

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All drives will be read-/writable no matter which disk you boot from.

GAG just switches the drive letters.

The disk you boot from will always be called "C:"

Drive letters for removable storage devices stay the same.

Any bootmanager overwrites your boot sector.

If you uninstall it, you can't boot the disk, it was installed on, anymore.

But this can easily be fixed.

For XP:

Restart the computer with the Windows setup disk.

Wait for the screen, where you can press "R" to start the recovery console.

The console will list all your Windows installatons and prompt you to enter a number,

corresponding to the Windows installation that you need to repair

It will prompt you for the administrator password, simply press Enter if you haven't set one.

Then type these commands and press Enter after each one:

fixmbr

fixboot

Remove the disk and reboot.

For Vista:

Restart the computer with the Vista DVD.

A GUI will come up.

Enter language and keyboard settings.

On the next screen, select: "Repair your computer."

From the System Recovery Options dialog, select the "Operating System" you want to repair.

From the "Choose a Recovery Tool" dialog menu, select "Command Prompt":

Inside the command prompt type these commands and press Enter after each one:

bootrec.exe /fixmbr

bootrec.exe /fixboot

Remove disk and reboot.

About the shiny blue lights:

Right click on your desktop and select "properties"

Click the "Screen Saver" tab.

Click on the button named "Power"

Click on the "Advanced" Tab.

There's a line that says: "When I press the power button on my computer"

Select: "Do nothing"

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