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Of Launches, Installers, Support and Servers

Launch day thoughts
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We launched our Boeing 247D, and what a launch this was…

We’ve been working on the add-on until the last minute with some of us getting only very little sleep the days leading up to the 2nd of April. Everything was pretty much on track, although I did have to push some of my want-to-dos down the road to be finished in a future update. Namely interactive checklists and the write-up of a more detailed explanation of the damage model we use in our Boeing. To me, it felt that it was more important to deliver on time than postponing yet again for only some minor QoL improvements.


One thing I did leave to the last minute – and shouldn’t have – was the installer. I knew that Asobo added a section on this topic to the SDK, together with a sample project, which by the looks of it, could be adjusted to your needs really easily. After the last tests of the add-on, I got ready to pack everything up and I still had hours to go before the scheduled release 1600Z.

The adjustments to the installer where done within about 30 minutes – some artwork for the banners, adding the EULA, adjusting the welcome texts and adding the aircraft package. Time to compile! But since the package is quite big in size, compiling takes a LONG time – another 20 minutes of Saturday flew by with me waiting for something to happen. After all that wait, the installer was compiled – time to test! Everything seems to be working fine until it came to the part where the package should be copied into the installation directory – ERROR……..

Long story short: I spent around five hours that afternoon trying to get Asobo’s „out-of-the-box“ solution for an installer to work and even had my friend Raul from FSReborn look over my shoulder to figure out what was going wrong. We concluded that the installer from the SDK does not work without some major 64bit rework (if some of you got it to work, I’d love to hear from you!).

So….. change of plans – I’m now 2 hours behind my schedule. The new plan was to take the installer for the Blériot XI, which I wrote a year ago, and change to the Boeing. I got to work and had a working installer ready in about 30 minutes – should’ve done that earlier

Fast Servers

I knew that our web server will get bombarded with requests on launch day, so I tried to prepare it as best as I could. I booked upgrade-packages for our hosting plan for that day, to feather off the load (the database still couldn’t handle all the requests reliably 😬).

But more importantly, I wanted the downloads to happen in a timely fashion and so I implemented an external download service for the big installer files. I decided on using Amazon’s S3 servers for this, and installed plugins to our website that would handle the download requests. Unfortunately, I did run into yet another hiccup, when I saw that the download links got flagged by the browser for being unsafe. Luckily, I got some help from an AWS expert out of the community of the Flying Fabio who helped trouble-shoot the problem.

After all this ordeal, just a few minutes past midnight I unlocked the Boeing 247D in our shop, and without even saying a single word we made the first sales…..

Troublesome Servers…

Allow me to change the time-line a bit. You might have noticed an outage of our web-server over the past weekend and I want to explain what happened. I was really happy with the service of the Amazon web servers – downloads were super-fast, no matter the number of requests.

Then on Thursday I received an email from AWS, telling me that they placed my account on hold, I needed to update my payment information and I have until the middle of next week to do so. I had trouble with the credit card I used before, so I set up a different bank connection, sent the email and thought that would resolve this issue. Two days later, I received an email from AWS telling me that my account is now suspended and I need to provide payment information, pay any open bills and email them to have it reinstated.

I logged into their website to double check if I was missing anything. Nope – it’s all there. The new credit card is listed and marked „default“, there are no unpaid bills. I also checked with my bank and saw that Amazon charged me $1 to that credit card for validation. Meanwhile, Amazon switched off my download service, meaning I now have a whole lot of customers that can’t receive their product – what a nightmare! So on top of the support-tickets (read below), I now had to spent hours emailing our customers alternative download links and I honestly hope that I didn’t miss any of you (there were A LOT of emails to answer!).

Meanwhile, throughout the whole weekend I’ve been trying to get Amazon to reinstate my account that they suspended for absolutely no reason whatsoever. But the only thing I got out of them was „please make sure to do all the steps laid out in the email from the 8th of April.“ – „done that. Could you reinstate it now please?“ – „sorry, but only the verification team can do that“ – „can you get me in touch with the verification team?“ – „no, I’m sorry“. What was even more stress-inducing about this ordeal was the fact that they gave me until Monday, or they’ll shut down our account…

The problem was eventually resolved on Monday, after yet another marathon-session with the support of AWS. So luckily, everything is up and running again and the downloads are as speedy as before!

Support tickets. So many support tickets!

After this short excursion, let’s get back to the original time-line and what happened immediately after the launch of our Boeing 247D.

Without having made any public announcement, you awesome people started purchasing the aircraft on our website and I am still blown away by the overwhelming support, praises and congratulatory messages we received. But of course, there’s also the other side – with a complex product like our 247D, comes an increase of questions and other support-related issues. To this day, I still have around 400 unanswered emails in my inbox, because despite me working through them each day, including the weekends, the pile just slowly decreases in size.

I would therefore still ask you to be patient with us if you have an open support ticket. I’ll do my best to answer everything, but it might just take some time…

Closing thoughts

I want to thank each and every one of you who contributed to the initial success of our add-on, it means the world to me that we have your support! We will never get tired of seeing videos on YouTube or Twitch, and reading your comments and marveling at your screenshots of our creation.

We also received some valid criticism, and are aware of some issues with our aircraft. A few days ago, I took some time to write up some of the issues we’re currently working on and posted those on the official MSFS forum. So rest assured – we’re not done yet and keep working on making our add-on better and suss out the remaining issues.

– Otmar

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