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Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator

Genre: Simulator
Developer: Asobo Studio
Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date:
August 2020
Wednesday, 17 November 2021
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 12:05am 17/11/21 | 0 Comments
With its Game of the Year Edition dropping this week, not to mention the first expansion with Reno Air Races, we got the chance to speak with Jorg Neuman, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator to chat about both of those things, the recent console launch, and get a glimpse of what’s on the horizon.

A snippet.

One of the most exciting aspects of Microsoft Flight Simulator, especially for fans, is that Asobo not only communicates its plans for the immediate future but listens and keeps track of community requests and feedback. Since the game’s announcement, one of the things players have been asking for is the addition of fighter jets. With a separate bit of content set to debut alongside the new Top Gun next year, the Game of the Year Edition sees the arrival of the very first fighter jet - the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Basically the sort of plane you need a callsign like Iceman or Maverick to pilot.

“One of the features that kept popping up [in community requests] was jets,” Jorg explains. “There are some from third parties in the marketplace, but we felt like it was important to provide something in the base version.” Compared to regular planes, adding a fighter jet into Flight Simulator presented enough of a challenge that the team had to make sure the game could handle that sort of speed.

“We had to make sure that engine was ready so that you can go over Mach 1 (1234.8 km/hr), and not only that but go over the terrain at that speed,” Jorg continues. “That puts pressure on the streaming engine, so we did all of that optimisation. There was also quite a bit of research we had to do for fighter jets, work out Sonic Booms and things like that. We’ve spent a lot of time just on this one plane, it's been in production for a year and a half if not longer. But, we wanted to get it right and that’s important to us.”

Our Full Microsoft Flight Simulator Interview
Wednesday, 20 October 2021
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 05:02pm 20/10/21 | 0 Comments
Microsoft Flight Simulator continues to evolve as the ultimate platform for digital simming. After its stellar PC debut last year and Xbox Series X and S launch a short while ago, developer Asobo has outlined what will be available in the upcoming Game of the Year Edition coming to PC and Consoles on November 18.

As per the headline the update will being early support for DirectX 12 on PC, which should pave the way for ongoing performance improvements and optimisations on the platform. With its stunning visuals and realistic representation of the planet on which we all live it should come as no surprise that Flight Sim is the sort of game that pushes rigs to their absolute limit. DirectX 12 sports advanced features to improve rendering, with something like VRS being perfect for boosting performance. And with DirectX 12 we'd love to see the implementation of things like NVIDIA DLSS and AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution tech.

As for the game itself there's plenty more coming; new airports, more discovery flights, more planes, expanded tutorials, and even support for the brand-new Windows 11.

Here's the breakdown from Jorg Neumann, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator.

New Aircraft

Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet: Our first military jet and a highly requested feature from the community. The Top Gun: Maverick expansion will release with the movie next Spring, but we wanted simmers to have the opportunity to test their need for speed this holiday.

VoloCity: We partnered with well-known German company Volocopter, which is working on an eVTOL called “VoloCity”, a vision for an urban air taxi. We worked closely with the Volocopter engineering team to develop an authentic version of the prototype aircraft for the simulator. This is our first aircraft that can perform pinpoint landings and is a teaser of what you can look forward to in 2022 when we intend to launch helicopters in the sim.

Pilatus PC-6 Porter: This legendary short takeoff and landing (STOL) utility aircraft is a highly versatile plane from Switzerland and comes with several cockpits, cabins, and landing gear variations. It is the result of our close collaboration with the manufacturer and the development efforts by famed developers Hans Hartmann and Alexander Metzger resulted in a great and fun new aircraft with exception capabilities in the simulator.

CubCrafters NX Cub: Yakima-based CubCrafters recently introduced a nosewheel option for their flagship CC-19 XCub Aircraft, popularly called the NX Cub, which we are pleased to introduce to the flight sim audience to further enhance our bush flying and off airport options.

