Bad news about the Hawk
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Thread: Bad news about the Hawk

  1. #1

    Bad news about the Hawk

    This is a shame. I really like the DCS World Hawk:



    DCS: BAE Hawk Update

    We regret to inform you that VEAO is no longer a developer for DCS World. As such, they have also ceased support of their Hawk. Although we offered to support their product, they declined making the files available to do so.
    Given this unfortunate situation, we will fully refund all Hawk customers that purchased the module starting from 1 October 2018. If you wish a full refund, please enter a support request here.
    For those that purchased the Hawk prior to 1 October 2018, will continue to make DCS World 2.5.3 available, such that you can still fly the Hawk.
    To avoid such issues in the future, all future 3rd party agreements are now required to make the game files available in case they are no longer able to support their product.
    "Try to stay in the middle of the air. Do not go near the edges of it. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there".

  2. #2
    Seriously disappointed by this, as I'm not one of the people who qualify for a refund and frankly I can't imagine many people are going to have two separate versions of DCS on their computers. I would have thought DCS would have policed their developers better than this.
    The whole Hawk fiasco has been one of excuses and broken promises, and has been going on for four years. It will certainly make me think twice about early access products in the future


    Ian

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by IanHenry View Post
    Seriously disappointed by this, as I'm not one of the people who qualify for a refund and frankly I can't imagine many people are going to have two separate versions of DCS on their computers. I would have thought DCS would have policed their developers better than this.
    The whole Hawk fiasco has been one of excuses and broken promises, and has been going on for four years. It will certainly make me think twice about early access products in the future


    Ian

    That is a pretty lofty expectation. We certainly don't see anywhere near DCS level of accountability for add-on developers in any other simulator. It appears as though DCS has learned from the experience, and are taking appropriate measures in the future (i.e. requiring developers to supply source files). After nearly 20 flight sim projects in the MSFS/P3D world, I can tell you that is an unprecedented step. Source files contain actual Intellectual Property that goes far beyond piracy, because it actually identifies how to simulate complex physical systems. It takes absolute trust between two parties to share, and I can promise that new developers will be hesitant to join DCS as a result. If DCS is willing to potentially hurt their own business to protect their customers, that is quite admirable.

    Also, this may not be the most popular perspective, but I view 'early-access' as synonymous with 'make an investment' where one typically trades cost of final purchase with risk of receiving final product. As with all investments, there is a chance of failure that can either be total/abandonware (i.e. Hawk) or partial (e.g. product does not live up to promised quality).

    Flight simulation lives in a very precarious world. With the increasing interest in 'accuracy' (i.e. system depth), there is an increased demand for high quality code writing. However, the pay is no where near satisfactory for the code developer. On a good project, I made 25% of my real world (professional) consulting rate. This means good code writers take one of three forms; (a) they are students with extra time who are looking to polish their skills, (b) they are professionals who have a passion for flight and are willing to sacrifice personal and family time, or (c) they are a talented professional from a city or country with a lower cost of living and can think about flight sim as a day job. For case (c) to be successful, there has to be a grace period of 1-3 years to develop the needed code and for the product to hit the market. So it takes talent, luck, and preparation for success. Time and again in cases (a) and (b), individuals are worn out by the flight sim industry and eventually punch out either in good or bad standing (depending on personal code of ethics and real world demands). Not just hoping, but expecting a different outcome is like expecting all new developers to successfully ice skate uphill.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnC View Post
    That is a pretty lofty expectation. We certainly don't see anywhere near DCS level of accountability for add-on developers in any other simulator. It appears as though DCS has learned from the experience, and are taking appropriate measures in the future (i.e. requiring developers to supply source files). After nearly 20 flight sim projects in the MSFS/P3D world, I can tell you that is an unprecedented step. Source files contain actual Intellectual Property that goes far beyond piracy, because it actually identifies how to simulate complex physical systems. It takes absolute trust between two parties to share, and I can promise that new developers will be hesitant to join DCS as a result. If DCS is willing to potentially hurt their own business to protect their customers, that is quite admirable.

    Also, this may not be the most popular perspective, but I view 'early-access' as synonymous with 'make an investment' where one typically trades cost of final purchase with risk of receiving final product. As with all investments, there is a chance of failure that can either be total/abandonware (i.e. Hawk) or partial (e.g. product does not live up to promised quality).

