A long, long time ago (back in 1982), Microsoft came up with the first iteration for Microsoft Flight Simulator. It looked amazing for that era and featured unrivaled 3D graphics!
It was the start of a whole lineage of popular flight sims.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I did not get to experience the joy in flight sims until very recently.
However, even if things look different nowadays, I’m 100% sure that the feeling of accomplishment for taking off the runway was the same as today’s.
Sure, the game grew over time. Immensely.
Better graphics, more planes, more buildings, better flight mechanics, multiplayer.
But at its core, the fun of the hobbyist flight sim experience is definitely the sense of achievement you get for taking off, landing and the idea of freedom, movement, and control (or lack thereof).
I won’t lie. To me, that’s not enough to truly enjoy flight simming. I love the notion of purpose in a sim.
I decided to turn the sim into a game – by adding an objective!
Make it a game!
During my streams on Twitch and Youtube, I did a trip around the world using Microsoft Flight Simulator X and FSEconomy.
FSE allows you to rent planes and do cargo runs. What usually happened was that I would rent a plane and do short cargo runs from one place to another. I started back in Iceland with a small Cessna 172 hauling mail.
I ended up transporting tourists in Brazil, by going through the eastern coasts of Canada, the US, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Colombia, Venezuela and, finally, Brazil. My plan was to make the cross to Africa, but I couldn’t yet afford a plane large enough to cross the Atlantic. What an adventure!
FSEconomy changed the way I saw flight simulation forever.
Over time, graphics have improved drastically. They went from being an IFR flight mechanics simulation to becoming a true world representation simulator which featured accurate flight mechanics.
The new Microsoft Flight Simulator trailer seems to showcase just that.
I’m sure that there’s a lot more to the whole.
But the graphics engine and the weather effects are the real stars in this E3 trailer.
I usually don’t fly large planes.
I get excited by the beautiful landscape and the prospect of doing short hops towards a far-away destination.
The detailed scenery is vital for VFR (low-altitude visual) flights.
Microsoft seems to have nailed this in the previous trailer, by showcasing VERY detailed scenery.
The pyramids in Egipt, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the Seattle Space Needle are rendered in very high detail.
More than that, it features outstanding (and massive) cloud formations and weather effects. It also shows detailed traffic that is sure to melt CPUs and GPUs everywhere.
To me, however, it is the dynamic details that tease me the most. The pink flamingos flying over the coral area or the giraffes on the plateau demonstrate unprecedented attention to detail towards fauna and flora in different regions of the world.
I’m also expecting Virtual Reality and Multiplayer to be included by default. One can also hope for some degree of mod compatibility with previous releases.
The eternal wait
Microsoft took too long between Flight Simulator versions. The last one, Flight Simulator X was released back in 2006. It was effectively being laid as an improvement to its predecessor, Flight Simulator 2004.
This 13-year hiatus has led to Microsoft losing its unbeaten lead in the world of flight sims.
Nowadays, X-Plane, P3D (a third-party updated FSX version) and AeroflyFS2 are major contenders for the title (Dovetail’s Flight Sim World now excluded!). In the past few years, combat flight sims have also resurged with games like DCS, War Thunder or World of Warplanes.
Nevertheless, the impact of FSX in the flight sim universe was huge – and any new version that Microsoft puts forward will be regarded with hope and expectation.
It will be a few more years until the mod community catches up to the new flight sim. But the prospect of having a brand new engine capable of doing new things is very enticing for every flight sim enthusiast.
Now that we finally have some serious competition from other contenders, it should also spark innovation in the coming years.
Looking forward to the future!
What are your thoughts on this?
-How will Microsoft Flight Simulator succeed in the current Flight Simming scene?
-Do you think that the focus on low-altitude visuals will affect the jetliner flight experience?
I will be sharing more details on this title as they become available.
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Answer in the comments below!
Oh! And make sure you check out my previous post on Microsoft Flight Simulator and how flight sims landed on me!
Clear skies everyone!