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Microsoft Flight

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Now that Microsoft Flight is out in the wild, I guess the NDA is lifted and I can share my experiences of the game. I was invited to participate in the beta program, not out of any regard for STB I'm sure but I guess I just got lucky in the lottery. So what's good and what's not so good? These are all my personal opinions:

The good:

- No more autogen popping; all autogen was drawn out to the horizon. The beta island was fairly rural for the most part, I would have found it interesting to see the autogen in a heavy urban setting.

- The autogen buildings are a little better, the trees a lot better.

- Performance is excellent. I've never had a completely smooth stutter free flight in FSX or FS9 (although sometimes it is close), but I have to say Flight was perfect. There is far less load on the CPU, and much more load on the GPU. Indeed the only slow down occurs when the GPU is running flat out 100%. I have an overclocked GTX470 which handled most scenes with very high "slider" settings. A few secenes were beyond it, but it is clear a better GPU will bring a experience.

- Mist interface between the ground and the air is a lot smoother now.

- Aircraft shadows are smooth both inside and out, a lot better than DX10 preview.

- Aircraft handling is good

- The rain "mist" coming at you was good.

- An excellent platform for future development, if microsoft choose to do so.

The not so good:

- Cloud spinning seems more prominent, perhaps an effect of an open cockpit aircraft like the stearman where it is easy to look where clouds spin the most.

- Cloud textures are not as good as 3rd parties, such as REX.

- The ground textures don't seem a lot better than FSX

- Still has the horrible roads cutting through the middle of a tile, right through buildings etc.

- No AI aircraft. I did see a few helicopter models, but they looked quite static

- No cars on the roads

- Familiar problems with terrain tiles. Sharp borders between different landclass types and splodges where tiles seem to mix together badly (just like FSX)

- The lighting was uncertain at times, panning around the open cockpit would result in everything becoming brighter all of a sudden.

- No SDK, no idea how to connect STB to it even if there was something for STB to show!

Overall it has a role to play in my aircraft life, and I'm quite sure I will fire it up from time to time. But for now I still have a lot of enjoyment in FSX and will continue to do so for quite some time yet. Anyone else have comments?

Simon

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You were not the only one in the beta Simon, I was in it too, I dont think there are many people who are serious about FS that applied that didn't get on the beta. It was not a real beta in the true sense of the word, it was more of a backend systems test for MS than anything else to be honest. I'm not going to add anything further regarding my thoughts other than to say, I was very disappointed with Flight, there weren't even any assignable axes for mixture and prop pitch, there wasn't even an option to reverse the brake axis, so 90% of testers with rudder pedals couldn't use the brake pedals. X-Plane 10 it is then.

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Why bother stepping back in time to FS2000 with slightly prettier graphics by going to X-Plane? It's still not what it advertises and still isn't close to what MSFS has been for over ten years.

What's so wrong with FSX, which is still improving all the time and now gaining MS no money whatsoever, if you want to rub MS's nose in it (although I suspect the "casual" users will make them more than happy with their choice of direction anyway)?

We don't know what the future holds, yet. Now Flight is out and everyone can see it for what it is - a vehicle to try and trap people into buying all their add-ons through MS, then you can bet people will be working on other things without feeding at Austin Meyer's trough either.He's not the poor, hard done by, underdog he claims to be, he's a single minded (actually quite offensive in person and yes, I've had the misfortune) far from poor, far from hard done by, man who believes that he is right and everyone else is wrong. Flying physics are important. Nothing else is, which is going to make changing X-Plane into what the MSFS market have had for several versions is going to be a long, hard, fight. Terrain, realistic AI/ATC, seasonal graphics and that "peripheral stuff" that we're used to is about as important to the XP10 team as a realistic B747's Flight Management System is to the MS Flight development team... Something people will ask for that can be ignored as "not within the scope of the product" until they decide that they can make more money by including it (or the ability for a third party to create it) than they do by excluding it.

Unless third parties simply bypass the development team and re-write XP10 into something much more usable outside the box then you're better sticking with FSX and seeing what other developers come up with, now that MS has provably left the market. There are rumours and shufflings, but nothing concrete yet, because I think people are waiting to see the reaction to Flight.

Flight, for what it's worth, is just a marketing exercise by MS. They go green with envy every time you say "Steam" or "iToy" around them. They have bleated for years that they're not getting "their fair share" of the after-market sales income from their base titles so now they're trying to force their way in. Not only with Flight, they've already destroyed their previously loyal RTS user base with the farce that is the new "Age of Empires Online", but we're different - a small, easy target, audience who are supposedly used to paying for their add-ons already. So, by the name of the deities, we WILL pay MS for those titles, the same as iUsers pay Apple. MS are OWED that market, no less, in their collective management mindset. They say it forcefully at every presentation and in every year's results/future targets announcement... Their failure to secure any of it has nothing at all to do with them not understanding the market they want at all, in their minds. It's like watching a bully in the playground forcing someone else to do their homework for them because they'll never come close to understanding it or learning what they need to. Quite sad, once you've got past how angry it makes you feel.

Ian P.

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I never said I would stop using FSX Ian, if you had seen my home cockpit and the amount I have invested in it you would see that isn't an option, what I meant was that the next thing I would pay more attention too is XP10 and not Flight. Don't worry I know what Austin is like, I have had the displeasure of dealing with him, but I am not the type to cut off my nose to spite my face just because I do not like someone.

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Sorry, I misread your intentions. Such is the way of typed rather than spoken words!

Regarding Austin Meyer, I dislike the sim much more than the developer, who I can happily ignore. He may be completely obnoxious and self centred but, vastly more importantly, his sim just doesn't simulate flying. It simulates flight physics, with a vague passing attempt at anything outside that. I'll keep watching XP, the same as I will Flight, P3D and everything else, but like you right now I see nothing at all that forces me away from what we already have and it's the "need" for a new sim that I was questioning far more than specifically your situation or statement.

Edited to add: You probably could run XP just as well on your home simulator BTW... I can't believe that no-one has coded a converter to attach VRi's equipment to X-Plane yet?

Ian P.

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