    Flight simulation lives in a very precarious world. With the increasing interest in 'accuracy' (i.e. system depth), there is an increased demand for high quality code writing. However, the pay is no where near satisfactory for the code developer. On a good project, I made 25% of my real world (professional) consulting rate. This means good code writers take one of three forms; (a) they are students with extra time who are looking to polish their skills, (b) they are professionals who have a passion for flight and are willing to sacrifice personal and family time, or (c) they are a talented professional from a city or country with a lower cost of living and can think about flight sim as a day job. For case (c) to be successful, there has to be a grace period of 1-3 years to develop the needed code and for the product to hit the market. So it takes talent, luck, and preparation for success. Time and again in cases (a) and (b), individuals are worn out by the flight sim industry and eventually punch out either in good or bad standing (depending on personal code of ethics and real world demands). Not just hoping, but expecting a different outcome is like expecting all new developers to successfully ice skate uphill.
    Oh, that makes it alright then!
    I'm so glad that you cleared up the difference between an investor and a retail customer who purchases a product in good faith. I'm also grateful for you explaining to me that flight sim developers aren't a business at all but a charity.
    I feel so much more enlightened now.


    Regards,
    Ian


    Ian

  5. #5
    However unfortunate the fate of the Hawk – I bought it too - I agree with JohnC. Given the risks and perils of sim development as he describes them, and I have no doubt they are real, buying early access software is indeed an investment to which risk is attached. I made a few bad investments myself, but accept the risks, although I had never contemplated the possibility of actually not being able to use software anymore after the developer goes out of business. But ED found probably the best way to deal with this: keeping an older version of DCS available.
    I don’t think anyone would describe YEAO’s behavior as ‘all right’, quitting with the Hawk after so many years and not even bringing the P-40 to life. But to me the risks of buying early access software instead of waiting for the release version are clear and acceptable.

  6. #6
    I actually have 3 versions of DCS World active right now, 1.5, 2.5 Beta and 2.5 release. I have had 3 versions running for quite a while now. I had 1.5 beta and release along with 2.0 Alpha for quite a while. When I set up my new PC in the coming weeks I will most likely download 1.5 which is still available and 2.5 release.

    As with other flight sims (FSX, P3D) there are advantages to having different versions installed.
    "Try to stay in the middle of the air. Do not go near the edges of it. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there".

  7. #7
    Buyer Beware... do not EVER buy into early access and you can't get burned... problem solved.
    If you feel the risks acceptable, go ahead but you've forfeited your right to complain if things don't pan out...

    There have been enough projects in recent years, not just flight sim related but gaming in general, that everyone should have learned the above lesson by now.
    "Thou shalt maintain thine airspeed lest the ground shalt rise up and smite thee"

  8. #8
    Let Me Start by saying my statement is not directed towards anyone in particular. SOH is a Non-Development Company related forum and as such we should each be able to express our opinions about Flight Sim Products respectfully.

    I bought The Hawk,Not at full price but on sale as it wasn't really a "must have" aircraft I was interested in.I flew it a handful of times as it really didn't measure up to the other DCS Modules that I enjoy.I actually haven't even kept up with it's updates in months.

    When I heard The News of VEAO leaving DCS as a Developer I was somewhat relieved,I knew the situation between the companies had turned to a rancid state.The DCS Forums had reached a boiling point and it became sad to watch.

    I've bought software for FSX/P3D and XPlane that also didn't meet my expectations and just took it as a loss,Buyer Beware,I wouldn't buy anything from these companies again.Burned once,Never twice.

    VEAO is not the only developer that has had fundamental business disagreements with DCS,"Vertical Reality Simulations" "MilViz" are of a few that I know of that looked into DCS development and after weighing the pros and cons declined,And to be honest,I really can't blame them.

    As a Flight Sim Enthusiast I Love DCS,The feeling of Flight,The Amazing VR Support and the constant updates that the sim gets on a regular basis.But these regular Sim updates that pretty much happen every Wednesday also break existing products that have been already coded and tested for many hrs!!!

    How as a Developer can budget that into your products price?? It's possible every week,You could have three,four products that break...The Community goes up in arms because they've bought a product that doesn't work....You have to go back and fix it quick or risk a PR Nightmare!!! I mean....Who wants to deal with that garbage??

    I really feel DCS is cutting their own throat in inviting 3rd Party developers to the table,I don't see an upside for them here.

    Patrick

  9. #9
    I can't actually recall if the Hawk was sold as "early access" but it certainly was never finished but this is a normal situation with DCS products, for example the Hornet & Harrier are both "work in progress". I have bought many modules from DCS and have been very happy with them, but as you may have gathered, I am pretty disappointed that the Hawk is not up to the normal standard, but I can live with that, my biggest problem is with no longer being able to use a module that I've paid for the use of (unless I keep multiple non compatible, if you want to use it online versions of DCS on my computer). There needs to be an element of trust between retailer and consumer and this has been eroded to some degree due to this.
    On the subject of early access, I don't regard that as an "investment" merely supporting the aforementioned hard pressed developers, it gives them an early pay day, the saving for the customer isn't really significant enough to be worthy of mention. A piece of flight simulation is not an investment, it's a toy and your paying for the use of it (or not in this case).
    I was thinking of buying into the Heatblur Tomcat but is that a very expensive gamble? Only time will tell.


