You may have heard the name "Simstall" floating around for some time now.
Up until now, Simstall has been primarily attached with projectFLY as it was the name for the client that you used to track your flights with.
Now projectFLY has it's own application (https://app.projectfly.co.uk), we'll soon be retiring the Simstall client from projectFLY and creating something truly unique for the entire community to enjoy.
I'll give you a little back story as to how Simstall came about, then I'll explain, in detail, exactly what Simstall is.
I've been in the Flight Sim scene for just over a decade now. I love it, it's my bread and butter - honestly I don't feel like I'll ever leave it.
Back when I first started Simming, we were right in line with the technology that all the other industries were using.
As time went by, other industries began to improve it's third party services except, you guessed it, the Flight Sim industry (people argue with me that it's not an industry, but I disagree).
To cut a long story short, here we are in 2018, with the same problem. Advances in addon distribution/management are either non existent or implemented really badly. We've come to a point in which the community as a whole just accepts what we have available to us and "deals" with the issues it brings.
About 2 years ago, I had one of those "shower thoughts". As much as the idea of me showering probably isn't appealing (or maybe it is, there are some weird people out there), the idea that came from it definitely was.
I was absolutely sick and tired of having a million different outlets to purchase software/hardware from which essentially all did the same generic thing. I was absolutely sick and tired of having to look through emails for serial keys, or even worse for download links that had "expired". Everything, even as I type this, about third party products for us is a huge headache (apart from OrbxDirect, but I helped build that so lol). It's unacceptable at best and the worst part, as previously mentioned, is that we all seem to be okay with it?!??!
The solution? Why don't I make something that fixes all of the problems surrounding the lack of advances within the third party world. Thus, Simstall was born (actually, at first it wasn't called Simstall, but let's not go into that).
Ok, so let me explain what Simstall is...
At the heart of it, it's an eCommerce platform, on steroids, for simmers.
It's a custom built, from the ground up solution that caters to our every need in the correct way.
All of the current third party distributors, with OrbxDirect as the exception (but again, I had a part to play in that), are generic eCommerce websites that are usually built on some sort of payware/freeware PHP eCommerce platform (Magento, osCommerce, Zen Cart, etc.) with a skin/logo slapped on them, products added and then maybe in the best case scenario, some sort of DRM/Serial Key distribution which is an absolute pain in the ass to use. It's a quick and easy way of making money. Very little effort is required to set one of these up.
Simstall will be an all in one, seamless, easy to use program that will allow you to purchase/add third party software to your simulator, manage said software, keep said software up to date and also manage your simulator in whichever way you'd like to manage it. That just scratches the surface.
Let me break down some of the key components that Simstall will have to offer:
Supports ALL platforms with the ability to add any new platforms quickly and efficiently
Supports payware/freeware/donationware/subscription based software/demo software
Incremental stable backups of your simulator(s) with the ability to restore them using just 1 click.
1 click purchasing/adding/installing/uninstalling/seamless updating (updating ONLY the files that need to be updated, saving you time and bandwidth)
Sharing of settings/profiles. Ever wanted someones settings? Now you can import them and apply them directly with the click of a button.
Quality Control of software/hardware. We wont list anything that we wouldn't use ourselves. We'll also have the ability for verified customers to rate and review software/hardware.
It's secure. I can't believe I'm having to state this in 2018, but the amount of retailers right now with huge security flaws in the way they do things actually makes me unwell.
A loyalty system that actually makes sense, is fair and benefits everybody
Community tools that will keep you connected with fellow simmers, including integration with third party applications (projectFLY, for example)
A huge wealth of features for developers. We will disclose more on this nearer completion
So when can we expect this?
I love being transparent, I wish everybody else would be transparent too.
Simstall was always going to happen and we've been working on the idea of it for the last few years. Having said that, up until recently we were all doing this part time so our development hours mostly went to projectFLY.
As of this month, we're now working on Simstall full time. We secured an investment in March of this year and are now able to push forward with making Simstall a reality. We're aiming for Simstall to be available to everybody before the end of 2018. We'll report back with a definitive time scale in the not too distant future.
I hope you're all super excited - I know we are. Keep an eye out on the weekly dev updates we're posting to see how we're progressing with Simstall.
If you have any questions/suggestions or would like to get in touch, we're available on all social media, using the comment section below or you can email [email protected]