New aircraft and display technologies land in Microsoft Flight Simulator's 40th anniversary...

Jimmy2x

Posts: 147   +12
Staff
Why it matters: Microsoft Flight Simulator has provided gaming and simulation enthusiasts with some of the most impressive visuals and accurate aircraft recreations available since its release in 1982. The company recently celebrated the sim's 40th birthday with another feature-filled update, expanding the already impressive selection of planes, airports, and locations. It also includes FSR and DLSS updates to ensure users have the best possible visual experience.

Microsoft released the first version of its flight simulator, Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0, in November of 1982. The simulator allowed players to pilot a Cessna 182 in the Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle areas. The release not only wowed users in the early 1980s, but it also helped to set the standard for realistic flight simulators for decades to come.

Forty years later, Microsoft is still churning out new technology and new content for aviation enthusiasts around the world. The Redmond, Washington software giant released the latest iteration of the series earlier this week, the Microsoft Flight Simulator 40th Anniversary Update. The update brings the already-successful Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 a number of new features and updates, including the Airbus A310, several helicopters and heliports, unpowered gliders, and even historical aircraft such as the famous Hughes H-4 "Spruce Goose."

Players can experience the game's stunning visuals and realistic mechanics through free flights around the world or via one of the game's pre-created missions and activities. The 40th Anniversary Edition brings PC aviators new challenges and missions, such as the Wright Brothers and the first flight at Kitty Hawk, the first U.S. Airmail Service flight route in 1918, and Charles Lindbergh's famous flight from New York to Paris.

The new release also includes glider-based missions and tutorials for players who want to experience the feeling of unpowered flight. These trainings and missions include aerotow, winch launch training, basic handling, thermal identification, and other skills vital to a successful glider flight.

The simulator continues to provide users with stunning detail and access to any part of the world, regardless of how remote. As of the anniversary edition's release, the game offers detailed recreations of more than 37,000 airports, two million cities, and more than one and a half billion buildings and structures across the game's realistic landscapes. A complete listing of new additions, features, and bug fixes is available in the 40th Anniversary Edition release notes.

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human7

Posts: 152   +131
I love how they brought lots of content from FS2004 and FSX into the 40th anniversary update! Brings back lots of memories, which can now be played in stunning visual detail.

One of the most impressive things with Flight Simulator is how they are expanding it in so many cool ways, beyond just a flight sim. They took their initial data from Bing, but now they are even chartering their own flights to collect data about the world in places where the photogrammy isn't detailed enough, in fact, they even said in their blog post that they are now providing data back to Bing maps, and are working towards creating a digital representation of the whole world in very high detail.

It's also cool that you can see thermals and CFD around supported aircraft, like helicopters now. It's pretty neat to have that feature, in real time, and I could see a repurposed flight sim being used for physics teaching aids or even research if it's detailed enough.

The A310 is also a great addition because it is supposed to be almost entirely true to life with every button and switch working like it would in the real world. It even comes with a few thousand page manual. Pretty exciting stuff, and I hope Asobo brings that level of detail to some of the other aircraft that they included in the sim someday.

In conjunction, Working Title just released their free marketplace entry for the Garmin 430/530 series. If it goes like the G1000 NXi, we'll have a much improved GPS experience in the default sim for those two units, someday.
 

Mister_K

Posts: 2,190   +881
Nice update, free planes are always a welcome addition. Hopefully the A310 gets better and more comprehensive updates. Currently the text resolution for labels are quite poor.

Any avid MSFS players that haven't tried VATSim I recommend looking at it and slowly easing in, great fun!
 

human7

Posts: 152   +131
Nice update, free planes are always a welcome addition. Hopefully the A310 gets better and more comprehensive updates. Currently the text resolution for labels are quite poor.

Any avid MSFS players that haven't tried VATSim I recommend looking at it and slowly easing in, great fun!

Are you using DLSS? If so, there's a known issue with blurry text, particularly for glass cockpits, that Nvidia and Asobo are working on.
 

NicktheWVAHick

Posts: 423   +799
This is the only game (?) that has ever been one-step ahead of me in terms of hardware requirements…which is pretty sad considering I am always rocking state-of-the-art components. I’d be a lot richer today if I wasn’t constantly trying to play catch-up with this sim.
 

human7

Posts: 152   +131
This is the only game (?) that has ever been one-step ahead of me in terms of hardware requirements…which is pretty sad considering I am always rocking state-of-the-art components. I’d be a lot richer today if I wasn’t constantly trying to play catch-up with this sim.
I've got a Threadripper 2950x and RTX 2080 Ti, which were top of the line in their day (admittedly the CPU has a more productivity focus than gaming), and even so I'm reminded of this article, because yeah, turning it down from Ultra to High definitely helps the FPS, and you know what? I don't notice the difference in quality, or, in other words, FPS has a quality all of it's own.


That said, I'd be richer too if it weren't for the in-sim marketplace. I only buy on sale, but I've bought a lot. At some point I plan to get more than a Joystick. I have a VR headset that I should use more often, too.