Wednesday, January 23, 2013

An insight into our feedback process

As most of you know, we have a pretty cool user feedback page where a lot of our fellow pilots add and vote for ideas of how to improve Infinite Flight. It really has been a tremendous tool for us and we hope to make it even better.

We recently made some changes that we wanted to share with you and also give you more detailed information about our feedback oriented development process.

First of all, we are disabling anonymous voting. This is less about vote tempering (there is always a way to break any system anyway) and more about engagement. Flight Simulators are complex and we want to make sure that when an idea is at the top, it is because engaged users want it. We believe it is a fair change and won't affect most of you anyway.
We are also now automatically removing from public view ideas and comment that are flagged inappropriate by you (it is an adaptive system though). This is to fight spam.

While working on each Infinite Flight update, we do our very best to interact as much with our users as possible so you know where we are at and where we are headed. We recognize that it can be hard to grasp when your cool idea that has many votes will see the light of day in our simulator, sometimes a little bit frustrating even. Hopefully what follows will give you a satisfying insight into our feedback process.

We usually glance at every single idea. In fact, we get a summary email everyday that aggregates all the new ideas and the trending ones. Needless to say, we get a lot :) Suggestions can usually be categorized into 1 of the following 2 groups:

  • Content suggestions
  • Simulation related ideas
Let's dig into what each means and give you our developer perspective.

Content suggestions (aircraft, liveries, scenery...) are the most common. At the time we are looking at creating new content, we glance at the top 10 and start working mostly based on 3D artist capabilities (does he have the skills to create a high quality model of a specific aircraft) and availability (how long will it take). However, it is worth noting that by the time we release the newly created content, the top content suggestion might have changed which could potentially lead to confusion.
Another factor is that we have a lot of duplicated ideas. Merged, those ideas can rank way higher than the first one on the list. We also take that into consideration when picking what to work on next.

Simulation related ideas (weight and balance, passengers, fuel support ...etc) is the other big category most suggestion falls in.  Infinite Flight is a flight *simulator*. There is no question whether or not we want to add anything that falls into this category. The only question is "when ?"
As previously mentioned, Flight Simulators are complex and even a perceived small feature request can be very complex to implement. We usually prefer to incrementally improve Infinite Flight (and update frequently) than getting lost into adding a specific feature and provide a disappointing update every 6 months to a year.

This last part is about how we sort all those ideas and what those "status" means to us.
Regardless of whether your idea gets an admin answer or not, we did see it and we will mark it as "planned" if we decide to do it, "started" when the artist or developer started work on it, and "completed" once it is released as part of an update. In term of time-frame,  a "planned" feature can take multiple update cycle to make it to the simulator whereas a "started" one should take no more than 2 update cycles.
If we see an interesting suggestion that is getting a *lot* of votes but we cannot do it in any reasonable amount of time in the current state of things, we will mark it as "postponed"; this means that we want it but we will get to it later as we improve the simulator to allow such a feature to be easily added; a "postponed" idea will be marked as closed until we get to it so you guys can get your votes back and suggest more stuff :)
Finally, we added an "invalid" status. This one will be applied to every entries that have multiple suggestions in them. Those defeat the purpose of our feedback system since they prevent us to pinpoint the most wanted ideas. If that happens to one of your suggestion, simply split it in multiple ideas (or tell us why we are wrong ... we make mistakes as well :p)

Anyhow, if you made it this far, we hope this gives you a good understanding of our feedback process and that we will getting more of those great suggestions to continue making Infinite Flight a reference in mobile flight simulation.

Happy Voting !

TLDR: we listen to you and we are getting better at it :)


Ryan Bialaszewski said...

You guys rock! Love what you are doing and I fully support you guys. I know how annoyed you may get at some of the users constantly requesting free stuff and I would pay for every single feature the simulator offers. Just saying. The more stuff you charge for, the Infinite Flight can grow into a leading simulator platform. Revenue = Increased marketshare. Increased marketshare = increased revenue.

Joao Penha-Lopes said...

I agree with Ryan in what concerns costs. We, the users should pay for the quality stuff we get. I agree with the ongoing concept of paying just for the content we select.

Concerning the 20 vote limitation if a bloke voted on ideas not executed, he will not be able to vote again, ever. There should be a time frame after which his voting capabilities would be reset.

Further to your explanation above it would be useful for us, users, to get an overview of eventual limitations imposed by the iPad when we are putting together a wish list based, as in my case, in previous experiences with PC flight simulators.

I never believed a mobile FS could be this good. I definitely enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear that every suggestion gets noticed. Voting for something is awesome. This feels like it's going in the right direction.

I take your word that you are trying to improve on every sim aspect of the program. I myself have been simming since Sublogic's FS II on an Atari 800XL. Although there were no buildings or other traffic (and this isn't the most important thing to have in a sim from the start), it had two features that made it worthwhile: flight planning with provided paper charts, fuel planning, radio navigation.

Indeed, you can't provide printed charts and I read the flight planning tool is under review, but fuel consumption and radio navigation would be some nice features that make it more worthwhile.

And while the 3D virtual cockpits and HUD views are great, how about an old fashioned instrument panel for the Cessna with big legible instruments. Think of the people using Apple TV and see the instrumentation on a big screen (or ipad).

Keep it up! Blue Skys!

Anonymous said...

Love the update , would like to see flying between different regions for example between sfo and lax

Bed Bug said...

What a surprise I had when I heard that a "new" flight sim was available. News travels slowly in the Australian Bush. I wasn't told it's platform was Androidbut when I Googled the name and saw Android I imagined it would only work on the latest tablets. Wasn't I wrong, not only does it work but it works really well.

I'm now going to give my Christmas present more respect. Even though the Asus is last year's model it runs Infinite like a dream. Excellent graphics as well. I'm a disabled War Veteran and I've been stuck in bed for almost 12 years. In that time I've worn out joysticks and seen many sims get better and better. My average flight time is roughly 20 hours a week. Multiply that by 12 years and it's a bloody long time. Now I can increase that time by using the Asus wherever I go, Internet connection of course.

What a shame the beta version is now Alpha, I would have loved beta testing it. I certainly have the time and experience. I did Beta testing on Heinz Dziurowitz''s 787 he made for Boeing and a few warbirds he made for X-Plane. Never mind, I'll have a ball getting the hang of Infinite instead.

I honestly can't think of anything to add except maybe Sydney Airport and maybe a few bush dirt runways. Kangaroos included :-)

Harvey Eidenberg said...

Will the autopilot be updated to steer the airplane on flight-plans, in the future?

Yellow Pilot 10 said...


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