Sunday, February 24, 2008

Microsoft ESP at GDC

At the recent 2008 Serious Games Summit at the Game Developer Conference (GDC), Shawn Firminger , studio manager of Aces studios, delivered a talk outlining the development journey of Microsoft ESP.

An account of Shawn's talk has been posted at Gamasutra and is well worth reading.

In the talk Firminger emphasizes ESP's Microsoft Flight Simulator heritage. Flight Simulator is Microsoft's longest in development product, being in continuous development for 25 years. Firminger describes these years as ESPs beta period.

The first attempt at creating a training platform derived from Flight Simulator, was in 2004. At that time, Firminger mentions that Aces failed to convince Microsoft sales executives to support the development of such a product. (Note: CFS4 was cancelled in 2004/05 also.... though I have a feeling that CFS will be reborn at some future date.) However the success of Flight Simulator X together with its developer accessible API and SDK and also with train simulator sharing the same core technology, Aces second attempt to create a training platform met with success in 2007.

Shawn also emphasized that it is important to have the support of your sales department if a project such as this is to have success. He also emphasized that ESP is a serious games platform rather than a serious game, which are a different 'beasts'.

The GDS ESP presentation is also featured in a post at

The Ausgamers' article further mentions Microsoft's long term commitment to ESP with a roadmap planned many years into the future. Plans for version 2 and 3 of ESP are still in process, however that article mentions that the next version will see more focus on ground elements with marine elements further down the track.

For further information check out the Microsoft ESP home page.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Amberley Airshow 2008

I realise it's only February however for aviation enthusiasts in Australia, particularly South East Queensland, October 4-5 2008 are dates to remember (especially for me), the dates of the next Defence Force Air Show - Amberley.

This will be the first air show that I will be photographing digitally. My old Pentax 35mm choose the last Amberley Air Show in 2004 to pack it in - unbeknown to me at the time. I shot 16 roles of film of which I ended up with about 20 usable prints. The shutter wasn't working. The same thing happened at the East Coast Blues & Roots Festival in 2001. On that occasion it appeared to be due to a faulty lens link as the few pics I took with the 200mm lens were perfectly exposed. However even that did not work in 2004. Anyway if a digital camera packs it in all one wastes is the time and of course the lost images that may have been and not hundreds of $ on film & processing. I'm toying with the idea of buying a video camera too. We'll see.



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Freeware FSX Projects

Just a quick note to mention that I am still working away on many freeware aircraft projects for FSX, currently focusing on WW1.

I have published a list in my other blog, the Biff Diaries.

I am still recovering from cancer having finished my final radiotherapy treatment last week. Thus I am resting somewhat. My leg will take a year to recover from surgery & treatment and I will have to be careful until it heals. No sitting at computer desks for long periods for the next few months. :(



Friday, February 08, 2008

Microsoft ESP on Aero TV

An interesting video on Microsoft ESP.....

.... and while we're at it.... a motion flight simulator based on FSX ... for a mere $20k... cool stuff