• Interview With Tim Gatland - Dovetail Games

    Dovetail Games Interview

    Conducted by Dominic Smith

    Tim Gatland - Dovetail Games

    What would you say is the primary vision for Dovetail Games?

    Our vision is to be the number one simulation entertainment company. All our staff are reminded of this whenever they walk into our office as it is literally written on the wall! We plan to to achieve this goal by focusing on a small number of hobbies, like train and flight simulation, and then providing a great range of experiences to enhance the players' enjoyment of their hobby.

    What are your long term plans for the FSX Steam Edition?

    When we formed Dovetail Games (RailSimulator.com as it was in 2009), we knew that PC games were not being sold in a way that was giving our products the coverage they deserved. When we started working with Microsoft, we knew that the biggest marketplace for PC gamers was Valve's Steam service and we wanted to re-invigorate the FSX world by re-distributing it there. Our goal was modest: make FSX available to a Steam audience, many of whom will not have had the opportunity to buy FSX before.

    Bringing it to Steam meant fixing a few issues; a major one was replacing the now-defunct multiplayer service, GameSpy with Steam equivalents. We will continue to fix bugs and help players get the best out of the simulation but we also want to continue to work with established third party partners to bring their add-on content to Steam.

    What are the advantages of owning the Steam Edition over the retail DVD?

    FSX: Steam Edition is the Steam distribution of FSX: Gold Edition, which includes both the Deluxe Edition and the Acceleration Expansion pack in one bundle. The main advantage is that we have reinstated the multiplayer capabilities using Steam features to replace those previously provided by GameSpy. We have fixed a few problems caused by the natural changes to hardware and operating systems over the last nine years and we've also tried to fix a few memory leaks and pointer problems - these last two seem to have made a modest improvement gain in comparison to the boxed edition.

    FSX: Steam Edition gives you the usual benefits of digital distribution - no discs to break or lose, no activation codes to keep track of. Another benefit is that third party add-ons purchased through Steam are installed automatically.

    How will you ensure compatibility with past, present and future add-ons?

    Distributing via Steam means software is installed in a different way, and some add-ons use attributes of the FSX boxed installation process that were unable to be replicated in the Steam Edition, so there are some issues. However most boxed add-ons should work. We continue to look at the key problems with 3rd party add-ons, but this can be a challenge as some of the vendors are no longer around. It is also the case that some add-ons are incompatible with each other, which of course, we cannot do anything about.

    One particular challenge is co-existence. As part of the FSX: Steam Edition installation, we did not want to overwrite any existing FSX boxed installation already present on a machine, so we created a co-existence mode where both versions of FSX can reside on the same machine. This can, not surprisingly, confuse installers and so where possible we encourage people to use separate machines for each version.

    What we've done with add-ons we ship via Steam is to install them in a way that is less intrusive on the basic FSX set up and, so far, we've been pleased with the additional reliability and consistency that this brings.

    FSX Steam Edition

    What kind of development can you do on the core FSX code and is the 64 bit memory limit something you can address?

    We are distributing FSX: Steam Edition, so we are solely in a care and maintenance mode; fixing the essential items needed to keep FSX: Steam Edition working on new hardware and operating systems is the key focus. We will not be addressing the 64-bit memory limit in FSX: Steam Edition, but you can be sure that we'll be looking at that as part of the next step forward in flight simulation.


    19 Comments
    1. Allen Craig's Avatar
      Allen Craig -
      Wasted 40 bux trying to get 2 train games to work with 'steam'

      Whatever happened to purchasing a game, installing it, and RUNNING it without outside interference?
    1. ricardo_NY1's Avatar
      ricardo_NY1 -
      Would've loved to have seen a follow up question when Tim mentioned "Our own flight simulator"........a little elaboration on just what it is they are cooking up. Informative article/interview Dominic.
    1. darryl737's Avatar
      darryl737 -
      Great interview Nels. Was disappointed that Dovetail has taken a purely maintainer role with FSX and not looking at any development of it in the future.
    1. FSXF0zzer's Avatar
      FSXF0zzer -
      A good interview but the answers from DT are a bit disappointing. They will prolong FSX's life a bit but if they don't do more than some maintenance it will eventually die. I don't think their "team" is really as big as they would like us to think.
    1. france89's Avatar
      france89 -
      Quote Originally Posted by darryl737 View Post
      Great interview Nels. Was disappointed that Dovetail has taken a purely maintainer role with FSX and not looking at any development of it in the future.
      That's what Microsoft was willing to give away.

      Besides it makes no sense for them to spend so much effort on a 2006 years old engine when they can develop a new game (granted, most likely using the engine of Flight, hopefully improved) to get a more solid profit and probably controlled DLCS that has to pass from them either way (unlike on FSX-SE where developers can sell their products compatible with FSX-SE without selling it directly from Steam)
    1. BoromirX's Avatar
      BoromirX -
      Whether anyone likes the answers is not as important as the direct, clear, and seemingly honest way in which they were delivered. For that I say it was a (refreshingly!) great interview.
    1. ricardo_NY1's Avatar
      ricardo_NY1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by FSXF0zzer View Post
      A good interview but the answers from DT are a bit disappointing. They will prolong FSX's life a bit but if they don't do more than some maintenance it will eventually die. I don't think their "team" is really as big as they would like us to think.
      No one has done more than some maintenance on FSX than Lockheed in the form of P3D and it can only go so far. It's in our best interest that Dovetail would invest as much effort into their own flight simulator as possible and not FSX aside the maintenance/vendor role they have assumed. Lockheed has at least a few years on anyone in terms of tinkering with the FSX code. What do you think Dovetail can come up with in say two years from now if they started tinkering today?
    1. evm's Avatar
      evm -
      Quote Originally Posted by FSXF0zzer View Post
      A good interview but the answers from DT are a bit disappointing.
      Why? It is exactly what has always been said about the involvement of Dovetail with FSX. Nothing new in this interview, just wrapped in professional marketing talk. But helpful nevertheless to put all those rumours to rest that spawned purely from wishful thinking.
    1. flightman's Avatar
      flightman -
      Quote Originally Posted by ricardo_NY1 View Post
      No one has done more than some maintenance on FSX than Lockheed in the form of P3D and it can only go so far. It's in our best interest that Dovetail would invest as much effort into their own flight simulator as possible and not FSX aside the maintenance/vendor role they have assumed. Lockheed has at least a few years on anyone in terms of tinkering with the FSX code. What do you think Dovetail can come up with in say two years from now if they started tinkering today?
      Dovetail have a license to distribute FSX on Steam. That was what Microsoft offered for sale. It has to remain as FSX. They can use FSX technology to create a new FS game but they can't develop FSX.

