"Dear Readers, Today Simmarket released a new scenery-addon for LOWS developed by a very talented designer group. Please be aware that this scenery is not developed by designteam. As far as I can see this work is really great and potentially represents another milestone in FS-design. Congrats from my side!
Some personal remarks from my side: My friends and clients are knowing that scenery design is not my main profession. Due to the fact that I am working with an international IT-company the time for private hobbies is very limited. Hence the current project for LOWS is significantly delayed. But I do not want to throw away the invested time and effort during the last four years.
I would have appreciated if the russian developers would have got in contact with me at an earlier stage (which is common in the designer-community, because eventually we are all speaking about commercial success). However - I am about to rethink my current project. LOWS from design-team is not stopped!"
Now some people will surely agree with me with what I am about to say here. That said, I can most certainly tell you that I am about to piss some people off. We'll let the cards fall where they may.
Now let me explain where I have an issue with Gianni's statement and before I do, let me say, there are few people that are (well were) bigger fans of his work than me. I do and have always respected the work he has done for this community.
The days of announcing a project then dragging it through 5 years of development with practically little to no communication to the fans & community who are waiting on said project is a modus-operandi that really needs to stop within the development community. It needs to STOP.
Sure, if you are a proven developer with a proven track record of time conscious quality releases, then this is fine. But if you are a developer who devotes very little time to the project development regardless the reason be it a side hobby or otherwise, it's not the right thing to do when you make an announcement with nothing more to show than a photo image of an airport.
And yes, I do understand that reality can impact any developer. Health issues, family issues, job issues. It happens all the time. But regardless, once a project is announced, it's up to the developer to either begin communication, or do not announce. Because once you do, you spark interest. And the people of this hobby can get seriously anxious about this shit. They love it. They live and breathe it every day. It becomes a part of their lives and they look forward to it.
So when you as a developer (talking to no dev in particular) announce a project to these people, then say very little to them over a period of years, how are they supposed to feel? How should they react? I do believe some developers underestimate just how passionate people are about this hobby. Especially when it pertains to their favorite aircraft or location.
Lack of communication can truly leave many feeling left in the dark. Now I don't expect developers to tell us their personal problems, but if a project stops development or at least pauses development for several months or more, it's simply not okay to just say nothing and let the years drag by.
This process of announcing a project with the intent of somehow "reserving" it is understandably common among developers. This is fine. But 5 years of minimal to practically no communication after announcement is free and open game to anyone who wants to do it and a courtesy notification is not warranted at this point.
For some developers it's a side hobby as Gianni says above. But for others, this is literally how they keep food on the table, keep the lights on, and put presents under the tree. It's a full time job. And those developers can not afford to wait on moving forward on a project that very well could last them the next several months of income just because someone announced it years ago can only work on it as a side project at leisure, and refrains on publishing updates.
Alternatively, sometimes developers work in secret on a particular project only to learn later on that someone else happens to be working on the same project coincidentally. I can only imagine how difficult it must be on the behalf of developers when this happens. Or even worse to see a project you have been working on for many years get released by someone else. This isn't the Coke vs Pepsi market where there is room for everyone and billions to be made. Competition and capitalism within this community can really cost developers dearly and I assure you it has.
Indeed, some developers are better than others when it comes to time and quality and I have known of instances when some developers have purposely developed projects they knew others were working on because they knew they could get the project out faster and of higher quality forcing either a market split, or the other developer to quit altogether. This is their right to do and it happens more often than you might think. You just never hear about it. But I do. Sometimes it was beneficial, sometimes a loss. That's the risk of playing ball that way in this market.
In other cases, developers will broker a deal between each other when they are working on the same project and I assist in these deals all the time where needed given my knowledge of developments across the community. One example is several years ago when both Taxi2Gate and LatinVFR were developing San Diego at the same time. You did not know about this but these dealings happen rather often. LatinVFR released SAN and Taxi2Gate moved on to a highly successful Orlando. In that case, an amicable decision was reached between both developers.
In other cases, the competing developers begin working together. There are many cases like this going on right now. And I love to see people working together.
But in this case, the G Team LOWS project was announced in June of 2011. In that year, 5 previews images were shown via Aerosoft's preview forum. Then a sixth preview image was shown again in June of 2015 marking the 5th anniversary of when this project started development. That image depicted something that after 5 years, appeared still to be a very early development render not even placed in the simulator but still within the modeling program.
Now I can not assume Evgeny of Digital Design even knew about the G Team project. But lets just assume Evgeny knew. If i were a developer and I saw this community market demand that I could fulfill within a matter of months where another developer has taken 5+ years with no communication and very little to show for that time then yes, I would have moved forward with the project as well.
As a developer you have to be able to work within a set schedule and you MUST have a deadline for completion. Almost always the deadlines are not met. But so long as you have one, this will keep you from becoming too "leasurly" with your work especially when people are waiting and counting on you.
Now, Gianni says Digital Design should have contacted him at an earlier stage. My question here is: why? Why is this courtesy owed? Why was this courtesy of communication not shown to the community on Gianni's behalf to begin with?
Now naturally, whenever someone asks "is there any update" at Aerosoft, they are typically met with the: "when we have something to show, we will show it..." response. But what this also potentially tells other developers after years into the development where little to nothing is shown is: there is nothing to show, because there is nothing. Or very little at least... or at best.
It's my contention that over the past 5 1/2 years, Gianni should have done a better job of communicating with the community regarding the status of this project. I completely understand developers have personal lives. As do I, as do all of you. The difference here is, when you as a developer make a decision to develop a project and announce that project to this community, what comes with it is a responsibility of adequate communication regarding that project. Otherwise it's no different than dangling a carrot in front of the donkey.
This is why many developers these days elect not to publish information regarding a project till it's nearly complete. Either way, had the communication been more frequent on G-Team LOWS, other developers may have stayed away as they frequent news sites and forums just as much as the enthusiasts and besides, many developers are enthusiasts anyway. It's not just all about business.
I was having this very same conversation with another well known developer just yesterday.
He was eyeballing a passion project he has been wanting to develop for some time. But as someone else announced the project several years ago, he didn't want to step on that developer's toes despite the fact that communication from that developer since announcing the project had been sparse at best till just recently.
Obviously, no developer holds a claim on any land in the world of flight simulation. But if a developer indeed intends to "stake claim" on an airport and chooses to make a broad announcement on that project, it then becomes up to he/she to keep the people informed on a somewhat regular biases regarding the status of said project. If you go silent for a prolonged period of time, you cant be surprised when the vultures start to circle and move in for the kill.
Nature shows us this quite clearly.
I hope this scenario serves as an example for all developers who make these kinds of announcement decisions in the future. Keeping people informed is not just for the community's benefit. In the end, as a developer, it could be to your benefit as well.
-D'ARTH Newman -OUT.