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Microsoft Flight Simulator - Absolutely Stunning! (Xbox, PC)


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I’m not yet entirely convinced it is worth building an obscene one - DF’s testing so far didn’t show a huge amount of difference between high and ultra in terms of visual flair, though medium has noticeably less fluffy clouds, and my GTX 1060 looks to be good enough for keeping up 30fps 1080p with that. My ancient CPU is above minimum spec, too. Then I can have my 4K HDR goodness with a Series X once I get one. 
 

We’ll see once it’s out, but I may well be OK with what I have. 

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I tried to get this pre-installed on the PC through game pass, but the download was only 12 MB.  So that'll likely just be a launcher that probably won't actually install until it's out.  Boo.

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Both are places that Bing Maps have photogrammetry scans of, which is why they have so much detail. It's very impressive. Someone compiled a full list of locations last year:

 

https://www.avsim.com/forums/topic/565545-do-we-have-a-definitive-list-of-the-3d-cities/?do=findComment&comment=4134124

 

However, as you'll see, hardly any of those places are outside the US, because Microsoft are terrible people. We get a grand total of Portsmouth and Southampton harbours here in the UK; if you want to see London recreated, you'll have to settle for the one in Ontario.

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Coming back to this, I'm not entirely sure photogrammetry is the be-all, end-all we'd hope. You can see what it does, and where you can have it, right now by launching the "Maps" app in Windows 10 then select "3D Cities" from the menu to choose from the available locations. But apart from seeing the correct, unique buildings, the point glitches are so bad at close zooms that we might be better off with the AI building placement unless we actually know what the real ones look like.

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I think it's just one of those things that will evolve and improve over time (both from a maps and hand crafted building point of view). I'm wondering if they may even open things up to the mod community when it comes to the hand crafted assets to help them flesh things out in the years to come. It's bizarre that of the current London hand crafted assets, the Mall and Buckingham Palace are not amongst them.

 

HMS Belfast is also currently under water. 

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They have definitely opened it up to 3rd party handcrafting. There's a dedicated marketplace in the UI where you can buy handcrafted map updates as well as the planes etc that you'd expect.

 

From what I can see reading around, Microsoft went on a photogrammetry binge back in 2014 for Bing before deciding that since they were never going to do the whole world that way, they'd give up and concentrate on doing larger areas with oblique 2D mapping that still allows viewers to get an idea of building height. Though even this is pretty much US-only, the parochial fools.

 

Belfast being underwater is a natural side-effect of them mapping the flat images into the river, and then just smoothly interpolating between low-resolution height data. It would be lovely to believe they're going to start using photogrammetry again, but I think it's more likely they'll let 3rd parties profit from the userbase.

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Oh, Microsoft. At the current download speed this will be done by about 24 hours after we go off on our holiday next week.

 

Also, whatever you do, don't minimise the download window - it will immediately send your GPU to 100%, but not download any faster.

 

update: have black holed the DNS of the Cloudflare server I was on, and this new one is literally 40 times as quick.

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It is bloody gorgeous. Really, really gorgeous in a way that is a game changer; I’ve just navigated from Elstree to Luton via my house and Whipsnade, all by the cunning tactic of looking out of the window and following the roads and railways. 

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Hmm. Getting slightly worried I might give up on plans for a Series X and just upgrade my PC. This is the first game (outside gaming I’m already having issues with video editing) to absolutely destroy my Haswell i5. Even clocked to 4GHz I need to basically leave my plane alone for about 20 seconds on each flight for all the terrain and cloud calculation stuff to calm down before I can avoid second-long stutters, but my GTX 1060 is shrugging off what I can ask it to do. And this is largely on Medium; High clouds bring everything to a complete standstill. 

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I can’t see how they are going to get it running on XB1 frankly. I’m wondering if that’s why we haven’t heard a thing about the console version, because it might end up next-gen only. It surely needs all that that compute power of the SeriesX/SeriesS cpu.
 

I also watched some videos where the game is still recommending you have a keyboard if playing with a controller, so they still may be having to overcome some hurdles when it comes to control mapping on console.

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This game is not easy.  And the controls are different than what they are telling me to hit.  I know this because I have a printout of what all the buttons are numbered on my HOTAS.  What they say is button 8 is not button 8.  I'm going to have to go through and configure every major control.

 

As far as how it runs, it was pretty good if a bit choppy on Ultra.  I took the rez scaler from 100 to 80 and that smoothed things out a bit.   Navigating to my house from the Air Force base up the road wasn't too hard.  But there are too many trees to see my house, more than there actually is on my street, by a pretty wide margin.  You'd think I lived in the middle of the Amazon.  

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It’s not just me, then! All the base buttons (but not the stick ones) on my T.16000m are mirrored. I assumed I’d just put it in left-handed mode in the driver somewhere. 
 

They actually work much better like that, so I’ve left it all default, but the prompts are confusing. 

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