    Ian

  10. #10
    The Tomcat seems so close to release that I think it is not a gamble. But you never know...

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom88 View Post
    Let Me Start by saying my statement is not directed towards anyone in particular.
    Well put commentary. There are some very successful developers that have decided to stay away from DCS. They are successful because they are smart about their work. If they do not want to do DCS, it is because they are making a business decision that affects their children and employees. So be it and more power to them.

    PS I'm a sometimes DCS user. Glad to see them broadening their horizons with civilian aircraft. Otherwise they are a fancy Falcon 4. Their civilian areas, like Nevada, are totally unrealistic to fly in because of the navaids and ATC. Even if you are a military pilot in this region.

  12. #12
    Some good points, really well stated by Phantom88. To provide a bit more clarity, the notion of early access in software development shares a striking resemblance to the definition of an angel investor. As with everything, many definitions can be found online, and here is a decent one: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/angelinvestor.asp

    Angel investors provide more favorable terms compared to other lenders, since they usually invest in the entrepreneur starting the business rather than the viability of the business. Angel investors are focused on helping startups take their first steps, rather than the possible profit they may get from the business. Essentially, angel investors are the opposite of venture capitalists.

    Angel investors are also called informal investors, angel funders, private investors, seed investors or business angels. These are affluent individuals who inject capital for startups in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt. Some angel investors invest through crowdfunding platforms online or build angel investor networks to pool in capital.

    The point is, if you view early access as a developer organized crowd-funding effort in which the recipient owes you a final product (i.e. convertible debt), then there is an incentive to research and an ownership over the decision (to purchase) that alleviates grief and reduces toxic forum banter. It is important to remember that at the end of the day, each flight sim product has a core development team that is typically smaller than the number of fingers on your hand. Forum interactions have direct consequences on productivity, and unlike huge development houses with deep pockets and real salaries (e.g. EA Games), individual developers -especially systems developers- are not replaceable (i.e. "F**k I quit" from an individual can sink an entire project).

    On the Hawk, while DCS was the vendor, the developer was VEAO (i.e. who?) which means risk is at a maximum. For the F-14, the developer is Heatblur Simulations (formerly Leatherneck Simulations, which has also split into Magnitude 3, LLC). Together they have made the MiG-21 and AJS-37. So, a very talented team with a storied background. It would maybe be medium risk with the groups splitting, but HeatBlur's dedication to the AJS-37 has been great even while developing the F-14 (check the DCS update logs), so probably low risk since they have not dropped a project and have overcome inner turmoil.

  13. #13
    I have a number of DCS addons and have been very satisfied with them overall and to be honest, I think that even the modules that have been in early access still outshine most if not all current/past FSX/P3D models (in Fighter format) on many levels. I never bought the Hawk mainly because I had heard too many complaints about it from end users that it was lacking in overall quality and didn't seem to be moving forward as development of other modules have. Yeah, I agree that buying into early access carries some significant risk but I also believe that if done right it is perfectly fine. By that I mean that the developer should at least complete the model to a reasonable usable state that involves systems and a finished 3D model and textures. I am very pleased with my F/A-18, AV-8B, and Viggen in early access and it looks like the F-14 at or above the same level. I haven't invested in the F-14 yet because I am still learning to use the Hornet, Harrier, and Viggen which is a time consuming task itself.

    I hate that the Hawk has reached this end and yes, it is a lesson for all involved but I agree with the powers that be over at DCS to take a path that protects the customers as well as their brand platform. Personally, I think that DCS should modify the refund policy on this particular matter to allow users to select another model in lieu of the Hawk. That IMO would be very fair.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by StormILM View Post
    Personally, I think that DCS should modify the refund policy on this particular matter to allow users to select another model in lieu of the Hawk. That IMO would be very fair.
    Completely agreed with that

  15. #15
    Yes, I also agree with storm, that would be a reasonable solution to the problem.


    Ian

  16. #16
    EA or release version, tt doesn't matter. If the devloper stops updating their plane to the new DCS updates, the release version will also not be working anymore with a new DCS update. But ED has changed their policy so that every DCS developer has to hand over the code to ED (I guess only when the developers don't want to update their planes themselves?) so that ED can update the plane with every new DCS version. But with this a whole new problem arises in regards to intellectual property rights. But this is something only the 3. party developers have to negotiate with ED. For the customers it looks like a way in the right direction.

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