Track IR and Prepar 3D

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Penzoil3
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:42 pm

Track IR and Prepar 3D

Post by Penzoil3 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:48 am

You tell us to ask Prepar3d to support Track IR. Prepar3D tells us the problem is your drivers, and tell you we want the simulator supported.
We have paid good money for their software, and your hardware. Can't the two of you talk to each other, instead of treating us like tennis balls ? This is ridiculous.
Let me add, that I just said basically the same thing, over on their forum.
Sue

Seth Steiling
Posts: 1366
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:29 am
Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: Track IR and Prepar 3D

Post by Seth Steiling » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:07 pm

Hi Sue,

I appreciate your frustration. I read through the TrackIR topics on the Prepar3D forums, and I can see why you feel like you're getting conflicting answers.

The short answer:

Lockheed Martin has an SDK for third party integration that they prefer, called SimConnect. We've examined it and found stability issues with respect to TrackIR and our dev cycle.

We have an alternate pathway for the integration that we prefer. It's our own API (used in nearly all other TrackIR supported games). LM has examined it and found that implementation is not something they can allocate resources to.

So, unfortunately, neither proposed pathway will work for both parties.

The long answer:

Our drivers are actually not related to the issue with Prepar3D. All that is needed for a developer to integrate TrackIR is the implementation of our API. Essentially, they input some of our code, which allows their software to received data from ours. Then they map that data to whatever they want (typically camera control) in their game.

The Prepar3D dev team has already been sent our SDK, which provides instruction on how to integrate our API. This is the same pathway that developers of the other 125+ TrackIR Enhanced titles have used.

The last report from their devs that I received was that they didn't have time to make this implementation happen. They reported that it would take them weeks of development, which seemed unusual to us, as we typically hear back that devs implement our code in a couple of hours (or days, at the most). But Prepar3D is presumably a massive codebase, developed by a different team altogether, so complexities are bound to emerge.

Lockheed Martin's preference is that we instead use their SimConnect API + window name scan to sync to Prepare3D. This pathway is a holdover from FSX. We did do a custom implementation for Prepar3D, at their request, but it was quickly broken with a new P3D release--something we were not made aware of in advance.

Our primary concern is that any time either SimConnect or P3D is rev'd, there is risk of breaking the integration. When we publicly promote that a title has TrackIR support, we want to be sure that the support is rock solid. (Our own API remains unbroken through three UI iterations and 6+ years of development.) Because of our history with SimConnect (even before Lockheed Martin took over the code base), we cannot in good faith utilize what has proven to be (for us) an unpredictable pathway.

If LM does decide to allocate dev resources to TrackIR, they already have all of the tools at their disposal that they will need from us.

- Seth
Marketing Manager
TrackIR | OptiTrack

mac2244
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:00 pm

Re: Track IR and Prepar 3D

Post by mac2244 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:21 pm

Seth
Just in the process of deciding whether to get prepar3d and a key decider is going to be track ir support. I have to say i am
slightly bewildered by the large number of posts on this subject - it appears their is a prepar3d profile in the latest trackirv5 software (have located it) but that no one can get it to work!(not sure why you are publishing a profile that you know will not work and in the process creating a large amount of confusion and posts on various forums)In fact I have even read about a work around that suggests buying software called ezdok in order to get the trackir to function properly!!
Just wondering what your company is doing to resolve this?(I have already read your reply above and i also attach links to some posts - in case you hadn't seen them)


http://www.prepar3d.com/forum-5/?mingle ... opic&t=410

http://www.prepar3d.com/forum-5/?mingle ... opic&t=492

NaturalPoint - Mike
Posts: 1896
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:41 am
Location: Corvallis, OR

Re: Track IR and Prepar 3D

Post by NaturalPoint - Mike » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:15 pm

Seth pretty much hit the nail on the head. The long and the short of it is that Prepar3d wants us to integrate TrackIR with a method we don't feel is stable, and we would like them to integrate with a method that they don't feel they have the resources to complete.

The profile is in the TrackIR software because early in Prepar3D's PLC we did do a custom integration, in accordance with their preferred integration pathway. Unfortunately, support was broken shortly thereafter (as Seth described above).

Because situations like this to occasionally come up, the best reference for games/sims that support TrackIR is on our website:

http://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/03- ... s-all.html

mac2244
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:00 pm

Re: Track IR and Prepar 3D

Post by mac2244 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:33 pm

Mike
Got to say I am very dissapointed in the NaturalPoint responce to this issue - it is very clear from reading what John at LM says about this that his company will not invest any more resource in resolving this as getting it to work is not core to prepar3d - and that the ball is in your court to get this resolved.

I also think your policy of leaving a profile in the software that basically does not work is confusing alot of TrackIR customers who are trying to use the profile - wondering why it isn't working - then posting on many differnt forums for help just like myself!