Aviat Pitts Special S1S: One of our most popular planes gets a single-seat option with the release of this aircraft.

New Airports

Germany - Leipzig/Halle Airport (EDDP), Allgäu Airport Memmingen (EDJA), Kassel Airport (EDVK)
Switzerland - Lugano Airport (LSZA), Zurich Airport (LSZH), Luzern-Beromunster Airport (LSZO)
United States - Patrick Space Force Base (KCOF), Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (KNKX)

New Missions

Based on the popularity of the recently introduced Discovery Flights, we are adding an additional 6 locations (Helsinki, Freiburg im Breisgau, Mecca, Monument Valley, Singapore, and Mount Cook) to this popular series.

New Tutorials

To further expand the onboarding experience, we are adding 14 new tutorials, introducing simmers to Bush flying (in an Icon A5) and IFR (in a Cessna 172).

New Features

We are also pleased to introduce several highly requested features by the community: an updated weather system, early access to DX12, and a dev mode replay system.

New Photogrammetry Cities

As part of our ongoing collaboration with Bing Maps, we are pleased to add a number of new photogrammetry cities: Helsinki (Finland), Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), Brighton, Derby, Eastbourne, Newcastle, and Nottingham (UK) and Utrecht (Netherlands).

In addition to the above, the first paid expansion 'Reno Air Races' also launches on November 18.
Wednesday, 25 August 2021
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 12:22pm 25/08/21 | 0 Comments
A new partnership with the RARA (Reno Air Racing Association) is bringing what's being described as the "world’s fastest motorsport" to Microsoft Flight Simulator. On the account of planes being a lot faster than cars (800+ km/hour), with the aircraft looking to be customised for a brand new Reno Air Races expansion bringing competitive multiplayer to the sim.

Available later this year, the Reno Air Races expansion pack might be the first bit of paid-DLC for the game. Here's a teaser.

Coming for free, and on September 7, is World Update VI - covering Germany, Austria and Switzerland. With brand-new 3D cities and more detailed environments recreated from aerial imagery and high-resolution elevation maps it brings a new level of detail to several locations. Around 100 locations have been hand-crafted by the team including several airports.

Check it out.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 12:48pm 27/07/21 | 0 Comments
And by amazing we mean it, with the custom powered July suitcase (that also looks like a console) featuring an Xbox Series S inside, an incredible portable USB-C display from ASUS, two controllers, and the cables you need to have a high-end portable Microsoft Flight Simulator experience.

The giveaway is happening via Twitter. As per the T&C's it's worth a whopping $3,282 AUD.

Having received our very own pack earlier today we can confirm that this is legit amazing.

Friday, 2 July 2021
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 03:36pm 02/07/21 | 0 Comments
Though real-time ray-tracing is set to arrive once Microsoft Flight Simulator makes the jump to DirectX 12. Which is still TBC for PC. First up, coinciding with the sim's Xbox Series X debut later this month, the sim is set to get a massive performance bump thanks to the optimisations made over the past year.

With the example given as part of the latest dev stream seeing a jump in the range of 20-30 frames-per-second. Basically it shifts the balance in favour of the GPU - where a 4K version of the game (upscaled) running on a NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2060 SUPER goes from 30-40fps in the current version up to 60fps.

Yeah, awesome. Here the CPU usage also drops whilst the GPU is given the work-out it craves - rendering the visual splendor of MSFS's digital Earth. Again, as the team at Asobo has been busy optimising for console, this means those architectural changes will benefit PC. This new performance patch is set to drop in Update 5, which should go live around the same time the Xbox Series X and S versions drop.
Friday, 18 June 2021
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 04:23pm 18/06/21 | 0 Comments
With the Xbox Series X debut of Microsoft Flight Simulator on track for a July 27 release, the game is also getting its latest World Update with the Nordic region in Europe getting a visual make-over. Covering Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden - the following trailer showcases the architectural and natural wonder of the region.

