The project that has kept me busy since moving to the ACES Studio at the beginning of the year is finally out the door! Flight Simulator X Service Pack 1 is now available from fsinsider.com. Also available is Flight Simulator X Software Development Kit SP1A.
I’ll be discussing both projects in more detail in future posts, but for now, here’s a quick summary:
- FSX SP1 is delivered in multiple per-language self-extractors, each of which contains two patches, one for each of the two editions Flight Simulator X is available in (Standard and Deluxe). Of the approximately 42,000 files(!) in RTM, only a couple of hundred were patched or added in SP1.Because of how the FSX RTM setup was built, it wasn’t feasible to ship one patch for all the editions and languages. I built the patch-creation packages (.pcp files) in WiX v3 and built the patches using MsiMsp and PatchWiz 3.1. However, it wasn’t otherwise a “typical” patch build; the RTM setup auto-generated most of its 42,000 files so file IDs and component GUIDs and IDs weren’t stable. That’s why I needed to build 13 distinct patches (two each for English, French, German, Italian, Polish, and Spanish and one for Japanese). It also meant that I couldn’t follow the typical approach of rebuilding the upgrade MSI packages – the GUIDs and IDs kept changing. The story of building custom upgrade packages deserves its own series of posts.
- FSX SDK SP1A is delivered in one self-extractor. It’s available only in English and only for users of the Deluxe editions, so we needed to deliver only one package. Unlike the game itself, the SDK update is delivered as a new product, not a patch. I investigated delivering a patch for the SDK too, but ran into the same issues with changing IDs as with the game. Another complication was the release of SDK SP1 (without the “A” suffix); it also shipped as a product but with custom code that manually updated and deleted files in the RTM SDK. Both issues combined, a patch wasn’t something I could pull off in a reasonable timeframe. So I created a new SDK product using WiX v3. The self-extractor is the WiX v3 setup.exe chainer. By dropping the auto-generation, I had more work to keep the setup current but we’ll be in a great position for future patches.
The entire ACES Studio can be justifiably proud of the tremendous effort that went into FSX SP1 and SDK SP1A. Naturally, I just wrote above about the work that went into patching and setup, because that’s what I worked on. But a huge amount of work went into performance enhancements and content improvements. I hope every FSX user enjoys it!
Now on to the expansion pack and DirectX 10 update…