Monday, November 21, 2005

Sharing the passion - convincingly?

A very good post by Brian Hunt, AKA Habibi, describes how his colleague, Mike Singer (who needs a blog of his own, IMHO) takes someone from absolutely no knowledge of MS FS to an interest level enough to want to keep flying within the sim.

I have to admit, as a developer for enhancement aircraft add-ons, the simulator is a very familiar environment and is not intimidating at all. I have used MS FS almost every day since the FS 98 days. That's a long time to have experience with a quite consistent GUI. Bringing new "blood" to the helm of MS FS can be quite overwhelming - there are an awful lot of things that can be done within MS FS - the possibilities at times seem endless. I know that - alone - the MANY different keystrokes that can be used in MS FS are enough to scare away the most timid individual. That's why I was glad to see MS put the keystroke shortcuts on the F10 - kneeboard. That way, users have access to those keystrokes while the sim is running (even I, at times, have to be reminded of a few rarely used ones).

Something else that can be quite intimidating is the whole "sand box" environment to MS FS. Aside from the lessons and the few adventure flights included, MS FS is pretty much a "make your own fun" kind of environment. I hope that future versions will give a bit more structure and purpose to those who want that sort of thing. Some people just aren't creative enough to take an aircraft up and, for example, shoot a VOR approach into runway 27 at KGRD or file an IFR flight plan. Or not so much having the creativity behind it - some people just aren't aware of such things related to aviation. Many only get exposure to aviation at airshows, expo's, or air races. Breaking people over into the wonderful world of MS FS can be a challenge - I hope we are prepared to do it convincingly!

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