Microsoft Flight Simulator New Videos (Best Looking Game of All Time?) | Tech Alpha Registration Open

Jan 20, 2019
260
This looks absolutely beautiful. I knew I was going to have to upgrade my GPU, but games like this have me considering doing so sooner rather than later...
 
Oct 31, 2017
3,061
I just ordered a (long delayed) new flight stick and I'm usually not even into civil flight sims that much.
This is how much this put me in the right mood for it.

Also, because I already had a couple of old purchases with which I will take full advantage of it, honestly.
 

More Butter

Member
Jun 12, 2018
1,237
So I’ve never played a Flight Sim.. Is it normal to have the entirety of the earth available? That just seems nuts to me.
 

elyetis

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,186
Not having it be a priority and/or part of the early design of a game is exactly how you end up with tacked-on VR, though.
Yeah that's also pretty much how you end up with a dev team telling you after a couple years after release, that they dropped the idea because it was too hard to add a good VR support to a game which was not designed for it.
 

Mengy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,364
So I’ve never played a Flight Sim.. Is it normal to have the entirety of the earth available? That just seems nuts to me.
Nope, all versions of MS Flight Sim within the past few decades have had complete world coverage. However, in the past the more remote areas had less detailed coverage graphically. This time the level of detail will rely on the quality of the sat imagery, but it also sounds like they have robust proc gen to fill in the gaps so to speak.
 

Watership

Member
Oct 27, 2017
884
I'm very curious about about how they'll be monetizing this. Full cost base software, then add ons for planes? The landscape has changed in this space in the past decade since FS-X, with Xplane and others having everything being sold/developed in parts.

Regardless, this may be my most anticipate releases in 2020.
 

StudioTan

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,892
I'm very curious about about how they'll be monetizing this. Full cost base software, then add ons for planes? The landscape has changed in this space in the past decade since FS-X, with Xplane and others having everything being sold/developed in parts.

Regardless, this may be my most anticipate releases in 2020.
The base game will be on Game Pass as one option, I could see them having DLC planes for sure though.
 

EatChildren

Wonder from Down Under
Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,066
Imagine what small indie devs could do with such resources.
Yeah, this is like only 7-10 years off.
It will probably start with some city being fully scanned by drones and used in one game.
It'll be great for the future, especially for smaller indy devs. I don't think people always appreciate just how hard it is to make detailed, complex games and interactive spaces, and one major area of development is user friendly toolsets and procedural generation. Allowing your engine to render content and complexities, especially physics based stuff, in real time using logic takes away a massive amount of work from artists. Even stuff we take for granted now days, like real time lighting and shadowing, was once more time consuming to get "looking right".

We can see in Flight Simulator that the illusion of detail does begin to fall apart once you get super close to objects, like trees, but that's to be expected given the status of the tech. As it is, the tech being used is successfully procedurally generating asset distribution based on satellite data, no different from Google Earth though with a greater level of complexity thanks to being powered by a modern engine. Terrain heightmaps are probably exactly the same; the data is collected from satellites and whatnot, fed into the engine, procedural generation tools shape the terrain in real time according to the data, and algorithms smooth it out to make it look believable.

Taking the tree example, one day we'll get to a point where another set of procedural generation algorithms will be applied to foliage itself, so while the overarching procedural generation will handle the distribution, topographical context, and sizing of the trees and foliage, another set of algorithms will procedurally fill in the details up close, turning basic trees and bushes into something more believably rich and detailed. Because, after all, all of life is a set of physical algorithms based on logic.

Speedtree and stuff is already doing this shit. Look at something like The Witcher 3, which has insanely gorgeous and believable foliage distribution. CDPR might have hand made every foliage asset, and set the control of how it's distribution, but the actual rendering is procedural based on terrain type as associated by textures. CDPR built the assets and set the rules, but the enormous landscape just uses those rules to "know" what grass should go where. And thus you end up with riverbanks and swamps where the right foliage is rendered exactly where it should be based on natural logic.

We're still a long way off really super crazy complex stuff, but I'm tellin ya'll it'll be the future. Just wait until this kind of rendering is another step forward, and devs are using satellite imagery as base assets themselves, cutting them together to form their own planets that are then populated realistically using similar algorithms. Flying from the stars to a planet surface, the celestial body perfectly to scale, to wander a forest where every tree and stream is rendered realistically and detailed thanks to the benefit of procedural algorithms.
 

Chettlar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,209
It'll be great for the future, especially for smaller indy devs. I don't think people always appreciate just how hard it is to make detailed, complex games and interactive spaces, and one major area of development is user friendly toolsets and procedural generation. Allowing your engine to render content and complexities, especially physics based stuff, in real time using logic takes away a massive amount of work from artists. Even stuff we take for granted now days, like real time lighting and shadowing, was once more time consuming to get "looking right".

We can see in Flight Simulator that the illusion of detail does begin to fall apart once you get super close to objects, like trees, but that's to be expected given the status of the tech. As it is, the tech being used is successfully procedurally generating asset distribution based on satellite data, no different from Google Earth though with a greater level of complexity thanks to being powered by a modern engine. Terrain heightmaps are probably exactly the same; the data is collected from satellites and whatnot, fed into the engine, procedural generation tools shape the terrain in real time according to the data, and algorithms smooth it out to make it look believable.

Taking the tree example, one day we'll get to a point where another set of procedural generation algorithms will be applied to foliage itself, so while the overarching procedural generation will handle the distribution, topographical context, and sizing of the trees and foliage, another set of algorithms will procedurally fill in the details up close, turning basic trees and bushes into something more believably rich and detailed. Because, after all, all of life is a set of physical algorithms based on logic.

