Event Scenery
« on: September 23, 2009, 11:38:21 am »
I am quite frustrated with the amount of people that don't download the event scenery.  Last night at our KDAB-KTPA RC, was the worst I've ever seen it.  I had about 15 strips in a 2 hour time period in which only about 4 or 5 of those pilots had the scenery.  I kindly asked them over the comms if they had it and I was surprised to learn that many of the pilots had no idea that we released free scenery updates for our events.

In an effort to keep me from making this a complaning post, how can we make sure all of our members know about our event scenery and how can we convince people that it is rediculously easy and quick to do so that they actually download it and use it!  Maybe be stern about how important it is to the smooth flow of operations and to the reality factor fo reveryone.  maybe even make it a requirement?  When somebody doesn't have it, it detracts hugely from my fun and is incredibly frustrating and I know many many people feel the same way.  Pilots included.
Erich [email protected]  BVATC Scenery Design and Test Team "

Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2009, 12:19:48 pm »
This is very similiar to a post I made a few weeks back|  Event Scenery & Immersion Factor
The driver behind that post was the same as yours.  I experienced a high level of pilots not havaing the updated scenery during the pack the pattern event at O'Hare.  It was very difficult to try to keep the Professional immersion factor for everyone on frequency when the obvious issues were FSX simulator new scenery confusion related.  The people most effected are the ATC postions trying to maintain professional order.  I assume for most others on frequency its a loss of the immersion into reality.

  Those type of comms do nothing but detract from the immersion into reality.
I asked the same question on how can we can get everyone to dnload a new scenery update everyweek for our signature event?

The answer is we will never get 100% doing it.  The hope is that a majority will get it thereby reducing that loss of immersion effect.
 
Options:
1.) Enforcement
Making it mandatory through some software application or by policing it.  Not allowing members to fly by removing them and or not allowing them in session until they get it.  The more requirements you have the more issues you have like this and that drives down membership.

2.) Remove the issue by not creating new scenery updates.  Not popular because while everyone in session would be on the exact same page, current charting available online could be out of date with whats in FSX. (We did however run events for 2 years without scenery updates and we did not have this issue......I'm just saying....)

3.) Leave it as is Keep depending on communcations and requests for all members to update every week. Then in parallel have plans in place to handle confusion in the air. Politely screen pilots at the gates reminding them of the updated scenery. etc... much like we do now.

-Loctiter

Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2009, 01:00:28 pm »
I suggest having a special frequency to join at start of session... while getting into FlightDESK. Let's say 133.95 Mhz.

This "HelpDesk" could serve as a mandatory entry point and be held by one of our controllers or "volunteer". While on this frequency the staff personnel could check the "ride" with the pilot and verify the "equipment". It could also serve as a welcome door... saying "Good evening, can I help you?".

"N1234W this is BVATC HelpDesk... do you have : your airport diagrams, plates for departure, arrival, your IFR approach plates, a sectional or en route charts... and the actual FREE DOWNLOADABLE scenery...???

" ... if not then the pilot is politely informed, helped through getting his flying tools... can join the session in progress... or be offered to come back later with his "Flight bag" full of the goodies... holding his reserved place in the session.

This frequency could also serve as an information booth... recieve questions from members... and dampening some communication fears... even become a frequency to ask questions in flight without disturbing the ATC personnel.
Gilles | CYUL | PRP Coach | Founder of the "TANGO SQUADRON" - BVA member since July 31st 2008


Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2009, 02:14:29 pm »
Obviously, people are just logging in and not checking the forums or the homepage/event page.  Maybe if on the server info page (which they have to check) there were a reminder that they must install the scenery to participate (with a link), then more people would do so.  Other than that, I do not see how it could be made mandatory (unless you start kicking those with the issues or have some sort of software that does it automatically).

I'm not sure how a separate frequency would help that unless ATC tells those folks to change frequency so ATC could come "out of character" and warn the offending pilot to install the scenery.

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Evan Reiter

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Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2009, 02:48:02 pm »
Quote from: "biggems1"
I am quite frustrated with the amount of people that don't download the event scenery.  Last night at our KDAB-KTPA RC, was the worst I've ever seen it.  I had about 15 strips in a 2 hour time period in which only about 4 or 5 of those pilots had the scenery.  I kindly asked them over the comms if they had it and I was surprised to learn that many of the pilots had no idea that we released free scenery updates for our events.
Last night's Regional Circuit event is a very bad sample to take because of the timing of the post. Generally, the aim is to have "Event Scenery" updates available for members to download at least 5 days before the date of an event. However, I hadn't been doing a good enough job of keeping Dan and the team informed about upcoming events and, as a result, the enhancement wasn't released early enough.