At the end of the day I think many TrackIR customers just want some form of functionality with prepar3d(which an increasing numbers of people have started using) and I think even if this
results in a slightly unstable driver then this is better than the current situation which is either not using it or having to buy the ezdok software to get track IR to work! - the end result for TrackIR if this impass never gets resolved is that people will just start looking at other products that will support Prepar3d

Seth Steiling
Posts: 1366
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:29 am
Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: Track IR and Prepar 3D

Post by Seth Steiling » Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:16 pm

mac2244 wrote:I also think your policy of leaving a profile in the software that basically does not work is confusing alot of TrackIR customers who are trying to use the profile - wondering why it isn't working - then posting on many differnt forums for help just like myself!
It's not a policy. It's the byproduct of Prepar3D being broken with a new version--unexpectedly and unannounced to us by LM. We will be updating our software shortly to reflect that it no longer works with Prepar3D.
At the end of the day I think many TrackIR customers just want some form of functionality with prepar3d(which an increasing numbers of people have started using) and I think even if this results in a slightly unstable driver then this is better than the current situation which is either not using it or having to buy the ezdok software to get track IR to work! - the end result for TrackIR if this impass never gets resolved is that people will just start looking at other products that will support Prepar3d

The problem is that it's not a matter of being slightly unstable. It's all or nothing. You were frustrated to discover the Prepar3D title still tucked away in our software titles list, despite no longer having support. Imagine if we announced official support, only to have it periodically broken. That would cause far more frustration--and understandably so--for all users that purchased a TrackIR for use with Prepar3D.

Ultimately, if we're going to put our name behind something, and tell customers that a title is supported, we need to have full confidence that the support is robust and reliable. We don't currently have that confidence in LM's proposed integration pathway, so we cannot support it.
Marketing Manager
TrackIR | OptiTrack

kenstallings
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 10:59 am

Re: Track IR and Prepar 3D

Post by kenstallings » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:56 pm

Mike,

While you have the full right to make the choice you believe in your company's best interest, I think I should point out that having been a customer of your's for many years now, I am alarmed at your conclusions on this issue.

SimConnect is not some ancillary software. In fact, many vendors are integrating the function of their hardware and software to work through it. I know as I work for a company that already is.

Lockheed Martin is not asking Natural Point to adopt to something strange and unusual. Instead, they are asking you to adopt to what has essentially come to be an industry standard for interaction with FSX, and by natural extension Lockheed's Prepar3D.

To therefore assert as your motivation for balking at SimConnect based on the presumption that future versions of LM's Prepar3D might require re-work on your end, is presumptive and in my view at least disingenuous.

It is the burden of a third party vendor to adapt his work to the platform he wants it to work on -- not the other way around. It is understandable if you conclude that Prepar3D is too small a footprint in the PC gaming/simulation world to justify your labor costs. I can respect that. But, I would really prefer you to couch your arguments in that vein vice attempt to steer the burden over to LM. I would also urge you to consider that Prepar3D may end up the future of PC-based aviation simulation and gaming given that Microsoft's Flight is likely to remain closed architecture.

I don't have access to your books, so this is merely personal conjecture on my part, and therefore perhaps unhelpful, but I would urge you to immediately reconsider. Get your product to work with the current Prepar3D version, or at least version 1.3 waiting in the wings now, and then make a determination based on facts -- vice prediction -- whether it would be worth it to re-work should future release versions (likely version 2.0) harm the function of your product. You could easily decide to advise your customers your decision to no longer support the platform. But, right now, you have a method to do so but are choosing not to.

Sincerely,

Ken Stallings

kenstallings
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 10:59 am

Re: Track IR and Prepar 3D

Post by kenstallings » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:59 pm

Seth,

With respect, I must say your response was even worse in my eyes. You are saying that without the presumption of perpetual compatibility that you won't support a platform now.

I can say for the record that your interaction with FSX required modifications as SP's were added to it. I cannot believe this was the only such requirement to adjust to changes in the platform's software.

If I may be blunt, I think your real motivation is to have a ready answer to blame the platform provider and say they goofed up your chosen driver software by failing to adhere to your chosen coding standards to ensure backward compatibility.

LM is right to claim that is your duty to your customers -- not their duty to you. Unless you are paying LM, it seems you have the cart before the horse, sir!

Ken Stallings

Seth Steiling
Posts: 1366
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:29 am
Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: Track IR and Prepar 3D

Post by Seth Steiling » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:01 pm

Ken,

Your candor is appreciated, but I cannot agree with your conclusions. I'm not going to repeat what I wrote above, as it sufficiently explains our position. Any ulterior motives that you imply are influencing our actions just aren't a reflection of the reality.

When someone purchases a TrackIR for use in a game, we're on the hook. If support is broken, regardless of the reason, we're on the hook. If we say that a title works with TrackIR on our website, we're on the hook. Accordingly, we have to be selective about how support is integrated.

Our concern is with stability and quality control. That new revs of P3D or Simconnect will likely break support with TrackIR isn't hypothetical. It's already happened (and, incidentally, without warning). Similarly, that new revs of P3D won't break support when integrated via the TrackIR API has been demonstrated in over 100 titles.

Of the two potential pathways, only one provides the certainty of a stable integration with minimal (if any) post-integration management.

- Seth
Marketing Manager
TrackIR | OptiTrack

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