Since its release in August 2020, Microsoft Flight Simulator has become a sensation, attracting millions of aviation enthusiasts around the world. In almost three years, the simulator has garnered an astonishing 20 million users, far surpassing its predecessor, Flight Simulator X, which took 16 years to reach 5 million users. This impressive growth can be attributed to the continuous innovation and dedication of the development team at Microsoft and Asobo Studio.
AVIATION ACTIVITIES AND PILOT CAREER
One of the key focuses of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 is to enhance the aviation experience. The simulator aims to replicate the actual tasks and activities that pilots engage in during flights. The activities that they want to introduce will cover a wide variety of actions with airplanes and helicopters : transport passengers and freight of course, but also search and rescue missions, fly to remote destinations, very special cargo, private taxi pilot, and all this stuff will make part of the new career system implemented by default in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024.
CORE SIM AND TECHNOLOGY
From managing various aircraft systems, including electrical, pneumatic, fuel, and hydraulic systems, to experiencing failures and wear and tear, the new simulator offers also a more realistic and immersive experience. Additionally, a deeper and wider range of avionics packages, along with a cockpit tablet by default, further enhance the authenticity of the aviation activity.
To address the feedback received from users, the development team is working on improving the core simulation and technology of the simulator. Updates and optimizations are being made to reduce the simulator’s disk space requirements, ensuring it can be comfortably accommodated on standard computers. A significant part of this effort involves utilizing cloud-based infrastructure, allowing only the necessary components to be downloaded, minimizing internet and hard drive usage. The ultimate goal is to reduce download, loading, and update times, providing a seamless experience for users.
PHYSICS IMPROVEMENT AND NEW AERODYNAMICS ENGINE
The introduction of a new physics and aerodynamics engine is a game-changer for aircraft creators. This engine grants them unparalleled control over the behavior of aircraft, with improvements in rigid and soft body dynamics, as well as the simulation of various materials such as tissues and ropes. This improvement will allow an accurate simulation of hot air ballon physics. Furthermore, the new engine is designed to take advantage of multi-threaded and multi-core CPUs, resulting in massive performance improvements.
WORLD WEATHER AND VISUALS
A notable addition to Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 is the inclusion of a digital twin. Machine learning techniques are employed to create more realistic landscapes, with the ability to detect surface types and incorporate custom-colored rocks and detailed materials maps. This technology is particularly beneficial for regions of the world where retrieving data is challenging. By utilizing satellite imagery analysis through machine learning, the simulator can generate detailed world designs, offering stunning visual fidelity with a final resolution as fine as 50cm. The inclusion of a static world, enhanced with a variety of 3D trees, improved cliffs resolution, and seasonal changes, adds further depth and realism to the environment.
Moreover, the new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator introduces significant enhancements to various aspects of the simulation. Visual improvements include enhanced aurora borealis, storms, tornados, and the introduction of animal herds and migration, making the world feel more alive. Live Air Traffic, as well as vehicle and ship traffic, have also been significantly improved to create a more vibrant and realistic environment.
COMPATIBILITY FROM MSFS 2020 TO MSFS 2024
To address concerns about compatibility with existing add-ons, Microsoft and Asobo Studio have assured the community that most of the current aircraft and sceneries will work directly with the new version in 2024. Only if third-party developers wish to implement new visual techniques or update flight dynamics enabled by the new simulator, would an update be necessary, but not mandatory.
MORE CONTENT TO MSFS 2020
As for new additions to the current 2020 simulator, Microsoft has announced the City Update Texas, which includes major cities such as San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Waco, Abilene, and Cedar Park. Furthermore, two new aircraft, the Ford 4-AT TriMotor and the Boeing 307 Stratoliner, have been introduced, adding more variety and options for aviation enthusiasts.