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View Full Version : Microsoft Flight -- A Freemium Flight Simulator


Decker
01-04-12, 05:03 PM
This was just announced today:

Microsoft Flight coming this Spring

Today we announced that Microsoft Flight is coming to Windows this Spring. It will be a free download plus you’ll also be able to get achievements.

Here are some highlights from the press release as well as a couple of videos for you to enjoy. Plus don’t miss the chance to sign up for the Beta.


Start Exploring For Free

After downloading “Microsoft Flight” for free, players can jump into hours of exciting gameplay on the Big Island of Hawaii.

In addition, players who sign in to their Games for Windows – LIVE account automatically receive additional free content, including the legendary Boeing Stearman plane, supplementary missions, and access to Achievements and an Online Pilot Profile. Those looking to deepen their experience can purchase and download additional content that adds new aircraft, regions and customization options. The frequently released new content for “Microsoft Flight” includes daily aerocache challenges and updates that make every flight unique and fun.

Be the First to Fly the Definitive Light Sport Aircraft ICON A5

Microsoft Studios worked with the personal airplane manufacturing team at ICON Aircraft to give aviation fans the exclusive opportunity to fly the all-new ICON A5 before real-world production starts at the end of 2012. Designed by the world-class aeronautical engineers behind the Voyager spaceship, X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne, and Virgin Galatic’s SpaceShipTwo, the ICON A5 is the “jet ski for the skies,” a high-wing amphibious monoplane with a carbon fiber airframe and a comfortable, automobile-inspired cockpit with space for two. The ICON A5 will be the first aircraft available to players for free in “Microsoft Flight.”

“ICON Aircraft and ‘Microsoft Flight’ both share the goal of making the fun of flying accessible to everyone who’s ever dreamed about it. ICON does this by fusing world-class product design with the very best engineering, and Microsoft by combining the excitement of a great gaming experience with the authenticity of a top notch flight simulator,” said ICON Aircraft CEO Kirk Hawkins.

Be the First to Experience “Microsoft Flight”

Today the team behind “Microsoft Flight” released an exclusive video that features all-new footage of “Microsoft Flight.” To view it, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/. Additionally, the launch sequence has begun! Be among the first to try “Microsoft Flight” by signing up for the closed beta (https://connect.microsoft.com/site1134/InvitationUse.aspx?ProgramID=6087&InvitationID=FLY-BRQX-BXTB). The voyage continues at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from January 10 – 13. Those that attend will have the chance to play “Microsoft Flight” before it releases this spring at the Microsoft booth, located in the Central Hall.


<iframe id="viddler-cabe9c0c" src="//www.viddler.com/embed/cabe9c0c/?f=1&offset=0&autoplay=0&disablebranding=0" width="545" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe>

Not much of a flight sim fan, but I'm always up for a game based in my hometown -- even gave Test Drive Unlimited 2 a shot. For free, hell yes I'm on board. Will probably try it at CES in a week and report back here.

Jay G.
02-29-12, 10:31 AM
The finished version of the game was released today. You get the base experience for free (a few planes, one island to fly around), and then pay for extra content, such as additional aircraft, missions, or terrain.

Early reviews of the game:
http://flyawaysimulation.com/news/4376/microsoft-flight-review/
http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/microsoft-flight/1219653p1.html
http://pc.ign.com/articles/121/1215651p1.html

Official website:
http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/

Decker
02-29-12, 07:43 PM
Thanks for the heads-up. Downloading now.

mugwump
03-01-12, 08:23 AM
I downloaded it only to find that my two year old computer doesn't have a good enough graphics card to run the game. Now I remember why I quit PC gaming back in the late 90s. Looks to be a lot of fun though.

Jay G.
03-01-12, 08:42 AM
I downloaded it only to find that my two year old computer doesn't have a good enough graphics card to run the game.
Seriously? The minimum specs are really, really, minimal:
GPU: 256 MB card capable of shader 3.0 (DX 9.0c compliant)
I would imagine almost any graphics adapter (even an integrated one) from the last two years would fit those specs.

What's the brand/model of your graphics adapter?

mugwump
03-01-12, 08:55 PM
I admit that it's a crappy shader 2.0 integrated card but the whole episode just reminded me of the constant upgrade cycle that drove me away from PC gaming and into consoles in the first place. I still have a box full of discarded video and sound cards; various input devices; and sundry other PCI boards as evidence of my folly.

