• Interview with Stephen Borick, NGiS

    Interview with Stephen Borick, NGiS

    Conducted By Dominic Smith

    [Note: images included in this article are supplied by NGiS and are described as images captured from UNIGINE Port Angeles Tech Demo, and thus do not necessarily represent the exact look of the final product.]

    Stephen, first off, how did you and the team come up with the idea of creating a new simulator?

    It actually, all began with me watching videos of GTA V Flight School. I was amazed by the level of detail in those videos and it suddenly dawned on me that for the foreseeable future we were not going to see anything like what I was seeing in GTA V visually unless someone took the time to seriously take a good look at the tools available to create a new flight simulator based on new technologies.

    Next Generation Flight Simulator     Next Generation Flight Simulator

    P3D, X-Plane, MSFS series, and Flight Gear are all based upon code that began several years ago and will never be much more than what they are now. Sure, you may see some improvements such as cloud shadows and the like, but you'll never see LOD such as that seen in modern software... those engines just aren't built for it, and the more you try to increase the capacity of this older code, the more bloated it becomes and the results are the experiences you have today. When it comes to physics, flight dynamics, weather, modeling, etc. the same applies. With what's available you're literally stuck with what you get as there is little overhead within existing engines for improvements.

    What is sorely needed is a new simulator based upon a new engine that is continually evolving to take advantage of the advancing technologies in both software and hardware for developers as well as end users. The advancements in these areas never quit and neither should the advancements in flight simulation. If we ever want to see the next level of "As Real As It Gets" we need to move on.

    We created an online Next Generation Flight Simulator Symposium; where hundreds of flight simulator enthusiast voiced their ideas, opinions, as well as their desires for the need for a next generation flight simulator. It was a remarkable experience of cooperation.

    From that Symposium, a standard was set as to what enthusiasts were looking for in a new simulator; a suitable 3D engine was found (UNIGINE) for the creation of this new simulator, and the decision to go to Phase II, the development, was decided upon. Again, from that Symposium we have gathered, what is most probably the most formidable team of developers since Aces Studios, for the development of a Next Generation Flight Simulator. In fact, some of our members are former developers for Aces. Many of our team members are well known developers who have made a positive name for themselves in the flight simulator community; they are a huge asset to our project. We invite anyone, everyone, who has the love for flight simulation and who has the talents needed to help in the development of a next generation flight simulator to join us.

    Will your simulator be marketed as a game or simulator?

    NGiS intends to market the Next Generation Flight Simulator as a simulator for both the avid enthusiast as well as for newcomers who have yet to step into a virtual cockpit. One only needs to take a look at our growing features list (which, by the way, for the most part, is being created using those features given to us by members of the flight simulator community) to see what we fully intend to include in this new simulator. The proposed Users Interface will allow anyone to adjust the simulator to their personal preference level, from easy, allowing the most novice user to enjoy the simulator doing the things they want to do... all the way to the most sophisticated level, allowing for the most realism in any flight simulator available. Your entire environment, to include external as well as your aircraft will be adjustable to suit your preferences. We'll also have preset levels designed into the UI, allowing easy setups at various levels, as well as the ability to create your own preset levels to suit your fancy.

    Next Generation Flight Simulator     Next Generation Flight Simulator

    Along with that, we'll provide scenarios that will cater to everyone... what all those scenarios will be just yet is still a work in progress and we're most definitely looking for ideas from everyone from game players to simulator fanatics.

    What advantage do you see your simulator having over other simulators such as P3D, X-Plane and the MSFS series?

    Every advantage imaginable! Again the feature set tells what we have planned for our initial release and you can find that list by visiting our home page and clicking on the Green Button near the bottom of the page. When you look at that list, you'll see there are improvements and additional features requested in just about every aspect of flight simulation and that list can be continually influenced by anyone who cares to visit our forum and add their thoughts and ideas.

    It should be obvious that a new flight simulator can have some very distinct advantages over what is currently available. We've got a pretty good list going, but if there is anything that you as an individual would like to see specifically, we're just waiting for you to add your request to the growing list. (We'll soon have a web page that you'll be able to access from our web site with the list of features that we already have. This page will have the sophistication to allow anyone to add to the list those things that are most important to them. You'll also have the ability to vote on your favorite features and those features with the most votes will have top priority...we'll let FlightSim.Com know when that page is available).