"World Update V: Nordics includes improvements in detail of broad swaths of landscapes, enhancements to regional architecture, improved data for 100 airports and 78 carefully selected points of interest," writes Jorg Neumann, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator. "This update also features five bush trips, one for each of the Nordic countries, that show off some the very best elements of these destinations."

The update also includes five new landing challenges set in the stunning locales of Denmark’s Bornholm, Iceland’s Ísafjörður, Sweden’s Stockholm Arlanda, Norway’s Svalbard, and Finland’s Vaasa Airports.

World Update V: Nordics is free to all Microsoft Flight Simulator users.
Monday, 31 May 2021
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:22pm 31/05/21 | 1 Comments
Going from over 170GB down to the more manageable 83GB, with the developers at Asobo noting that is has "performed some optimisation". And how! As per our in-depth chat with Jorg Neuman, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator, from earlier this year, when discussing the upcoming Xbox Series X version, he noted “We literally went through every model, we looked at every buffer and it was shocking how much memory we found."

No doubt this new PC update was born from those optimisations made for the console launch -- which is happening sometime in the next couple of months.

The patch notes for the update are quite extensive, covering things like reduced weather bandwidth alongside many other fixes to navigation and planes.

Head here to read them in full.

And here's your reminder that Microsoft Flight Simulator is truly stunning in motion.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 03:36pm 17/02/21 | 0 Comments
And of course, there's a stunning 4K trailer to celebrate the release. World Update 3 for Microsoft Flight Simulator continues the focus on enhancing visuals, scenery, and airports found across the world. With the UK and Ireland given the update treatment new high-resolution 3D photogrammetry has brought just about photo-real detail to castles, soccer stadiums, and that place aliens built - Stonehenge.

Here's the 4K trailer highlighting the update.

And here's Jorg Neumann, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator going through the visual updates.
World Update 3: United Kingdom & Ireland features high-resolution 3D photogrammetry for the renowned cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, London and Oxford, five new meticulously hand-crafted airports (Barra, Liverpool, Land’s End, Manchester-Barton and Out Skerries), visual and logistical improvements to 85 more area airports, and improved digital elevation information across the U.K.

In addition, we’ve added compelling architectural elements throughout the region, ranging from British manors and Victorian homes to countryside stone structures, castles and churches – and even some drive-thru restaurants. In addition, over 70 custom landmarks and points of interest bring stunning new levels of detail and fidelity to some of the world’s most famous landmarks and bridges, regal palaces, breathtaking cathedrals … and, of course, football stadiums.

In addition to the above the update introduces a pair of regional Landing Challenges in addition to an Iconic Flight. Microsoft Flight Simulator is available for PC and headed to Xbox Series X and S this year. For more be sure to read our recent in-depth interview with Jorg Neumann - Microsoft Flight Simulator - The Past, Present, and Future - where we cover the game's development, milestones, and what's in store in the months (and years) ahead.

GAME TRIVIA - Did You Know?

In 2020 the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator blew people away with its stunning visuals, but it required a high-end PC to get the most of its scenery. This is a tradition that dates back to the original Microsoft Flight Simulator released in 1982, where if a PC could run the game it could handle pretty much anything.

Would you like to know more?

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Tuesday, 2 February 2021
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 05:39pm 02/02/21 | 0 Comments
We sit down with Jorg Neuman, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator, to talk about the game’s development, launch, Xbox Series X release, and what’s in store for the future. Also, a shared appreciation for Pilotwings 64.

When Microsoft announced that there was a new Microsoft Flight Simulator game coming in 2020, many were left stunned. Not only by the fact that one of the longest franchises in the industry was making a return -- the series hadn’t seen an official release in over a decade at that point -- but specifically, that announcement trailer. It delivered exactly what a flight simulator could look like in the modern era -- beautiful, breathtaking, cutting edge.

Flight sim’s return would see it land with its cargo hold full of high-end visual effects, real-world data, satellite imagery, photogrammetry, and all manner of tech wizardry.

