Category Archives: MVP

I made MVP yet again

Yeah! I guess that means that I need to get on the ball again with regards to my interaction with the community … I promise I’ll do better!


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MVP Summit 2008: Extracurricular activities

I had some free time on Thursday afternoon after the summit was over, so a buddy named Justin Lamb drove to Seattle and graciously allowed me to hang out with him until it was time for me to leave Seattle. We started out with a quick jaunt over to Kerry Park in the Queen Anne district. I snapped this photo there…

While at Kerry Park, Justin had the grand idea of heading up to Everett to tour the Boeing Factory. So off we went!

No cameras or cell phones were allowed on the tour so I have no pictures to share of the inside, but it looks just like this. There were several 777’s on the ramp that had just been painted and were testing engines. Next stop on the activities list was a visit to Kenmore Air at KBFI…

Justin has a few friends who fly for Kenmore Air (including Mike Lambert) who were kind enough to let us out onto the ramp. It began to rain heavily almost as soon as we walked out, but I was able to capture a brand-new 737 on departure.

We then dined at Duke’s Chowder House in Alki before I had to get to SEATAC for my flight home. If you have a chance to eat at Duke’s, the Cajun Chicken Corn Chowder in a Sourdough bread bowl is highly recommended! The trip ended very much on a high note and I’m looking forward to my next trip there!

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MVP Summit 2008: ACES visit

This year’s MVP Summit had FS MVPs spend not one but two full days with members of ACES Studios. The first thing that I noticed while walking into their new offices at Willows was all of the ample room available to them now. Each "cluster" had its own common area. Here is what I found in the Flight Sim team’s common area.

Yep, nothing like a bit of Rock Band to make the day go by. While on the quick tour that Hal gave us on our first few moments in the studio, I picked up on a few other things…

I’m not disclosing where I found the Sarcasm poster, but I’m sure it is not all that hard to figure out. All along the walls all over the studio, there are images from FSX and Acceleration showing different objects and scenes. I was delighted when I found that the Eaglesoft FSX Twin Comanche was there!

On day one, we had the opportunity to speak with Brandon Seltz and Pat Cook. They are both on the design team for Flight Sim, so they used this opportunity to give us an overview of where the franchise is going. Though I cannot mention what was discussed, I can say that the future looks very bright. Here are Brandon and Pat.

Next up was a meeting with Todd Landstad on the ESP team. He gave us some very interesting mash-up demos between ESP and Microsoft Virtual Earth. For example, he set up a camera in ESP to mimic the behavior of the camera within VE, therefore you could pinpoint a location in VE and then show that exact location within ESP – all by using a relatively simple SimConnect utility that he coded in a matter of hours. Todd also mentioned that ESP is getting an entire section devoted to it on Microsoft’s MSDN. Here are two images from that meeting.

Mike Lambert from Testing came to speak with us for a bit on how things have changed in that arena of the Studio, now that they are all in 4 distinct sections now: Core, Flight Sim, Train Sim, and ESP. He has remained on the Flight Sim team along with two others.

Dale "Snort" Snodgrass was in the studio working on a project and he wanted the MVPs to see what was going on. I had just finished flying when he wanted to pose with me for a photo op. Very cool!

The following are some other pictures from the visit. The first is all of the FS MVPs in front of Willows: Kwonseok Park (from Korea), Katy Pluta, myself & Nick Whittome. The others, well, speak for themselves. Thanks so much Hal & team for a great experience!

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Here at the Summit

 I am here! Today marked the beginning of the Summit, with a great keynote by former MVP General Manager Sean O’Driscoll on Web 2.0. I briefly ran into Nick while shuffling about – I’ll be catching up with him again on Wednesday. I’m taking lots of photos and I’ll be sharing them when I get a chance. Tomorrow as well as Wednesday, I’ll be spending time with Hal and the ACES team. I can’t wait!