The result of this was that I woke up in the morning, looked at the page, and didn't see an update. You're talking posting an update less than 12 hours before an event and expecting everyone at the event to have that update? That's asking a LOT of people, especially if you're considering that they should make a habit of checking the page immediately before an event. What about someone who starts a flight in the morning? Does this mean they'd have to exit FSX to install the update?

Quote from: "biggems1"
How can we make sure all of our members know about our event scenery
I don't think there's much more than we can do right now, beyond mandating the updates and kicking people that don't have them from the session (which, as we've discussed, will almost certainly have a negative impact on members' experiences). At the moment, we have the following advertisements/notices:
  • A dedicated page of the website
  • Several forum threads/posts
  • A banner on each and every event page that informs users when event scenery updates are available (only viewable if an update is actually posted, so this banner was turned off for this week's Rc, and is currently off because updates don't apply for JFK/BOS)
  • A banner on the "BVATC Events" page
  • A statement about the event scenery as a major requirement flying online with BVA in the New Pilot Center
  • A link to the Event Scenery page from the "Downloads" page
  • A message in FSX's chat box every time there is scenery available at the beginning of any event
We have also:
  • Mentioned Event Scenery in three Logan Informers
  • Advertised the page in FlightDesk and on the home page of the website
I honestly don't think there's much more that can be done from a marketing perspective. All we can do is make this information (and the updates) as available and accessible as possible. Beyond that, it's up to individuals to download and enjoy the enhancements, unless we decide to start enforcing sanctions on people who choose not to. If updates aren't available online until a few hours before an event (again, this was an exception, not the norm, and was pretty much my fault), it's going to reduce the amount of members who have the update. Something else to consider from last night's event specifically was that we saw a lot of new members (flying online with BVA for the first time). As we all know, there are a number of downloads people need when they're first starting out.

In general, consider that it takes a fair bit of effort on the part of regular members to actually get these updates (of course, that's considerably less effort than it takes for the team to actually create them). We know that it takes 30 seconds to download and install an update. But you need to remember to check the page every single week (and, this week, if you checked it anytime before the afternoon before the event, you would have assumed there would be no update!). Then you have to remember to download and install the update with FSX closed (or subsequently restart FSX). This is a consistent effort that has to be applied every week for a simple hobby... and that's on top of all the other things that you have to remember in your daily life. A reminder would be a good idea--something that tells users when an update is posted. Unfortunately, we don't have that capability on the website.

The best solution to ensuring everyone has the updates is something that I've been asking Sam (sjom13) for, an automatic scenery updater. If designed right, all a user would need to do is download the program ONCE, and subsequent scenery add-ons could be installed automatically. I'm not sure what the progress on the program is (I'm sure Sam will be happy to update us). It appears Sam has made AQL a priority over this updater, but I hope that we can get something like that out in the future, because I'm sure we can all agree that would be a very valuable asset to have that would also AUTOMATICALLY ensure everyone has the appropriate updates.

Quote from: "airtangofive"
I suggest having a special frequency to join at start of session... while getting into FlightDESK. Let's say 133.95 Mhz.
I'm not so sure this would work. For starters, it takes a consistent effort to get 8-9 controllers present for a three-hour event every Tuesday. You're talking about adding another position on to this that would have to be online for three (or more hours). How would you handle 20 people asking the same question at once (consider that most people join the session in a giant wave near the beginning of the event)? Who would be responsible for this...would they want to give up a night of flying to be BVA's official greeter?

At the moment, we have a chat feature available through FlightDesk as well as FSX's chat box (in which I post messages every single event about ensuring the scenery has been downloaded). This chat feature is effective because it allows members to fly AND take on a bit of a leadership/greeter role.

David also brings up a good point:
Quote
I'm not sure how a separate frequency would help that unless ATC tells those folks to change frequency so ATC could come "out of character" and warn the offending pilot to install the scenery.
Something that might be effective (this is also quite possible) would be to broadcast a repeating message through the session's briefing room that informs pilots that airport scenery is available. For example, when you first login to FSX and are setting up your aircraft, you receive an audible message: "Updated scenery for the Daytona Beach Airport is available from the "Event Scenery" page of BVA's website| please download this scenery before flying tonight!"