Speedtree and stuff is already doing this shit. Look at something like The Witcher 3, which has insanely gorgeous and believable foliage distribution. CDPR might have hand made every foliage asset, and set the control of how it's distribution, but the actual rendering is procedural based on terrain type as associated by textures. CDPR built the assets and set the rules, but the enormous landscape just uses those rules to "know" what grass should go where. And thus you end up with riverbanks and swamps where the right foliage is rendered exactly where it should be based on natural logic.

We're still a long way off really super crazy complex stuff, but I'm tellin ya'll it'll be the future. Just wait until this kind of rendering is another step forward, and devs are using satellite imagery as base assets themselves, cutting them together to form their own planets that are then populated realistically using similar algorithms. Flying from the stars to a planet surface, the celestial body perfectly to scale, to wander a forest where every tree and stream is rendered realistically and detailed thanks to the benefit of procedural algorithms.
Boy is this about the most exciting thing I've read this week.
 

KKRT

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,033
We're still a long way off really super crazy complex stuff, but I'm tellin ya'll it'll be the future. Just wait until this kind of rendering is another step forward, and devs are using satellite imagery as base assets themselves, cutting them together to form their own planets that are then populated realistically using similar algorithms. Flying from the stars to a planet surface, the celestial body perfectly to scale, to wander a forest where every tree and stream is rendered realistically and detailed thanks to the benefit of procedural algorithms.
I think in this case it will be easier to just create good procedural algorithms that were trained via AI from satellite data and some hand crafted terrain than cut actual earth satellite data.
But yeah this is the future of asset creation. Good example of kind of this approach are Star Citizen's procedural tools.
 

DavidDesu

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,473
Glasgow, Scotland
Soooo.... Given the Oculus Quest can actually support PC VR with just a USBC cable.. does anyone think it could be remotely possible that Microsoft could let the Quest work in tandem with the next Xbox. I just want a more affordable option for maybe one day playing this game in VR since I’ll never own a good gaming PC.. (yeah I know VR support isn’t happening yet but that’s going to change). I’m salivating at the prospect of just chilling out flying over Tokyo and Japan in this.
 

Spark

Member
Dec 6, 2017
623
Soooo.... Given the Oculus Quest can actually support PC VR with just a USBC cable.. does anyone think it could be remotely possible that Microsoft could let the Quest work in tandem with the next Xbox. I just want a more affordable option for maybe one day playing this game in VR since I’ll never own a good gaming PC.. (yeah I know VR support isn’t happening yet but that’s going to change). I’m salivating at the prospect of just chilling out flying over Tokyo and Japan in this.
Microsoft have their own range of VR headsets (made by third parties). If Xbox ever got VR support it'll be for Windows Mixed Reality sets, likely not Oculus.
 

Klobrille

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,637
Germany
I hope this is a return to form for Microsoft in the PC space.
To be completely honest XGS games these days on PC are some of the best PC versions you can have. I see what you mean though. With Halo MCC, Flight Sim, Age of Empires 4, Gears Tactics and obviously all the other future Xbox games on top, they are not pulling back on serious PC gaming efforts, that's for sure.
 

Zedelima

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,418
It will exist a “easy” mode?

im really interested but i know nothing about planes :(
 

Peru

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,540
It will exist a “easy” mode?

im really interested but i know nothing about planes :(
Depends. What really has been lacking in the flight sim space after Microsoft stopped their series is room for people who want a hand to hold and some 'casual' modes to get them to enjoy the world and the sim. I trust Microsoft will bring this back, even if they are currently mostly talking to the core audience.

What we did learn from this session, for example, is that you will be able to choose a guiding checklist that tells you what to do before takeoff and even points the camera at the right knobs and buttons. That's a good start. I also hope they will bring back flight lessons, like in the old MS FS. And a variety of modes.
 

GaimeGuy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,817
If there's a 10 year road map, do they plan on incorporating ongoing Technologies, maneuvers, and processes for air traffic management? I'm a software engineer that works on Eram, so I could see a lot of value in, say, including a training exercise where you go through the motions of descending to a procedural altitude of 20000, switching some equipment settings over, then requesting clearance for climbing back to your previously assigned altitude of 23000.

There's so much disconnect between the software and the actual domain knowledge, personally speaking. Procedural, interim, waiver, assigned, local interim, block altitudes, they're all just different variables to me, and I only see the numbers on the screen of the ATC displays. The controllers ans pilots use largely different jargon than the engineering team, and as engineers we rarely see demonstrations of the use cases from an Air Traffic Control perspective, and certainly not from a pilot's perspective.

Would be amazing to work on a new system enhancement in 2020 at work, hear about the release being deployed to sites in 2021, then seeing a use case incorporated into MS Flight Simulator in 2022 as an exercise.
 

Raide

Member
Oct 31, 2017
9,145
I wonder if they will show this on 1X sometime in the future? It obviously needs a monster rig and net connection to do it justice, so I wonder how good the 1X can push. Guessing a Scarlett launch as well.
 

Zedelima

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,418
Depends. What really has been lacking in the flight sim space after Microsoft stopped their series is room for people who want a hand to hold and some 'casual' modes to get them to enjoy the world and the sim. I trust Microsoft will bring this back, even if they are currently mostly talking to the core audience.

What we did learn from this session, for example, is that you will be able to choose a guiding checklist that tells you what to do before takeoff and even points the camera at the right knobs and buttons. That's a good start. I also hope they will bring back flight lessons, like in the old MS FS. And a variety of modes.
Oh! But is a big help already haha
 

Filipus

Avenger
Dec 7, 2017
1,615
This is looking amazing. I have never delved into the flight simulator apart from the ocasional game here and there (and just taking off was hard) but I'm so in on this.