“I’ve told this story a few times, but the first time I showed the game internally at Microsoft to Phil [Spencer] and the Xbox team they didn't recognise that it was a game at all,” Jorg Neuman, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator tells me. “They thought I was showing them a video. That was the first indication, where we felt that we had transcended something. In the many meetings I had with Phil after that, he said time and again, ‘Man, it just doesn't look like a game’.”

Our Full Microsoft Flight Simulator Deep Dive Interview
Monday, 21 December 2020
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:44pm 21/12/20 | 0 Comments
Microsoft Flight Simulator is getting its highly anticipated VR update this week, arriving just in time for the holidays with support for all headsets and VR setups. As per our review we noted that the game/sim was something of a platform, an experience that will grow and evolve over many years. On that front mid next year the Xbox Series X version is due for release, in addition to more content updates that will improve its already stunning recreation of the entire planet.

And it's this side of Flight Sim that makes the over 2 million player count something worth highlighting, especially when it arrives with some truly fascinating stats.

As per above, even with 2 million players only 72% of Earth has been seen in-game. Meaning there's almost 30% of the planet on which we all live, with all of the game's insane satellite and rendering tech, that remains unseen. Very cool. Elsewhere the stats show that pilots have taken flight over 50 million times with the distance traveled being the equivalent of 19 round trips from the Earth to the Sun.

Related: Microsoft Flight Simulator Review - A Stunning Technical Achievement

"As we’ve said time and time again, our launch in 2020 was only the beginning of our journey with Microsoft Flight Simulator," writes Jorg Neumann, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator. "We are excited to carry this momentum into 2021 – we will launch on Xbox Series X|S in the summer, we are planning 3 large updates to the simulation, and we will update the world 4-5 times with additional World Updates (as well as a few other surprises we have planned)."
Friday, 11 December 2020
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:27pm 11/12/20 | 0 Comments
Mid next year or "Summer 2021" as they like to call it up there in the northern hemisphere. Which you can visit in Microsoft Flight Simulator on the account of it featuring the entire planet to explore. As per our review from earlier this year the experience is nothing short of incredible. And as part of the console announcement Microsoft also debuted a new trailer featuring 4K footage running on an Xbox Series X.

And it looks incredible.

Today, we’re excited to share that Microsoft Flight Simulator will come to life on the Xbox Series X|S this summer. Simmers on Xbox Series X|S can expect the same level of depth as the PC version, allowing you to experience the most authentic and realistic flight simulator we have ever created.

From light planes to wide-body jets, you’ll test your piloting skills against the challenges of real-time weather including accurate wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, rain, and lighting – all in a dynamic and living world. With the power of satellite data and cloud-based AI, you’ll travel the entire planet in amazing detail with over 37 thousand airports, 2 million cities, 1.5 billion buildings, real mountains, roads, trees, rivers, animals, traffic, and more.

Naturally the game will also hit Xbox Series S. Now, to get technical for a moment, as the PC release was running on the DirectX 11 API - performance was and still is an issue even on the most high-end of rigs. Even the new GeForce RTX 3080 struggles when you try to run it in 4K. This is to say that the flight sim has probably been given a DX12 overhaul for the new console architecture. Which should come to the PC version too.

Not a simple port, this is the full Microsoft Flight Simulator experience. Microsoft is also working with third-parties to bring peripherals like flight sticks and yokes and rudders to the Xbox Series X and S. Very cool.
Thursday, 3 December 2020
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:46pm 03/12/20 | 0 Comments
VR support in Microsoft Flight Simulator is set to go live on December 22, and it will work on all current VR headsets out there -- from Oculus to Valve to HTC. The full game, including menus, will be accessible from within VR too -- and with Flight Simulator being one of the most impressive sims ever released, no doubt this will be amazing to experience with future-goggles on.

Though we would have liked to see this coincide with a DirectX 12 and performance patch, as the game still punishes PCs - and for VR a high frame-rate is key.

