Another closed alpha test build has been released according to the latest news from the July 9th Developer Update for Microsoft Flight Simulator. That alpha is bringing with it plenty of fixes to aircraft, systems, and overall features of the sim but the real news is that Microsoft Flight Simulator is moving from alpha to closed beta test soon and that marks a key moment for the development of the sim. Here’s the latest.
Polishing the alpha
The name of the game for Asobo Studios right now appears to be ‘polish’ and the need to put as much of that into play before the closed alpha begins.
All planes have received another round of polish and tuning. We continue to triage bugs and reset priorities when needed. You should also find an updated round of polish (on-going) to the world, airports, scenery, and the weather.July 9th MSFS Developer Update
The attention to detail here is spread relatively evenly across the board with the notes mentioning changes to nearly all of the aircraft that we know that will be shipping with Microsoft Flight Simulator. From a fixed radio altimeter on the TBM 930 to fixing a large green texture on the ground at ZBAA Beijing airport, there are plenty of fixes going in right now.
That updating process is spread relatively evenly across the product. Weather inconsistencies, auto pilot problems solved, airliner performance at higher speeds, and fixing multiplayer bugs that, for example, showed friends as disconnected when they were in-fact online are all part of that alpha process.
MSFS is still very much in alpha although that is looking to change soon.
Here comes the beta
While alpha tests are typically times where features are implemented and major changes are being made all the time, the beta test process is usually an indication that most content is now complete and bugs need to be solved and sorted out prior to moving towards a release candidate. The first beta build may not be all that different from the last alpha version, however, it is a clear demarcation of a new stage of development – one that is even more focused on the ultimate goal of release to the public.
We don’t know much about the beta test process except that it is currently listed as a closed beta. We also have a date: July 30th. Current alpha testers will also automatically be granted access to the beta.
There’s been talk of when and if an open beta will be part of the beta testing process. It’s possible that it will happen but nothing official has been said just yet. It’s also not part of the feedback snapshot either although release date and interest in some key technologies such as VR and IR headtracking are still high on that list. Time will tell.
The move towards beta suggests that Asobo Studios is on track for their late 2020 release and that the next few months of beta testing will be critical towards the completion of the release part of the project. This is, hopefully, where things will all come together.
New screenshots show big and small details
An increasing number of alpha tester’s screenshots have been appearing in recent developer updates. The latest updates show off some impressive big and small details from the variety of water colours to what a small presumably bush plane airport has for details in the open air luggage area.
Have a look or check out these and more images and videos over on the Flight Simulator website.