Jay G.
03-01-12, 09:28 PM
I admit that it's a crappy shader 2.0 integrated card but the whole episode just reminded me of the constant upgrade cycle...
Wow, yeah, DX 9.0c and shader 3.0 came out in 2004, so Flight is compatible with, potentially, 8 year old PCs. So while I know where you're coming from, since newly released PC games tend to like to push the boundaries of what PC hardware can do, to the detriment of older hardware, this game isn't one of those types of games.

cungar
03-02-12, 08:37 AM
I was able to play it on my 4 year old PC at low level. Not sure what the point is other than to make money off a dying brand by selling add ons. It's basically the challenges and missions of FSX without the avionics, navigation, flight plans etc. Let's face it, landing a plane in water next to a yaught is not going to make for exciting gameplay in 2012.

Did get me to drag out my old Sidewinder Pro 2 joystick which I found has somehow turned into a sticky mess as the plastic on the stick has somehow transformed to goo.

Groucho
03-02-12, 08:48 AM
Hmm...I wonder if I still have my old flight stick, and I wonder if I'd be able to figure out how to get it connected to my current computer.

edstein
03-02-12, 09:00 AM
I downloaded it but haven't tried it yet. Playing this with a keyboard and mouse seems really lame. I really need to get an Xbox controller adapter for my PC.

kgrogers1979
03-02-12, 09:00 AM
I admit that it's a crappy shader 2.0 integrated card but the whole episode just reminded me of the constant upgrade cycle that drove me away from PC gaming and into consoles in the first place.


I love it when people have absolutely no clue what they are talking about. Saying that you have to constantly upgrade to play PC games is very very wrong.

My PC is five years old. Its an Athlon 64 x2 2.6 Ghz, 3 GB RAM, and a Geforce 8800 GTX video card. It can play any game on the market very well. It can even play Crysis on high settings and keep 30 frames per second, although that is without AA and only 1280x720 res.

You most certainly do not have to keep constantly upgrading to play PC games. If your PC is ten years old, like I suspect your PC probably is if it is still shader model 2, then yeah you need to upgrade, but it isn't like consoles last ten years either. Most people aren't still playing on a PS2, Xbox, or Cube.

Edit: I just saw an earlier post of yours that says your PC is only two years old. How in the heck does a PC made two years ago only have a shader model 2 card? That makes no sense at all. I am pretty sure shader model 2 cards were stopped being made before then. Heck, shader model 3 is already eight years old as someone else said, and shader model 4 is out. Nobody is still making shader model 2 cards. If your PC truly is only two years old, then I bet the rest of your PC is good enough to playing PC games. You just need a better card. Pre-built PCs usually come with junk cards, so that isn't anything new at all. You always need to replace a card in a pre-built. Just get a cheap card to replace it and you would be good to go.

mugwump
03-02-12, 09:16 AM
Settle down there Indiana. Sorry I was wrong and it's closer to three years old. It's a 64-bit Windows 7 rig with an Intel dual core 2.93Ghz chip and 6GB of RAM.

I didn't buy it to be a gaming machine but decided to try the new flight sim on a whim and was reminded of why I quit PC gaming in the first place. And if you started PC gaming back in the early 90s like I did then you most certainly were on an annual upgrade cycle or you weren't playing any newer games. I recall buying a 486DX2 chip for close to $400 just to get some early flight sims to run well.

Glad to hear that the newer hardware lasts longer but it's still a bigger cash outlay than a current gen console. Sorry that my experiences don't jibe with yours but you're either much younger than me or have a bad memory.

I wonder how the original Microsoft Flight Simulator team that was summarily let go in 2009 feels about this dumbed down version their product?

kgrogers1979
03-02-12, 09:26 AM
Sorry that my experiences don't jibe with yours but you're either much younger than me or have a bad memory

Because I must be either a young kid or just not that smart, huh? It couldn't possibly be you that is wrong. No sir, you are never wrong.

I was definitely gaming back in the late 90s. Games like Baldur's Gate, Fallout, Deus Ex, Thief 1 and 2, Civilization etc are still some of my favorite games of all time even beating out today's games.

You certainly didn't need to constantly upgrade your hardware back then. I was in college then, so I was poor as heck like a normal college student. I couldn't afford upgrades even if I wanted them. The PC I got for high school graduation lasted me throughout all of my college gaming years.

Your PC now is quite a bit more powerful than mine, and I am still gaming strong on it. If you just replaced the junk card that always comes with a pre-built, you would have a better gaming PC than I do and it would last you for several years.

Edit: Just noticed this bit
Glad to hear that the newer hardware lasts longer but it's still a bigger cash outlay than a current gen console.

That is wrong as well. A gaming PC doesn't cost anymore than a console. If you buy a pre-built PC then yes you are likely spending more. Pre-builts overcharge you. If you build it yourself you can literally save half the money. When I built my PC five years ago, it cost me just a tad over $400. Cost of the Xbox 360 back then? $400... Yet my PC is a bit more powerful than the 360. If you would buy the same PC I built from Dell or someplace, then yes they would probably charge you close to $1000, so that's why any serious gamer builds their own. Its not hard to build your own either. I knew next to nothing about building computers before I tried and I just taught myself by reading how to do it online. Its a cliche saying, but if I can do it anyone can do it.