I really do think we're talking about an exception, not the general rule, and that we should spend our efforts analyzing the number of members who have downloaded an update when the update is released with a greater lead time.


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator

Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2009, 03:23:18 pm »
I think what Sam is working on sounds great!  It could just be included with the other downloads for new members.

I agree with you that this is a difficult situation and I wouldn't want to make it mandatory either.  As Loctiter said, the more rules you have, the less fun it is and I totally agree with that.  I was just curious if anybody out there had any ideas.

Airtangofive's suggestion for another frequency somewhat peaked my interest.  Although I have a slightly different idea for it.  We could make it an FSS.  Pilots could use it to file flight plans, get weather reports, etc. and the FSS controller could make sure the pilot is ready to go with all the tools he'll need.
Erich [email protected]  BVATC Scenery Design and Test Team "

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Evan Reiter

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Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2009, 04:38:23 pm »
Quote from: "biggems1"
Airtangofive's suggestion for another frequency somewhat peaked my interest.  Although I have a slightly different idea for it.  We could make it an FSS.  Pilots could use it to file flight plans, get weather reports, etc. and the FSS controller could make sure the pilot is ready to go with all the tools he'll need.
Again, I'm still not sure how this would work. I don't have much experience listening to an FSS, but I can tell you that such a frequency would be pretty much useless for filing flight plans because of FSX's communications (imagine trying to file a flight plan from Boston to LAX over FSX's comms... unless you're really listening carefully and ready to write, it's going to be a challenge!). That leaves the idea of weather, which is already given to pilots through the ATIS. Flight planning, weather, and uncontrolled (VFR) flight plan updates are essentially the services of a Flight Service Station, and I don't know that any really apply to BVA pilots. If someone is willing to do some research and write up a SOP (standard operating procedures guide) for the Flight Services Station position, and we have a surplus of controllers (that is, we have 9 controllers for an event already), we could always open up an additional position.

What you're both talking about (I think) is essentially an instructor -- someone who asks a new member whether or not s/he has the necessary tools that are necessary. But what happens if someone doesn't contact the instructor? What happens if they are TOLD they are missing scenery, but they don't get it? These resources are already available, but if people aren't willing to use them, then I don't think it will make a world of difference. That's why I like having another looping frequency--another automated reminder about something that needs to be done (but, of course, that doesn't address the root cause either).

In my opinion, the best option is to bundle some Event Scenery Updates software with FlightDesk. Members download the required software and their scenery files are automatically updated: no interaction required. I'm not sure how far off this program is, though I do understand Sam (sjom13) is working on it.


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator

Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2009, 05:47:08 pm »
Quote from: "evanet"
In my opinion, the best option is to bundle some Event Scenery Updates software with FlightDesk. Members download the required software and their scenery files are automatically updated: no interaction required. I'm not sure how far off this program is, though I do understand Sam (sjom13) is working on it.

I agree.  I guess we'll just wait in anticipation for that day!
Erich [email protected]  BVATC Scenery Design and Test Team "

Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2009, 07:26:07 pm »
I see an issue down the road. Its my understanding that a previously installed scenery update must be uninstalled before a new updated update is installed. I do not know what scenery updates I have or have not installed. I mean I have a very vague idea of what was installed recently. I'm concerned that if I install an update I may crash FSX or something and a reinstall of FSX might be required. I will say I use my discretion to decide when and if I will install an update and don't feel I am required to do so on a weekly basis. There are risks involved and sometimes the update is not worth the risk. When FSX depicted Seattle with two runways when in actuality there are three I installed the update because it was worth it. For me personally having updated taxi signs and different parking spaces etc at an airport that I will visit once or twice in a year really isn't worth the effort, or the risk. If the runways are all there and the frequencies work then I'm happy. I really appreciate the hard work that goes into these scenery updates. I just think maybe you guys go a little overboard.
Just my prospective on things. The Anchorage update and the Chicago update definitely needed. The rest of recent updates I'm not 100% sold On.

P.S. Any update that corrects airspace navigational information like fixes frequencies etc is definitely important.

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Evan Reiter

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Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2009, 08:53:30 pm »
Quote from: "leadbottom1"
I see an issue down the road. Its my understanding that a previously installed scenery update must be uninstalled before a new updated update is installed. I do not know what scenery updates I have or have not installed.
Fortunately, there's a very easy way to check which updates you have installed and which you don't. Just go into the associated directory (for BVA's event scenery enhancements, you're looking for: C:Program FilesMicrosoft GamesMicrosoft Flight Simulator XAddon Sceneryscenery). All of the files will be listed there, with the format BVA_xxxx_ADE.bgl (where the "xxxx" will be an airport code). If you have the airport code listed, the update is installed.

