FSX Content Taxonomy
Let’s create some definitions for FSX content, so users and third-party developers (3PDs) alike can understand the landscape when discussing if/how content works in SP2.
First, a disclaimer:
I am not sure my say-so solely defines what is and isn’t so, I am simply trying to develop a common taxonomy albeit one that makes logical sense. I do not speak for MS business development, legal, or marketing here as I am only a dev team member.
However, lacking any true authority I will present some definitions and let the community judge if they are useful.
What is “FSX content”?
a)how does a 3PD know what to use to develop content and how to label it?
b)how does a consumer understand what to expect?
I propose there exist three “buckets” of content and labeling should take this into account:
If a product is built using the FSX-SDK it is "native" by definition.
There is a natural good, better, best hierarchy here wrt versions of the SDK, with a cherry on top:
Using the FSX-SP2 SDK is obviously best, as it gets you DX10 features and is the most up to date release. And this should be the preferred approach.
Using the FSX-SP1 SDK is obviously better, as it incorporates fixes to the tools since RTM like the fix for the double vertices in XtoMDL.
Using the FSX-RTM SDK is good, but I would hope that 3PDs would prefer the better solution at least. I say that because the lifetime of the RTM SDK was on the order of 7 months and the SP1 SDK has been out 12 now.
Cherry on top:
The cherry on top is using the Acceleration SDK to get the advanced Acceleration features (carrier oriented, helicopter oriented, race oriented) when running on Acceleration.
DX9 versus DX10
Content should be labeled as "supports DX9 only" if it does not support DX10.
If it isn’t rebuilt using the FSX SDK it cannot be "native" and can only be "compatible". By “compatible” I mean with the latest revision of the platform, SP2.
Basically, this is anything that works in SP2 that isn’t authored with a flavor of the FSX SDK
With that said, labeling previous generation product that renders correctly in SP2 as "FSX compatible" seems fair to me.
This is anything that renders incorrectly in SP2
This should not look surprising, and I hope it turns out to be useful to both end-user customers and 3DPs.
Note this blog post is based on a similar discussion on avsim.com and has been adjusted based on feedback on that thread.