      Lockheed Martin have a different licence for ESP/P3D. That situation isn't comparable.
    1. RatRace's Avatar
      RatRace -
      Quote Originally Posted by flightman View Post
      Dovetail have a license to distribute FSX on Steam. That was what Microsoft offered for sale. It has to remain as FSX. They can use FSX technology to create a new FS game but they can't develop FSX.

      Lockheed Martin have a different licence for ESP/P3D. That situation isn't comparable.
      Except, LM isn't in the business of developing "games".
    1. FSXF0zzer's Avatar
      FSXF0zzer -
      just wrapped in professional marketing talk
      That's all I wanted to say with disappointing. I didn't want to upset anyone or something. I think I was just hoping they would say they would improve some more things. Might be that MS also doesn't allow that. Indeed, P3D has all the improvements and the future but I can't afford it (yet).
    1. jgmustang's Avatar
      jgmustang -
      Steam is inaccessible to us who are blind, and therefore, this company is discriminating against us!
    1. ricardo_NY1's Avatar
      ricardo_NY1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by flightman View Post
      Dovetail have a license to distribute FSX on Steam. That was what Microsoft offered for sale. It has to remain as FSX. They can use FSX technology to create a new FS game but they can't develop FSX.

      Lockheed Martin have a different licence for ESP/P3D. That situation isn't comparable.
      The situation as you point out is not comparable. but the idea behind what the poster that I responded to is. He mentioned that unless more than maintenance work is done, FSX is dead. I translate that to either adding code, modifying the code or in some way altering the simulator for some improvement in performance or features. Lockheed has already done this, so it has already been done. The difference being that LM has years of experience doing it and anyone trying it out would be starting from scratch.
    1. Kenneth Birdsong's Avatar
      Kenneth Birdsong -
      Flying on the internet makes all your flights public, correct? I like the stand alone best!
    1. maximus92's Avatar
      maximus92 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ricardo_NY1 View Post
      Would've loved to have seen a follow up question when Tim mentioned "Our own flight simulator"........a little elaboration on just what it is they are cooking up. Informative article/interview Dominic.
      I can't seem to find the statement you quoted anywhere in the interview. Unless my eyes are failing me.
    1. RatRace's Avatar
      RatRace -
      Quote Originally Posted by maximus92 View Post
      I can't seem to find the statement you quoted anywhere in the interview. Unless my eyes are failing me.
      It's on top of page 2
      We have many people working on FSX - programmers, testers, support staff and community staff for example. Most of them are also working on other projects, the key project being our own flight simulator.
      (my bold)
    1. biloo's Avatar
      biloo -
      I have purchased FSX Steam Edition and plan to migrate away from legacy FSX to steam edition.
      Definitely looking forward to Dovetail's future products on flight simulation.
    1. maximus92's Avatar
      maximus92 -
      Quote Originally Posted by RatRace View Post
      It's on top of page 2
      (my bold)
      Ah, guess it helps to notice the "Next Page" button. I missed a quarter of the interview.
    1. beana5's Avatar
      beana5 -
      For FSX...STEAM is the only game in town..Disk FSX has abandoned us..they are gone.They with the now Becoming Scratchy disks,and Paranoid pass words..Microsoft also Abandoned our "FLIGHT.'....of which had many fans....STEAM now gives me the best version in performance of FSX .Nothing changed.planes ,Scenery all intact from My disk version.on STEAM!.....With out steam? FSX is gone!
  • Recent Forum Activity

    dogdish

    Requests to tech alpha testers

    Thread Starter: dogdish

    If supported yet, would like to know how FSX payware aircraft install and fly in the sim.

    Last Post By: dogdish Today, 01:35 AM Go to last post
    loki

    Discovery Series Episode 3: Aerodynamics

    Thread Starter: loki

    Episode #3 of their Discovery Series is out. The aerodynamic updates look like a major step forward over the previous MS flight sims. Bw-opH4f8Qg

    Last Post By: loki Today, 12:09 AM Go to last post
    NMLW

    RTW Retro Flight #114 Manchester to London Gatwick . . . 1961

    Thread Starter: NMLW

    Overseas Aviation flight OY-501 is a Vickers Viking 1A on a flight from Manchester to London Gatwick (EGCC - EGKK). We have 300 gallons of fuel on...

    Last Post By: DAVIDSTRAKA Yesterday, 08:47 PM Go to last post
    Rupert

    Crater Lake in Oregon

    Thread Starter: Rupert

    While night flying over Oregon it'd be a shame to not overfly Crater Lake National Park. This lake, formed by a volcano, has surface water at 6,178'...

    Last Post By: DAVIDSTRAKA Yesterday, 08:43 PM Go to last post