There are a lot of fans of flying airliners in flight simulators and for those in the alpha for Microsoft Flight Simulator, they are about to get their first look at one in the new simulator very soon as the Airbus A320 Neo, introduced in the announcement trailer back in June of last year, makes its debut the alpha. More people are going to experience this too as Microsoft has announced that more alpha invites are going out.
Pilot your Airbus
This promo screenshot of the A320 Neo, the newest generation of the successful A320 line (and a direct competitor to the 737), was used to announce that the aircraft was going to become available for the first time in the alpha of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Given the detail and complexity of modeling that we’ve seen in other aspects of this simulation, many are going to want to know just how deep the simulation will go with this A320. X-Plane has a number of notable simulations of airliners including the Zibo 737-800 which is both a freeware project and one of the most detailed simulations of a 737 around from what I’m told.
Fans of flying airliners are likely hoping that the detail put into this can rival what we see elsewhere. Full systems modeling including electronics, navigation, autopilot and other various flight aids and computers are hopefully part of the final release.
Alpha participant list grows
According to the developer diary, now that a new alpha is on the way, they are also looking to expand the alpha test group again with priority on people who signed up early in the alpha sign-up process.
I haven’t been added to the alpha just yet (although I signed up early on) and I can’t imagine I’ll be able to provide a lot of detail or much commentary if I did get into it but I am hopeful to have a closer look at this sim in development and I’ll certainly be providing more complete coverage when the time is right.
SDK news as well
Although not directly applicable to those of us who just want to fly, the SDK (software development kit) is essential for third parties and Microsoft has announced that over 150 developers have signed-up to be third parties for the new sim.
We are excited to have over 150 third party companies using our SDK and working on many amazing updates for the new simulator. This week marks the initial release of WebAssembly support, enabling our partners to start porting their native code over to our platform. As a start, we are focusing on panels and displays support, which are a critical part of high-quality airplane add-ons. We are also providing an initial release of the in-game aircraft editor and are continuously working on documentation, general usability improvements to the existing tools (in particular the scenery and script editors) and general bug fixing.MSFS TEAM
Strong third party support will be essential and hopefully together with this support will be an equally strong experience for those who want to take advantage of third party content. How will be integrated into multiplayer, will there be some sort of storefront for both free and paid for add-ons, and just how will all of this work together? That we hope to learn as time goes on though certainly it speaks to the complexity of not just launching a very complex flight simulator title but also making sure that it has legs with plenty of first and third party support post launch.
Cool screenshots and gifs
There are plenty of user generated screenshots and animated gifs available from the latest update. They include some great shots of volumetric precipitation and some images of the snow falling. It looks great! I’d encourage you to have a look over there right now.