    27 Comments
    1. Barkingside's Avatar
      Barkingside -
      Call me Mr. Skeptical but I will be surprised if all they promise can be fulfilled within even 2 to 5 years time frame. Several s/w coys have stated they are going to make the next sim and when they realize the enormity of the task and the small return on investment, they shy away from the project. I really hope it works out and it is everything we could wish for (i.e. not a game). X-Plane, P3D and Steam really need the competition.
    1. Stephen B.'s Avatar
      Stephen B. -
      Quote Originally Posted by Barkingside View Post
      Call me Mr. Skeptical but I will be surprised if all they promise can be fulfilled within even 2 to 5 years time frame. Several s/w coys have stated they are going to make the next sim and when they realize the enormity of the task and the small return on investment, they shy away from the project. I really hope it works out and it is everything we could wish for (i.e. not a game). X-Plane, P3D and Steam really need the competition.
      There are ways around those obstacles you mentioned, which includes having a team who is dedicated to the development of the Next Generation Flight Simulator to include team members who are already developers for flight simulators. Our team is made up of some remarkable talent and I wasn't kidding that it includes individuals who have been a part of the flight simulation scene for years, not just FSX or P3D, but real commercial simulators as well.

      So how else do you get around the obstacles... collaboration my friend! Can't say much, because if it was easy, and others had thought of it, it would have been done already.

      One other way is to consider what you're building... for a next generation flight simulator to be successful, you'll need to build a interactive 3D model of our planet on a level never before done. OK... now that you've got this wonderful 3D model... what else can you use it for. It doesn't take much of an imagination to consider the immense possibilities.

      See... we've done our homework... so... stop being Mr. Skeptical and become Mr. "I wanna be first in line when it's completed".

      Cheers,
      Stephen Borick
    1. tiger1962's Avatar
      tiger1962 -
      I hope it is developed in stages, with flight dynamics first and moving people or whatever last. Some of the best dynamics I've ever experienced already exist in Ilan Papini's Vehicle Simulator, which now has global scenery coverage in which you can fly, sail or drive anything from submarines to the space shuttle, all created by freeware developers to a very high standard. So what NGiS propose is definitely possible. The questions of when and to what standard will depend on financial backing, and that in turn will depend on demand. Putting a post on the NGiS forum will be well worth the visit.
    1. alaskancrab's Avatar
      alaskancrab -
      Quote Originally Posted by Stephen B. View Post
      There are ways around those obstacles you mentioned, which includes having a team who is dedicated to the development of the Next Generation Flight Simulator to include team members who are already developers for flight simulators. Our team is made up of some remarkable talent and I wasn't kidding that it includes individuals who have been a part of the flight simulation scene for years, not just FSX or P3D, but real commercial simulators as well.

      So how else do you get around the obstacles... collaboration my friend! Can't say much, because if it was easy, and others had thought of it, it would have been done already.

      One other way is to consider what you're building... for a next generation flight simulator to be successful, you'll need to build a interactive 3D model of our planet on a level never before done. OK... now that you've got this wonderful 3D model... what else can you use it for. It doesn't take much of an imagination to consider the immense possibilities.

      See... we've done our homework... so... stop being Mr. Skeptical and become Mr. "I wanna be first in line when it's completed".

      Cheers,
      Stephen Borick
      Don't worry it's not "Mr. Skeptical" that you have to convince, it's PMDG, OrbX, and Aerosoft. So far they've primarily stuck to FSX and it's derivatives. User's are very passionate about the addon's they own, some have thousands of dollars invested in a sim, and aren't going anywhere, and just upgrading anytime Intel gives them a reason to.
    1. pugilist2's Avatar
      pugilist2 -
      This is great news! Finally a realistic looking simulator with good flight dynamics after 25 years of simming.

      Alaskancrab, I have thousands in a complex gaming computer and addon's for P3d and X-Plane. I will gladly drop PMDG, Orbx, and Aerosoft for a new engine with better technology. Bottom line is that Flight Simulation has always been an expensive hobby and you are more than welcome to stay with old technology if you want.
    1. Barkingside's Avatar
      Barkingside -
      I'm skeptical based on history. MS Flight - promises were dashed as it turned out to be a gimmicky game. P3D V1 & V2 I was suckered into buying which were both unfinished sims and we were LM expensive beta testers. A highly modified FSX runs better AND I now note that P3D v3 is still bug ridden and still cannot compete with my admittedly highly modified FSX.
      Again I really hope this new kid on the block can deliver. I wish them well. And I will be at the front of the queue when and if it appears. I am that flight sim sucker. I think I have bought every single sim since I started this on PC in 1994. Prior to that it was Amiga and C64 and Sinclair Spectrum. It's been a while. :-)
      Strange though I never got on with X-Plane for some reason.
    1. Stephen B.'s Avatar
      Stephen B. -
      To be completely honest there are going to be some holdouts, especially from folks who've been involved with flight simulation for as long as I have, which is years and years. Yep... thousands invested makes moving on pretty difficult.

