Its official name is Microsoft Flight Simulator (their official Facebook is here), and a few people, youtubers, content creators, journalists went to Seattle and met with a part of the developers to get many details. They have been also able to fly a pre-Alpha version.
Information have spread everywhere, and it’s good to take a pause, sum up the confirmed facts and features.. This may avoid you to read dozens of webpages, watch dozens of videos, and read dozens of pages in a forum with mixed information.
It’s the key where Flight Simulator will hit other competitors. It will set the new standard of the next generation in PC flight simulation.
- 2 PetaBytes (= 2,000 TeraBytes of world scenery)
- No local storage on your hard disk, but scenery data streaming via Internet then local rendering on your PC. 3 modes available for the streaming :
- Adaptive Streaming : maximum scenery data details upon your Internet connection speed and reliability
- Fully Offline Mode : no Internet required, you fly the default scenery provided out of the box, still good enough for VFR but with much less storage required than 2 PB!
- Pre-Cache Mode : same scenery data than with the Adaptative Streaming mode, with all details, but you download a selected area before your flight performed without any Internet connection.
- Combination of Microsoft Bing maps for the terrain textures and elevation data (LOD 19) with procedural 3D generation of buildings (of all sorts : houses, industrial, plants, sheds, piers..), trees, water, dirt, grass, roads, lights upon the terrain analysis
- Streaming strength and world generation made possible with new technology named Azure and an advanced Artificial Intelligency for the terrain analysis.
- 40,000 airports and 400 HD cities included
- Smooth and natural transition day / night without textures loading effects
Aircraft and Cockpit
- New instruments data : new analog gauges and glass cockpit
- New GPS and FMS
- Touch screens simulation
- Interactive and automatic check-lists (optional) with camera zoom-in to the panel that needs a check or control, popup tips will help beginners
- New cockpit lights
- Support of flight sticks, yokes, pedals and other devices
- Multi-display support
- Shared cockpit is only an idea they are thinking about
- General aviation and jets included
- Helicopters : none at the moment, maybe later
Environment and Simulator Engine
- Based on the FSX core with many and vastly revamped systems
- New sky simulation engine
- Particle effects : rain droplets, run on your windshield according to speed and wind conditions
- Precise localization : see rain forming, clouds shaping, and fly through it
- New air mass simulation :
- many different layers in atmosphere,
- wind movements based on the landscape shapes and elevation
- updrafts/downdrafts simulation,
- windshear, blow, wingtip vortices, wake turbulence behind other aircraft simulated and affecting precise parts of your body
- New flight dynamics : 1000 surfaces analyzed on your aircraft model, friction / braking / skidding advanced settings.
- New collision model
- 600 km drawing distance ( about 323 nm, 372 miles )
- Physically Based Rendering (PBR) materials : advanced visuals of shiny surfaces, lights behaviour changes upon surface material, shape and the weather/lights conditions
- All environmental elements can be lit or reflected in the water, the clouds, shaded
- Dynamic shadows and reflections
- 4K display
- Dynamic camera included
- No Raytracing technology support ( of the latest graphics cards )
- DirectX 11 library
- Improved audio system
- No VR support at launch, maybe later
- The development of the new Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) started 5 years ago in secret.
- The game studios is Asobo, a French company already author of The Crew 2, Zoo Tycoon.. as big as 100 team members, all currently working on the simulator.
- Microsoft still communicates a lot on his commitment to the flight sim community, including third party developers
- A legacy mode will be included to ease the use of older add-ons (that were SDK compliant we guess, forget about advanced airliners with custom coded systems)
- Microsoft Flight Simulator is clearly oriented to the hardcore simmers on PC. The Xbox version is an adaptation. Rookies will be guided to get their wings.
- No release date, no PC hardware requirements, no pricing information for now.