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MVP Summit 2008 right around the corner

Next month, I’m headed to Seattle for my second MVP Summit. I am excited about this year’s format versus last year. The time I spent with ACES team members last year was quite limited due to how the whole event was organized. All Games for Windows MVPs were grouped together, which didn’t quite work IMHO. Those who are more in to MMOG’s and casual type games are not too interested in Simulation, and vice versa. This year, the Game for Windows MVPs who are specialized ACES Studio’s products are being split off from the main G4W group, getting 2 full days with Hal and the ACES team! Like last year, I’ll be sure to document the visit to the new studios at Willows complete with pictures – at least those that I’ll be able to share publicly.

Hopefully as a result of this trip, I’ll consider myself not only a Flight Sim MVP, but an all-encompasing ACES MVP. I intend to get very familiar with what’s going on with Train Sim 2 and ESP while I am there. Who’ll be there?  Brian Gefrich will be in attendance. Brian and are going to be roomates. New this year, MS offered an extra night’s stay on their dime and $100 to spend in the MS Company Store for sharing rooms with other attendees. This will be the first time I’ve met Brian face-to-face and I’m looking forward to getting to know him better. That wild and crazy ‘nakedMVP‘ Nick Whittome will also be there and I’ll get to meet him for the first time in person as well. To ACES and fellow MVPs, I’ll see you in a few weeks!

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I made MVP for 2008!

I am deeply honored to again be included as Game for Windows MVP for 2008 with the email I received today:

Dear Owen Hewitt,

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2008 Microsoft® MVP Award! The MVP Award is our way of saying thank you for promoting the spirit of community and enhancing people’s lives and the industry’s success every day. Your extraordinary efforts in Windows – PC Games technical communities during the past year are greatly appreciated.

Sadly, I hear that my friend Joel DeYoung did not make it this year.

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More pictures from the MVP Summit

The first event was a technology expo, where we all could meet up with our MVP Leads and get introduced to fellow MVPs within each technology group. From left to right, MVP Lead Tyler Welch, myself, and fellow G4W MVP, Ho Yin Au.

Bill Gates giving his Key Note address on Tuesday morning.

The MVP party was held at the Museum of Flight.  The entire place was reserved for this gathering, and food & drinks were plentiful! 

Probably the closest I’ll get to space walking.

The flight simulator lab in the Aviation Learning CenterEaglesoft donated the Cirrus SR-20 G2 software used within FS 2004.  The Aviation Learning Center is visited by over 200 groups of school children from grade 4 thru 12 during the course of a year. 

Ah, somewhere I’m very comfortable being.

Say "cheese."

Ho Yin and I looking over the VFR map for the Seattle area in the flight planning lab.

Screens of FSX on the walls of ACES Studios.

The tour group hanging on every word from Hal. 

A peek into one of the developer’s office – what a mess of cable!

The joystick graveyard.  I wonder how many actually still work. 

One of the test labs at ACES.

Special thanks to Kester for the photos! 🙂

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MVP Summit Opening video

Out of the 250+ photos submitted for this video, mine was one of the 80 or so that made the cut! Look for me about 17 seconds in…

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Polypoke has been mirrored!

As Nick has mentioned, I’ve had this blog mirrored over at to much of Nick’s pleasure (he’s been trying to get me over there for a while). It is actually pretty neat in that it uses this site’s RSS feed, so it’s on autopilot. Very cool!  Maybe this will result in more readership – who knows!  Thanks to Susan for the help! 

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MVP Global Summit countdown!

One of the great opportunities presented to Microsoft MVPs is the invitation to attend the (nearly)annual Global Summit. This year’s summit is set to kick-off March 12th – 16th, just two weeks to go!  From what I understand, this will the biggest ever, with some +1,700 in attendance from all over the world – talk about a technological melting pot for a week! One of the highlights of the event this year is having a Keynote address done by Bill Gates. How cool is that? I’m due to arrive there mid-day Monday, flying out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and leave early that following Friday.

This year’s MVP Party will be held on Tuesday night at the Museum of Flight, on Boeing Field, and being that I’m an FS MVP, I couldn’t have dreamed of a better venue for it!  The visit will also include a visit to ACES Studios, where I’ll be able to reunite with some of the team members I know, and meet some that I do not.  I will not be able to speak of what I see while there, so don’t ask (sorry)!  If I do run across anything I can pass along, I’ll be sure to do so here, but that’s very unlikely.

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