Jay G.
03-02-12, 12:52 PM
I didn't buy it to be a gaming machine but decided to try the new flight sim on a whim and was reminded of why I quit PC gaming in the first place. And if you started PC gaming back in the early 90s like I did then you most certainly were on an annual upgrade cycle or you weren't playing any newer games. I recall buying a 486DX2 chip for close to $400 just to get some early flight sims to run well.
PC Games have always had adjustable settings for use on a wide range of computers. I remember games coming with EGA/VGA toggles. Occasionally a game would push the limits without accommodating older hardware, but it was never a case where you'd have to annually upgrade or not be able to play any new games.

Glad to hear that the newer hardware lasts longer but it's still a bigger cash outlay than a current gen console.
Current gen console are several years old, and were much more expensive than they are now when they launched. The PS3 wasn't much cheaper than a halfway decent gaming PC.

Also, when you factor in that you're going to buy and own a PC for other uses, the cost to do gaming on it is incremental. For example, you could play a wide range of games on your PC if you put in a halfway decent graphics card for maybe $100, which is cheaper than buying an Xbox 360.

I wonder how the original Microsoft Flight Simulator team that was summarily let go in 2009 feels about this dumbed down version their product?
According to these articles, some members of the old ACES team worked on Microsoft Flight:
http://techhaze.com/2010/08/microsoft-flight-what-to-expect/
http://www.geekwire.com/2012/microsoft-flight-a-step-previous-efforts

Some former members formed Cascade Game Foundry, but they haven't released a product yet:
http://www.cascadegamefoundry.com/

mugwump
03-02-12, 04:36 PM
Thanks for the Cascade Game Foundry info, I'm glad that at least some of those guys stayed in the business.

And I'm apparently the bee in Mr. 79's bonnet. Comparing a 1992 PC like the one I was referencing to a late 90's PC is apples to oranges. We're talking DOS 5.0 vs. Windows 95/98. I still use my Win98 box almost every day as a dedicated MAME machine and it's still plugging along just fine but the last PC game I bought for it was the original Half-Life in 1998.

I'm pleased as punch that many of you still enjoy PC gaming. My original post only referenced my personal experiences as evidenced by the crafty use of the word "I." "I" quit PC gaming decades ago because "I" got tired of the expense and upgrade cycle that was required at the time "I" was gaming. There, see how that works?

Jay G.
03-02-12, 09:30 PM
My original post only referenced my personal experiences as evidenced by the crafty use of the word "I." "I" quit PC gaming decades ago because "I" got tired of the expense and upgrade cycle that was required at the time "I" was gaming. There, see how that works?

There was a strong implication in your original post that your problems with Flight were indicative of the "expense and upgrade cycle" that you had experience previously still occurring in the PC realm. kgrogers1979 attempted to correct your misconception, which he apparently at least partially did according to this later post of yours...

Glad to hear that the newer hardware lasts longer...


As for the "annual upgrades" needed back in the early 90s to even keep playing games, I'm still not convinced that was true. PCs were a big expense back then, even more so than now, so people were much less likely to upgrade them annually, which means that programmers had even more incentive to make their games playable on a wide swath of hardware than now.

I mean, back in 1988, Sierra made two different versions of King's Quest IV, one on their old AGI engine and one on their newer SCI engine, just so it could get in the hands of the largest number of players:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King%27s_Quest_IV:_The_Perils_of_Rosella#Versions

In 1992, which is about 3 years after the release of the 486 (which launched at $900), Wolfenstein 3D's minimum specs still allowed a 286, an architecture released a decade previous:
http://processortimeline.info/proc1980.htm
http://www.3drealms.com/wolf3d/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80286

kgrogers1979
03-06-12, 11:08 AM
Early 90s yeah you didn't need to upgrade at all. I don't think many of the computers back then were even upgradable. Any old PC could play Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, or Duke Nukem. Specs didn't matter a whole lot.

Upgrades didn't become popular until the 3D graphics era of the late 90s. I remember back then that a 3D video card was actually called a 3D accelerator chip, and they were completely optional. Even big name games like Quake, Half-Life, and Deus Ex didn't require a 3D accelerator. They could run in software mode as well; they just didn't look as pretty but they still ran.

So, no, at no point in PC gaming history has annual upgrades ever been required. That's a popular misconception many non-PC gamers have, and that's what I was trying to correct. A gaming PC can easily last you five or so years just like a console.

flashburn
03-06-12, 11:14 AM
Dammit, I just upgraded before I started reading this thread, and after spending all this time reading this thread, it's already time for me to upgrade again. Just great...

