Microsoft makes surprise Flight Simulator announcement at E3 (updated)

Amidst the talk of a new console generation, Halo:Infinite, and the latest Gears of War is a surprise announcement by Microsoft that Flight Simulator is back. Let’s check out the stunning new trailer and analyze some screenshots.

Flight Simulator meets Planet Earth

The first shots of the trailer immediately impress showing off what looks like some particle based weather effects and some very impressive scenery.

And then we get into some of the aircraft, scenery and wildlife that are seemingly build into this beautiful trailer.

The trailer states everything was rendered in real time in 4K so in theory this sim will be able to run with these details – at least on the highest powered PCs.

Microsoft is using satellite data for their scenery which is typical but they are also using Microsoft Azure cloud computing and AI to somehow generate the world they are showing off here.

Scant few details are available beyond that. We know it’s coming to Xbox and PC but we don’t know how serious this title will be? Nor do we know if third parties will be able to develop for it.

Some of the screenshots feature multiple aircraft flying together. Will multiplayer be a strong component? It’s interesting to say the least.

The trailer is very impressive and the technology being thrown at it is no less impressive. What it ultimately becomes is still unknown.

Update: If you want an early look and potentially play an influential role, Microsoft is running an insiders program which can be signed up for on their new website.

There are also new high res images (better than what I have above) here:

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. Mischiew Rithe says:

    The weather looks very convincing, I’d like to see those clouds from a closer distance to make sure, but they don’t look like the 2D sprites we have in P3D, DCS, XP and so on. And those details! Now of course we mostly appreciate the accuracy of the models, but it’s nice when there’s a realistic environment.

    I was concerned by the X-Box logo, but their page confirms Win10. If those captures were done on an X-Box (and are not just cinematics), it means we don’t need such a high-end PC after all?

    They seem to keep sprouting up, don’t they? I’m very eager to see what Deadstick Bush Flight Simulator will bring us, since it’s more than just in-air flight simulation. They are apparently not attending FSExpo this year to focus on the development.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      The weather and fog effects are really impressive looking. I want to see them up close too but I’m very optimistic.

      The thing that I get excited about and part of the reason why I share these things is that technology tends to proliferate. If the new Flight Simulator can get new cloud rendering tech done right with good frame rates… you can bet Eagle Dynamics, 1CGS, Laminar and everyone else is going to be looking at this too.

      The world being alive with birds and animals also makes a difference.

      Interesting to see where it goes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mischiew Rithe says:

        I wasn’t entirely convinced by DoveTail’s Flight Sim World, but they were using the trueSKY weather engine, and the videos were the best-looking I’ve ever seen.

        Their website list the Unreal and Unity engines as primary platforms, which may not be used in the mainstream simulators. Except Deadstick, which uses Unity!

        Did MS mention which 3D engine they were using? I suppose it’s their own in-house engine.

        Like

  2. bigalrico says:

    I must confess, civilian or art flight has never really interested me very much. But this trailer! If the game really goes that way, then I could really consider buying it. You can’t get enough of this landscape and the cloud formations

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      It was a bit shocking at how good it looks!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tapi says:

    Well, graphics is really stunning but unfortunatelly ALL the scenes in the trailer, thought showing very slow motion, are noticeable jerky (stuttery)… Let’s hope some considerable optimization is going to happen before release.

    Like

    1. Mischiew Rithe says:

      It’s pretty smooth for me (watching on a full HD monitor, not 4K), but I noticed in the very short glance above a city that .. cars and trucks were driving perpendicularly to the roads 😀

      WIP I suppose 😉

      Like

      1. Tapi says:

        Strange, I see microstuttering all the trailer (1080p resolution)… YT vids with other games recording as IL-2 etc. are preety smooth for me on the smae PC. I will try to watch it later on my gaming rig with 1440p LCD.

        Like

      2. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Have watched it so far on a iPad and a iPhone and it’s buttery smooth in the frame rate department. I’m very sensitive to that kind of thing above and beyond the usual.

        May want to check devices and try something else.

        I’ll see what it’s like on a bigger screen soon.

        Like

      3. Mischiew Rithe says:

        Sometimes I get this stuttering, sometimes a new video would even stop because the buffer has underrun. I think it depends on how much the video has spread in the available servers, and sometimes watching the same video later gives better conditions. Hopefully that’s what you had.

        It also depends on how fast the browser can decompress and stream the video, I wouldn’t be surprised to see significant differences between browsers and CPUs.

        The real simulator would probably stutter on a PC like mine 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Tapi says:

      OK, I have replayed the vid on my gaming rig (1440p resolution) and there were NO noticeable stuttering. So the problem was probably slower PC or slower internet connection I used previously and not the presentation of the new sim itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. harryvoyager says:

    I find myself wondering if the ED terms would permit Heat Blur to make a version of their F-14B for MSFS2020? It would, of necessity be a purely non-combat version, but I think it could be a ton of fun practicing some of the non-combat operations all over the world….

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Not sure if ED allows that or if Heatblur has the desire. I suspect they want their F-14 to be able to both fly and shoot at things 🙂

      Like

  5. Toxin 1 says:

    This looks like a real game changer if the trailer is to be believed. I am speculating based on what was shown and the direction of MS Game Pass that this game will be heavily rendered and managed by cloud computing infrastructure and AI. I can see a subscription based model that makes having good internet a must for the experience including multiplayer. This would make the customer hardware requirements much more modest and the Xbox One console even feasible. A flightsim MMO hybrid locked to MS Xbox store.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I’ve been giving it some thought and j agree completely. It’s possible and even likely they will go that direction. The Azure AI for cloud based computing of some kind is going to play a role here for sure.

      At the very least it will be used to manage the world textures and objects perhaps steaming them in intelligently. That’d make this possible on a console with more limited storage.

      Going to be interesting!

      Like

      1. Toxin 1 says:

        The only other thing that would really make this a holy grail level sim is good VR support.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ShamrockOneFive says:

        That’s another good point and I think we’ll see it. Microsoft is big into AR and I think it’s only a matter of time before they more seriously push VR for the XBox platform.

        Like

  6. Francesco Kasta says:

    It sure looks good, I just hope it will NOT be a major flop like the infamous cash-grab “Flight” back in 2012. Also, hopefully it will have decent VR support.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Microsoft will have to impress not just with the visuals but their whole business plan – otherwise I think they will find a lot of people in the broader community feeling very cautious about it.

      I’ll be watching and reporting on some of the major developments as time goes on.

      Like

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