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Topic: Microsoft Flight Simulator is a Flight Sim for Everyone
Posts: 8626
Location: Melbourne, Victoria

At a recent digital preview sessions for the game, we put the question to the Microsoft Flight Simulator team: for those that aren’t familiar with sims and simply want to fly around – would that be possible? Their answer was surprisingly non-simulation heavy, and quite a breath of fresh air.

Recently we were lucky enough to attend a special preview event for Microsoft Flight Simulator (check out our in-depth write-up here), and even though we have some sim experience we were a little worried that the latest Flight Simulator might be a little too hardcore. That worry was mostly born from not being able to experience some of the stunning detail seen in the most recent launch trailer due to a high degree of complexity.

And that’s coming from someone who has no problem spending hours trying to improve traffic flow in Cities: Skylines. A flight simulator is a vastly different thing.

"Above all we did not want to dumb down the plane. It was always going to be a realistic simulation..."

Turns out it was a feeling that several members of the development team at Asobo Studio – including Jorg Neumann, the head of the Microsoft Flight Simulator team had once development began. “When we started this project, I thought back to the time before I started flying,” Neumann recalls. “With planes there are so many buttons and things. It is complex. For us it was asking ‘how was that going to work?’, but also asking how people would be able to fly... easily?”

“Back when I had my very first flight lesson with an instructor though, I was surprised at how easy it was.” Jorg continues. “And that was because the instructor took that deeper control away during the first lesson. All the complex stuff, the rudder, the checklist -- all I did was move the yoke around, and it felt like it felt like flying in a videogame. The feeling was, like, ‘this is easy. I can do this’. And with every lesson, the instructor added one more thing, another little thing to learn, and it built up from there.”

And it was this realisation that drove the approach to the latest, and most impressive, version of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Where the learning curve is modelled after real-world flying lessons, easing even the most awe-struck into the world of flying planes. The magic here being those first few moments feel like a videogame – with later lessons feeling more like flying in the real-world.

“That is how our training lessons are built, we train you how to use the software,” Jorg explains. “But at any time, you can turn on the co-pilot and they will handle the checklist for you. Assistance options go so far as to take away rudder control too. But rather than automate all the complex stuff, you delegate to the co-pilot. Above all we did not want to dumb down the plane. It was always going to be a realistic simulation.

“There’s never a moment when it’s a ‘fake’ aeroplane,” Jorg concludes. “By delegating, it makes the experience approachable to anyone, just like a real-world flying lesson.”

Click here for our in-depth hands-on with Microsoft Flight Simulator (complete with our own video capture).
AGN Admin
Posts: 40027
Location: Other International

Great write up. The footage of this is genuinely amazing. My first memories of gaming EVER are of playing ancient versions of Flight Simulator on the Apple 2 with my dad, so this series has always been special to me. Looking forward to giving it a try but thinking I might need to upgrade to get the most out of it.
Posts: 7236
Location: Melbourne, Victoria

Thanks man... In preview form it's a PC killer in that it'll put any rig to the test on the higher settings... even at 1080p
Posts: 27121
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland

Proper pumped for this. Played the f*** out of Prepar3d but always got tired of having to manage and install third party add-ons to make the game complete.
Posts: 41492
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
yer, i loved the way old flight sim, plotting my course to fly into new york and buzz the super low quality statue of libery!

or playing the ww2 shoot em up and doing fly throughs on the hanger.

maddest flashbacks!
Posts: 17039
Location: Cairns, Queensland

this is going to be amazing in VR and 32:9
Posts: 1330
Location: Sydney, New South Wales

I've played plenty of flight sims over 35 years. Choosing a flight sim you tend to choose along a range from "arcade" and to "true simulator".

About a year ago I looked at lots of combat helicopter simulators that were currently available. I tend to like combat helicopter sims as they are fun interacting with the ground at lower altitudes.

For a basic arcade heli simulator I recommend Heliborne

It's basically world of tanks for combat helicopters. It's cheap and it's arcade end of spectrum.

For a complex combat heli sim I recommend get DCS World:

And then get the pack for one of the most complex but interesting attack helicopters ever made: The KA-50 Black Shark:

Get the Russian > English mod so you can read the labels in the cockpit.

You can start the Blackshark game with "ready to fly", but to get it going in Multiplayer you will need to know who to "Cold Start it". It took me a few weeks after printing a fan made slide show of instructions, notes and watching videos over and over of how to cold start it. It's really good.

You want a decent flight stick OR even better a proper flight stick and a HOTAS. If you don't have a HOTAS you want a fligth stick that can rotate the stick left and right, with a throttle and the regular X and Y axis.

After weeks I have 3 monitors running with TrackIR5 running. TrackIR5 is a headset you wear with little lights on it it, a pick-up sits on your monitor. You can turn your head slightly and the 3 screens spin and is highly adjustable. Use head movement to free look. I got right into it. You can move your head closer and back to easily zoom in. It's just like moving your head and shoulders.


Starting and flying that KA-50 was awesome. Took lots of patience to learn to do it.

I probably watched this video 15 times and had a laptop on at times next to PC so I could watch and pause while actually doing it. After a while you understand what every button you use is for, but at first it can be overwhelming.

So watch this and choose Arcade or Sim before jumping into full on sim if you're not familiar with these kinds of games.

Cold Start Ka-50 (yah just how to cold start it)

So in the end I was eventually cold starting a Blackshark and flying into combat on huge multiplayer servers.

DCS is a huge war like in Battlefield but takes the sim part of tanks / planes / helis.. all the way.

DCS is relatively expensive.

The average gamer not overly committed to flight sims but wants to give one ago, MS Flight Sim might be a bit of fun but an arcade combat helicopter like Heliborne it's typically a nice place to start.

Als now we have Star Wars Squadrons. Which I have not yet played but expect to as I was a fan of X Wing, Tie Fighter, X Wing V Tighter, and X Wing Alliance.

If you want to fly around and look at recognisable terrain etc.. yah go for MS Flight Sim.. Skylines has a very good reputation but not my cup of tea.
Posts: 12450
Location: Brisbane, Queensland

Will be 100% crashing a plane into my house in game :)
Posts: 27128
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland

Gorging on youtube videos of this game. I can't wait to be the one flying from bum f*** nowhere to where the f*** am I with every tree and creek rendered for my enjoyment. Then there's the third party packs that are already confirmed to exist >:D
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