Jay G.
03-06-12, 02:06 PM
Early 90s yeah you didn't need to upgrade at all. I don't think many of the computers back then were even upgradable. Any old PC could play Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, or Duke Nukem. Specs didn't matter a whole lot.
Computers could almost always be upgraded. I remember our first PC came without a sound card, so we added one to it later. We had choices between Soundblaster, Soundblaster Pro, or a Soundblaster compatible card from a competitor. ISA slots were typically available, with maybe a VESA Local Bus slot for the video card.

CPUs were typically upgradable too, and perhaps more so than today. Cyrix made 486 chips that could be inserted into certain 386 sockets, which is just crazy when you think about the CPU socket situation currently:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_80486#Other_makers_of_486-like_CPUs

Nowadays, both sound and video are baked into the motherboard, so only dedicated gamers get a separate video card, and only audiophiles or audio professionals get a separate audio card. And CPUs are very rarely swapped out anymore.

mugwump
03-06-12, 04:38 PM
Early 90s yeah you didn't need to upgrade at all. I don't think many of the computers back then were even upgradable. Any old PC could play Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, or Duke Nukem. Specs didn't matter a whole lot.

I wish you had been around in 1993 then as you could have saved me a lot of cash since I was apparently upgrading with pretend computers and peripherals. Since I was primarily a flight sim guy I did indeed need to upgrade pieces of my computer at regular intervals in order to play the latest and greatest sims. I upgraded my 486/33 with a 486DX2 chip in order to squeeze out a few more frames per second and went through more than a few sound cards and video cards in order to run at full specs. When the 3D stuff started to launch then I had to add an additional 3DFX card before transitioning to the all-in-one 2D/3D cards. All in all I was spending hundreds of dollars a year on incremental hardware upgrades for my PCs throughout the 90s. Unless it was all a dream...

:brickwl:

Jay G.
03-06-12, 04:50 PM
I wish you had been around in 1993.. Since I was primarily a flight sim guy I did indeed need to upgrade pieces of my computer at regular intervals in order to play the latest and greatest sims... in order to run at full specs.
If you wanted to run the latest games at the highest specs, you certainly had to be constantly upgrading, since games would always try to let users max out their hardware's capabilities.

However, you certainly didn't need to upgrade as often as you were. in 1993, MS released Flight Simulator 5.0, which only needed a minimum 386SX (a lower power 386) to run, an architecture released 8 years prior:
http://www.mobygames.com/game/microsoft-flight-simulator-v50/cover-art/gameCoverId,122992/

kgrogers1979
03-06-12, 05:56 PM
I wish you had been around in 1993 then as you could have saved me a lot of cash since I was apparently upgrading with pretend computers and peripherals. Since I was primarily a flight sim guy I did indeed need to upgrade pieces of my computer at regular intervals in order to play the latest and greatest sims. I upgraded my 486/33 with a 486DX2 chip in order to squeeze out a few more frames per second and went through more than a few sound cards and video cards in order to run at full specs. When the 3D stuff started to launch then I had to add an additional 3DFX card before transitioning to the all-in-one 2D/3D cards. All in all I was spending hundreds of dollars a year on incremental hardware upgrades for my PCs throughout the 90s. Unless it was all a dream...

:brickwl:


I was around in 1993... already said I was in college in the late 90s so I was in high school in the early 90s.

And you need to learn the difference between mandatory and optional. Before you were acting like it was mandatory to annually upgrade your hardware. But now you are saying you only upgraded to be able to run at maximum settings. That is not mandatory at all. You can still play the games on lower settings with older hardware. Running at max settings is optional. Annually upgrading hardware is therefore optional.

Jay G.
04-05-12, 07:10 AM
The game's now on Steam:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/203850/

Steam also has an (apparently) exclusive Hawaiian Starter Bundle, which includes 3 DLC items: Hawaiian Adventure, Maule M-7-260C, and North American P-51 Mustang for $30, saving $13, or 30%, over buying them separately.

RichC2
04-05-12, 08:08 AM
Cool! Need to grab this.

Oh and whoever said Computers are cheap now is right, you can get a "stronger than console" PC for about the same price as a PS3 these days. Unfortunately it's HDDs that are driving up prices more than anything right now (Cases, PSUs, RAM, CPUs, Mobos, and budget graphic cards are all very affordable)

Jay G.
08-03-12, 11:45 AM
Microsoft has shut down development on Microsoft Flight, meaning no new content or updates:
http://www.1up.com/news/microsoft-flight-shutdown-hurt-future-f2p-games

Groucho
08-03-12, 12:50 PM
I just don't think the gameplay was casual enough for a freemium model.