Hosted yesterday and made available for replay today, Microsoft and Asobo held their first Developer Stream of 2023. It packed in a ton of news and information about the sim itself as well as content that is coming down the pipeline. Content including the New Zealand World Update, the AN-2 and DHC-4, as well as the surprise announcement that iniBuilds is working on the AN-225.
Check out the stream and the notes
World Update 12 is coming this month and it is the previously announced New Zealand. The update includes new digital elevation mapping (DEM), new aerial and satellite imagery, 6 photogrammetry cities, 3 landing challenges, and 3 bush trips. The DEM includes new data just made available and some of its down to just 1 meter of resolution. It should look fantastic as a result!
Four bespoke airports were announced previously, however, Jorg announced during the stream that they enlisted the help of NZAsimulations in addition to Orbx to generate some extra options. The airports are:
- NZGS Gisborne Airport (Orbx)
- NZMF Milford Sound (Orbx)
- NZMJ Martin’s Bay (Orbx)
- NZQE Gorge River Airport (NZA)
- NZRO Rotorua Airport (NZA)
- NZTL Tekapo Airport (NZA)
- NZWR Whangarei Airport (Orbx)
- NZWS Westport Airport (NZA)
- T00 Quinton Lodge (Orbx)
There’s also 30 other airports that have seen some updates and a couple dozen points of interest.
Jorg also reported that a team from GAYA-Simulations are helping with the photogrammetry to clean that up.
Local Legend 8: DHC-4 Caribou
Orbx are producing the next local legend and its the De Haviland DHC-4 Caribou. This twin engine transport aircraft made by De Havilland Canada with STOL capability. It saw a lot of military service and An interview with Ben McClintock from Orbx helped cover a lot of the details of the project.
What we saw of the project included a lot of impressive visuals of a well worn airplane, partial functionality of the circuit breakers, a fully modeled cabin area, and a fully functional cargo door. The real aircraft was laser scanned to provide lots of small details. Control E works for start-up, as demonstrated during the stream, and the exterior animations include some impressive visuals for the extending flaps that include the ailerons. Something that gives the airplane its impressive STOL capability.
Sim Update 12
This update is focused on stability, fixes, the inclusion of WASM (enabling Xbox users to get access to more complex airplanes), helicopter improvements, the increase of the sim to support airplanes with up to 16-engines, legacy flight model fixes, glider improvements, and thermals and turbulence updates.
One of the things that Sebastian Wloch from Asobo reported on was the ability to set turbulence levels. While some simmers, like yours truly, likes flying in storms, other sim pilots do not and so a new feature has been added to enable low, medium or realistic levels of turbulence while maintaining thermals that are necessary for gliders.
Famous Flyer 5: AN-2
This was meant to be one of the first famous flyers but the war in Ukraine caused significant delays in getting the license signed. Now, however, the airplane is coming. The Antonov AN-2 is a Ukranian designed bush-plane bi-plane with an incredibly short takeoff and landing run and a robust airframe intended to operate in the most rough of conditions.
Andrei from ATSimulations was on stream to talk about the project. He talked about the nature of the aircraft, some of its systems, and how the airplane is almost entirely interactive with just one or two things not practical for simulation. It should be an interesting airplane to check out out an the long wait for it should make its arrival all the sweeter.
“The adventure of flight and the purpose of planes is a big thing,” says Jorg Neumann when the topic of building missions into Microsoft Flight Simulator. Although he did not make a commitment to them, it seems that the idea of more objective based gameplay is beginning to pick up steam for MSFS now that other high priority items have been sorted out.
Missions are not entirely foreign to the franchise either as prior sims have sometimes offered them complete with voice overs.
As I reported yesterday, iniBuilds have been tapped to bring the AN-225 to life. It will be Famous Flyer 4 and be sold in the marketplace for approximately $20 USD.
The stream included a message from Major Dmytro Antonov, one of the pilots of the 225 for 25-years. He talked about the invasion and the destruction of the AN-225. He mentions that the dream of this giant aircraft cannot be destroyed and that the initiative to make it available digitally… for now. Major Antonov also talked about flying the airplane saying that it wasn’t too different from flying smaller aircraft but that it did carry a large crew to maintain.
Pavlo Antonov and Cameron from iniBuilds appeared on the stream next and talking more about the airplane. Cameron’s tour of the airplane’s cockpit, interior living space, and cargo area were quick illuminating. So too was the reveal that the aircraft would have a EFB to help manage it.
The plan with the project includes sending 100% of the money to Antonov to restore/rebuild/create a new AN-225. Jorg cautions that the ink hasn’t been put to the contract on that yet but that is the intent.
It’s also planned to come February 27th, on the one year anniversary of its destruction. The Xbox version will come later when WASM support is added via the next Sim Update.
Other updates and final thoughts
Finally, the stream ended with some discussion over Marketplace and the slow updates there as well as news about the slight juggling of the order of aircraft releases. The AN-2 is coming in March and that pushes the ATR airliner project a bit further on into April.
On the whole, this was a great first update for the sim. Microsoft Flight Simulator after all of these updates is feeling like a much more mature sim product but its also clear that the dev team aren’t running out of steam yet either and that they have a full slate of new content of both the free and paid for variety coming down the pipeline. That’s great news for all of us flight simmers!
3 Comments Add yours
I’m probably amoung the few who are really jazzed to see the DHC-4 Caribou!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m excited about it too. I see anything from DHC and I’m interested!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Then we are two – at least 🙂
Btw, there’s a new book out on the DHC from Beaver to Dash 8. Really recommended.
LikeLiked by 2 people