In terms of other updates, in addition to the big and stunning USA World Update (seen above) and the Japan update, the next region set to be upgraded is Great Britain which will overhaul its depiction using new high-res data and more hand-crafted airports. That's due for release in January.

Still no word yet on the expected Xbox Series X release though we assume that has to be on the cards for next yet sometime. As one of the best games/sims/experiences of 2020 -- Microsoft Flight Simulator is something that will continue to grow for years to come.

Thursday, 22 October 2020
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 10:30am 22/10/20 | 0 Comments
Without a doubt, in terms of scope, tech, and visuals, and sheer features the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of the most impressive releases in years. As per our full review, it basically gives you a stunning planet to explore from up on high. That said some of the source data and footage (via Microsoft’s Bing) is a little mixed, leading to some locations not quite on par with others. Which has led to some players using the photogrammetry from Google Maps to create their own versions of real-world locations.

Namely Australia, which looks great but not on par with most other countries in Microsoft Flight Simulator. As per Reddit user High_Frame_Rates we can see the difference here with one of Melbourne’s most iconic locations - the MCG.

Now, how the above was achieved is rather complicated and very laborious (as seen in this thread) - but with full mod support it’s great to see players and fans using alternate methods to improve some Flight Simulator’s vast scenery. Though with Microsoft and Google being competitors we’re not sure how they’d take mods using Google data and imagery over Bing.
Wednesday, 14 October 2020
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 04:16pm 14/10/20 | 0 Comments
Microsoft Flight Simulator supports both professional and fan-made add-ons that, alongside regular updates, will ee the game thrive for many years to come. So far we've seen what a giant Godzilla figurine looks like in San Francisco, and now thanks to Twitter user Oh_Gaz we get to see a giant Xbox Series X console taking over Microsoft's HQ in Redmond, Washington.

With its tower-like shape seeing a 200-metre tall Series X doesn't look that out of place sitting there in the middle of Microsoft campus.

Okay, it does. But it looks pretty cool and casts a mean shadow. As of writing there's no mod page or link to download the asset - though hopefully one pops up soon. Although currently only available on PC, Microsoft Flight Simulator is headed to the Xbox Series X sometime in the future. One thing we didn't expect to see though, was the Xbox Series X arrive inside Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Monday, 5 October 2020
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 03:13pm 05/10/20 | 0 Comments
Microsoft Flight Simulator is nothing short of a stunning, providing the sort of scope we might have deemed impossible not all that long ago. And in a package that allows anyone to jump in and explore the globe - from up on high. In addition to the recent Japan World Update the team at Asobo are now allowing players to sign-up for the upcoming VR Closed Beta.

Which will surely add a new dimension and level of immersion to the impressive flight sim. As per the VR Closed Beta info page, the team is looking to get feedback on the new mode. Though you will need to fairly beefy rig in order to participate - an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 at a minimum - and provide that info via a DxDiag snapshot. Phase 1 of the Closed Beta will support Windows Mixed Reality HMDs with additional VR Headsets to be supported in Phase 2.

Head here for more info.

And on that note we'll leave you with this - the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator 'Around the World Tour' covering Europe. So gorgeous.

Friday, 25 September 2020
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 04:58pm 25/09/20 | 0 Comments
With Microsoft Flight Simulator's World Update I: Japan presenting what will no doubt be a string of improvements to the game's entire planet Earth players get to explore. Via high-resolution 3D photogrammetry, developer Asobo Studio and Xbox Game Studios have released a new trailer to showcase exactly what that means.

Stunning beauty.

The update features an upgraded digital elevation map across the entire country, high-resolution 3D photogrammetry for six prominent Japanese cities (Sendai, Takamatsu, Tokushima, Tokyo, Utsunomiya and Yokohama), and six handcrafted local airports (Hachijojima, Kerama, Kushiro, Nagasaki, Shimojishima, and Suwanosejima). Additionally, players will also be able to try their hand at executing a trio of exciting new Landing Challenges set at Japanese airports.

