Microsoft is not standing still. We all know that next year Microsoft will unveil Vista, their new desktop operating system. Flight Simulator will be a showcase product for Vista. The game will ship sometime this holiday season. What that means is anyone’s guess. There are several holidays after Halloween!
If you’ve been around this industry for a while, this usually implies a Christmas season release. That’s my guess and I am sticking to it. There have been no official announcements about a release date and we did not get one at this meeting.
Here’s what to look for at year-end: The Regular (left) and Deluxe Versions
The sim will ship with DirectX 9 functionality and will be “updated” with DirectX 10 capability when Vista becomes available. Currently, DX10 hardware is not yet available to test and refine the different aspects of using the new application interface (API). We were assured that with this new version things will be enhanced. Specifically, lighting and weather was mentioned. We were shown the same screens that I saw at E3 and the improvements will be dramatic. DirectX 10 (which will only be available within Vista) has the potential to really jumpstart this title when Vista ships. I think it will almost look like a different sim than the one we will see on current hardware.
A Special Treat
For those of you who spent time with Flight Simulator 2004’s “A Century of Flight” theme, you probably recognize the name Lane Wallace. For those of us who read Flying magazine, she is no stranger. Lane collaborated with Microsoft to bring us some wonderful background on the historic aircraft and their history for FS9. If you haven’t done so before now, go fire up the sim right now and check it out! Lane is a more recent edition to Flying magazine and her writing is superb. She routinely captures the essence of what it is to be a pilot, to love the sky, and the thoughts and feelings of those who are lucky enough to call it home. I look forward to every issue with her wonderful pieces of work.
Lane was there at the presentation to get a look at the latest version for Flying. I got to hang out with her and I think I provided her with a one man fan club while we took the tour. Lane If you read this, sorry to take up so much of your time during the tour, and thanks for the pics! It was really a joy to spend even a little time with someone like Lane. At the end of the day we got to do what all pilots like to do — talk about flying. I enjoyed meeting Lane a great deal and look forward to her writing in the future.
Lane Wallace and “Hornit” ham-it-up
Overall, I’m impressed with this version and the state that it‘s in. I‘m slightly concerned with some of the frame rate issues I saw, but at this stage it‘s not fair to really say much about it. They have plenty of time to address this and smooth out the rough spots. The community support aspect is a breath of fresh air and will benefit us all. The fact that Microsoft opened the doors to the back room spoke volumes to me. They put on a great presentation and I appreciate the chance to visit and meet some folks who are behind the scenes. I’d like to formally thank the ACES Studios Team for their time and the open atmosphere they provided. It’s a very refreshing change and for me it marks a turning point in Flight Simulator history. These guys and gals are on our side.
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