In general, installing two updates will not cause FS to crash. However, if both updates have specific features (like taxiway signs), you might see some duplicate objects or visual artifacts. My understand is that this shouldn't cause any issues with FSX.

Something I like to do is keep a backup of the files I regularly update (I have one general backup, and then regularly copy over my "Airplanes" folder and "Addon Scenery" folder). If something does go wrong after you've installed an update, all you need to do is restore the backup. Keeping a second copy of your "textures" folder is probably not a bad idea either.


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator

Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2009, 10:53:00 pm »
A correction to Mr. Evan's fire naming scheme. The Scenery Team (Stacey and myself included) has and continues to use now the following format:

ADE_xxxx_BVA.bgl

Where xxxx is the ICAO airport identifier.
leadbottom1, installing a duplicate version of the scenery update will not crash FSX, or I have at least never heard of an instance where FSX has crashed due to such a mistake. You WOULD however, notice on occasion double taxisigns, double taxiways and sometimes double buildings when this occurs, and it is very apparent. Evan is correct tho, checking the naming of the files in your scenery folder is a quick way to scan for an update you may already have installed. Furthermore, as airports are updated in the Event Scenery section, their old upload will be withdrawn, and a new one posted in its place. So simply check the event scenery page to see if a new version has been posted. If not, an update of your scenery will not be needed.

I just want to be clear that the majority of our edits (90%) involve taxisign naming changes, and adding additional/required parking to an airport. Other large scale improvements we process are additional aprons, added runways, and deleted/moved/closed taxiways. On major airports where deemed necessary, approaches are sometimes edited to more closely reflect the real world, and these approaches are accessible by using the FSX GPS. We update such approaches when we find FSX uses default airspace fixes, instead of real life ones.

If it will help, I will remember down the road to post all/the large majority of updates we have processed for each scenery we distribute, so you can see what changes have occurred at a glance. Let me know if this would be helpful.
Dan | [email protected]

Private Pilot - ASEL
KHVN - Tweed-New Haven/KOXC - Waterbury-Oxford

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Evan Reiter

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  • 6181
Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2009, 02:10:00 am »
Quote from: "SoloWingDemon"
A correction to Mr. Evan's fire naming scheme.
"fire naming scheme"... oh, you mean file naming scheme  :lol: I was close...


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator

Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2009, 12:18:23 pm »
Knowing what is updated at a glance is definately a useful feature to have. I usually check any read me files after download but before installation to see what has been updated.

Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2009, 12:31:50 pm »
Quote from: "leadbottom1"
Knowing what is updated at a glance is definitely a useful feature to have. I usually check any read me files after download but before installation to see what has been updated.

Knowing this will help, I will begin listing the major updates with any revision we release, so you can tell at a glance. You will, however, need to refer to the included ReadMe for a full list of changes that were made. :)

Another thought we may ponder on: Would it be more prudent to release scenery bundled? For instance, the upcoming Regional Circuit between KHLN and KGPI. Should I make ONE release with both airports in it, or release both airports as their own file? While doing this would reduce the number of downloads needed, it also isn't as inclusive as say, the Alaskan Airport Update was.
Dan | [email protected]

Private Pilot - ASEL
KHVN - Tweed-New Haven/KOXC - Waterbury-Oxford

Re: Event Scenery
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2009, 12:53:06 pm »
Quote from: "SoloWingDemon"
Would it be more prudent to release scenery bundled?

I like this idea.  This way, members only have to download 1 thing versus 2.  That is assuming we have never released an update for either of the two airports.  Take for example KIAD and KCRW.  We have released KIAD but not KCRW| but lets assume we release v2.0 of KIAD.  Now members need to go in and delete the previous version of KIAD and then they can install the bundle.  If we don't release a new version of KIAD, then MOST members would only need to download KCRW assuming they have previously downloaded KIAD.

Would it be possible to have both options?  If a member has KIAD but not KCRW, they have the option to download just KCRW.  If they don't have either, they can download the bundle.

Another idea I just thought of is to have a direct download link from the events page and from the page that has the ATC signup and preferred routes on it.  Currently there is a link on there to the events scenery page where members then have to find the right scenery to download.  I think it would be beneficial to put a download link directly on that page that will download the file without further navigation through the website.
Erich [email protected]  BVATC Scenery Design and Test Team "