This update will be made available, for free, to all players on September 29.
Wednesday, 9 September 2020
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:42pm 09/09/20 | 0 Comments
Though this version of the giant dino-lizard, stalking the realistic San Francisco in the stunning Microsoft Flight Simulator, is merely a giant toy. Quite literally as the 3D model used is a Godzilla figurine, a giant statue of sorts in a possible San Fran thanks to modder Sergio Perea.

Available via Nexus Mods, this "scenery" addition to Microsoft Flight Simulator is a very cool example of what we can expect to see in the coming months and years. Realistic additions and mods that will add more real-world stuff to the game, as well as... Godzilla.

As per our full review, "As detailed in a recent preview session with developer Asobo, the studio and Xbox team at large view Microsoft Flight Simulator as a 10-year project. That is continual improvements made to its underlying technology, new features like VR support, a community-driven marketplace, new planes, more detailed locations, and a lot more."

And now we patiently wait for the alien invasion mod.
Friday, 21 August 2020
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 02:14pm 21/08/20 | 1 Comments
By now you might be growing a little tired of hearing about how impressive the scale and detail of Microsoft Flight Simulator is in terms of how, well, real it all looks and feels. Our full review here. But, thanks to the amazing efforts of YouTuber ElAnalistaDeBits -- which puts real world images (via AirPano) next to the exact same locations in Flight Simulator -- here's the final word.

Seriously mind blowing stuff.

When watching this my brain started to parse the real photos as in-game. I mean look at these comparison shots.

Post by KostaAndreadis @ 12:42pm 21/08/20 | 1 Comments
Well, that's what they would have you believe. As noticed by several budding pilots (and many more that have since made the pilgrimage), the infamous Melbourne Monolith found in the city's northern suburbs has been recreated in Microsoft Flight Simulator in all its 200+ story detail.

An oft overlooked world wonder, Ancient Alien Theorists believe it to be the home of Gorgax XXII -- Supreme Ruler of Earth Dimension 12G. As seen in this rare documentary footage from Conor O'Kane.

According to the Men In Black, the Melbourne site is the direct result of a typo -- where in Open Maps the two story structure was incorrectly labelled as 212 stories.

But we all know that Microsoft Flight Simulator is, as Morpheus so eloquently put, "the real" -- which led to its discovery by Alexander Muscat.

So, are we to believe that a game that draws on multiple petabytes of data had a small typo within that stream of ones and zeroes? As far fetched as that may seem. Or, has a secret inter-dimensional portal jutting out into the heavens, covered up by the media for centuries, finally been exposed?

As mere reporters we cannot say for sure. But as Foxy Mulder would say, the truth is out there.
Monday, 17 August 2020
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 05:24pm 17/08/20 | 20 Comments
A stunning technical achievement and a hardcore simulator that is both approachable and transcendent. We took to the skies over the course of dozens of hours with Microsoft Flight Simulator and marveled at the miracle of flight, our planet, and how developer Asobo and the Xbox team delivered one of the year's defining experiences.

The latest instalment in the long running Flight Simulator series from Microsoft continues the trend of being as focused on ensuring the propeller on a Cessna 152 is the same dimension, size, and weight of its real-world counterpart as it is presenting the sort of distance and scale we rarely see in digital form. In 2020, Microsoft Flight Simulator leverages technology that feels as much of our current place and time as it does the immediate and distant future.

From small towns to large cities, high-resolution satellite imagery is then processed by sophisticated AI to let Skynet-by-the-way-of-Azure cloud computing recreate structural and environmental shapes, heights, and detail without the need for an individual to go in and spend months modelling Sunshine West in Melbourne. It’s impressive to say the least. But again, throw in scale – as in the entire planet Earth – and the mind boggles. Especially when real-world weather tracking and entire systems that ensure clouds look and behave realistically, in addition to how wind affects your craft depending on which side of the mountain you’re flying, are also in place.

Our Full Microsoft Flight Simulator Review