      However... I've learned through holding the SIM-Posium that the "if you build it they will come" mentality isn't necessarily so. The key then is to create a flight simulator that not only appeals to die hard flight simulator enthusiasts, but to also appeal to those who haven't even thought about being a flight simulator enthusiast.

      Our business model has been created to focus on both groups. It's time to revive flight simulation as a viable part of the software industry... otherwise, when the old timers literally,,, ahhh... disappear from the scene there won't be a new generation to take their place.

      - STephen Borick
    1. toninomex1's Avatar
      toninomex1 -
      What is needed to be undestood is that actual flight simulator is great beacause of thier capacity of deveolpment in hand of the community.

      I do agree is time to freshup the whole concept, taking into consideration, the software must be suitable to be developed from the user to proffessional developers.

      Welcome then
    1. W33's Avatar
      W33 -
      I think this is fantastic news and I for one wish them every success.

      “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

      Good luck Stephen and team!

      W33
    1. louw's Avatar
      louw -
      I hope it works, and soon. I'm 72 years old. Just bought a new windows 10 computer but don't have FSX. I have FS9 on my old computer but it is running out of memory. The computer is the same age as FS9 so a new flight sim that works on WIN 10 would be great.
    1. smoky's Avatar
      smoky -
      sounds like vaporware to me
    1. smoky's Avatar
      smoky -
      sounds like vaporware to me
    1. Stephen B.'s Avatar
      Stephen B. -
      Quote Originally Posted by smoky View Post
      sounds like vaporware to me
      I can remember the days where every news about anything to do with entertainment software coming down the pike was vaporware until it showed up on the store shelves. I suppose that would be true about the Next Generation Flight Simulator as well... at least until it's actually installed on your computer... and you use it.

      So... what do you do?

      Keep your eyes and ears open for any and all news during the development and when you're convinced that it's not vaporware then you can call it something else (I'm sure there will be every superlative imaginable).

      Just keep in mind, when the Next Generation Flight Simulator is released... and you're friends are busy flying around... it's still just vaporware... until you install it on your computer... and then it's just an installed program, until you actually use it.
    1. Rupert's Avatar
      Rupert -
      DO IT PLEASE!! Tomorrow will be good, today is better!
    1. hangar32's Avatar
      hangar32 -
      There are a lot of "Yes we will" in that interview to include coming out with the whole world with the initial product - MSFS didn't even try to do that…and they are MS for gosh sakes. In fact I think the only thing he didn't agree to was announcing a release date.

      I want to believe…I really, really do. I would feel more confidence is the answers were less hyperbolical.

      Still the best of luck to them.
    1. RatRace's Avatar
      RatRace -
      Dovetail are working on a new flight simulator, more likely than not based on the "MS Flight" engine, in essence MS Flight Simulator but with a vastly improved scenery and fight dynamics engine (compared to MS FS).
      All Dovetail have to do is avoid MS's huge marketing mistakes.
    1. stevefranklin's Avatar
      stevefranklin -
      Ah, wouldn't this be nice!? A completely new rebuild of our beloved hobby. Even more realistic skies, seas, rivers and ground textures. Try working on a virtual headset too so we can actually be in our virtual cockpits! Simulating flight through a 24" square window will do for now, but is out dated!
    1. captdennison's Avatar
      captdennison -
      I would encourage the developer of this game to avoid the idiot looking streets and houses and such of Xplane. Xplane has terrific dusk/dawn/night look, but missed the mark.
      I would say to be able to get real looking details at and around airports, without going for so much individual tidbits and "EyeCany". Just give us something that looks good. And how great would it be if the lower you go the more detail without sucking a CPU or Ram till it chokes. There has to be a way.
      Most important thing to me is that ALL aircraft fly with a correct model for each aircraft. FEEL is what is REAL.

      Looking forward to it, as I still fly FS9 mostly as FSX just does not feel correct.
    1. sky44's Avatar
      sky44 -
      By the photos and the video I really don't see anything greater than what FSX offers with several addons. I hope it works out to something better but I have great doubts
    1. ysfsim's Avatar
      ysfsim -
      If this works out, please make the ai engine believable. Ai can be made to follow published procedures ( as a certain freeware developer proved). To me, ai simulation is the next most important thing in a flightsim after a quality user aircraft.
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