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 !