Flight Sim World takes off into early access clouds

Giant flying machinery simulator Flight Sim World [official site] has taken to the early access skies today. Will it soar and glide like a divine condor, or will its engine splutter and crash like a divine condor that has suddenly died of a heart attack? With metaphors like this, who can say. It’s from Dovetail Games, the makers of the Train Simulator series, responsible for the swarms of train-based DLC you often see on the Steam storefront. Our Alice once said that Train simulator is “one of those fascinating games where people who’ve played it for hundreds of hours will tell you it’s awful”. So it is hard to judge how their journey into the air might turn out.

That was a short video of some planes. Here are some short sentences, also about planes.

Take control of your exquisitely modeled aircraft, from take-off to landing, through a variety of dramatic weather conditions. Either fly with friends in multiplayer mode, or fly solo from over 24,000 airports worldwide.

If you are new to flight simulation, learn the basics while working towards obtaining your in-sim qualifications in our true-to-life flight lessons. For those who demand more of a challenge, a series of complex missions will push your skills to their limit.

They are running a typical early access gauntlet, according to some early reviews on Steam. Many people so far are complaining about optimisation problems like poor FPS rates. But Dovetail say updates are planned soon, including “a weather system upgrade, flight planner expansions, and enhanced multiplayer functionality”. I haven’t been for a spin in an virtual aircraft since my flying lessons with a real pilot but I might give this a go and see if I remember everything correctly or if I try to simulate a stall and crash into the sea. It’s on Steam for £19.99/$24.99.


  1. rsf says:

    Dovetail came thinking the coast was clear to buy themselves monopoly of the civilian flightsim scene and paid addon profits without needing to do anything much to improve the old,old,old FSX codebase. Saw X-Plane-11 leap forward and drag civilian commercial flightsims into the modern era. Bailed into early access so they don’t have to foot development costs, withdrew their Dovetail flight school from steam, and dropped their full price flight sim that was scheduled for launch end of last year.

    Now they’ve added a bunch of paid addons, done some minor stuff like 64 bit&dx11, and make a misleading pitch pretending they’re saviours taking flight sims forward being the only sim in town. ‘we believe it makes no sense to work in isolation’ – wasn’t the plan until end of last year and X-plane 11, and does that need making the public foot the bill?. Just listen to their trailer for lols.

  2. trjp says:

    I’ve long complained about Railworks/TS’s many foibles and I’m coming-up to 100 hours in the thing (which is a lot for me!) so I identify with the sentiments ;0

    The big issue for TS has always been “no effective competition” – there are a few specialist titles but if you’re looking for broad-based rail sim with some varied content (esp. if you’re Euro-focussed), TS is your only real option.

    In fairness, it does a lot of things well, it’s just that the developers (not just DTG but the third-parties) are often deaf to feedback and seldom, if ever, fix issues (including outright crash issues – let alone niggling things like impossible scenarios or gamebreaking performance problems)

    TS is built on a framework which is almost 20-years-old (dating back to MSTS) – but Train Sim World is brand-new and already has a lot of the same niggly bullshit which TS has long said was a function of it’s legacy – go figure on that one.

    No idea if the flight sim market is more competitive – if it is, I only hope it makes DTG up-their-game because I can’t see them getting the depth of content into TSW that TS has – ever – and sim players are not keen to leave their expensive DLC collections behind?

    • Silent_Thunder says:

      The flight sim market is far more competitive, there’s X-Plane 11, and Lockheed Martin’s P3D, which is based on the same code base as Dovetail’s game. (Lockheed Martin’s version is for “education purposes only” though, wink wink nudge nudge)

  3. ziffel says:

    Be extremely wary of ANYTHING this company puts out. They buy very old code, slap a coat of paint on it, and call it a new game. Then they ignore bugs, performance issues, and other problems and proceed to shovel out DLC after DLC after DLC. This company (DTG) is basically a DLC factory.

    X-Plane 11 is far superior in every way. And although it is $60 up front, you get infinitely more for your money.

    • trjp says:

      I think that’s a slightly unfair description – Dovetail is a commercial entity built around the team who supported/rescued Rail Simulator (which was quickly abandoned by EA).

      The Train Sim market can’t be huge and even with the relatively high DLC prices, I doubt there’s fortunes being made and there’s a LOT more work in this stuff than some people realise.

      You can compare the end-result of their efforts with the other attempts made to improve on MSTS

      Microsoft had 2 goes at making a sequel to MSTS. One started with Kuju (developers of MSTS and Rail Simulator) before being taken in-house and then canned. The other was another in-house attempt which was eventually canned too.

      Open Rails is an open-source project which attempts (mostly successfully) to support all MSTS content – it’s quite-good but VERY niche and WAY short of what TS offers.

      Your description may apply better to Trainz. That has an equally ‘passed around’ history but there’s been a LOT of dubious goings-on with it’s developers and the end-product available right now is a shambles…

  4. cpy says:

    Steam reviews says it all. 10-20 fps on minimum details on 970GTX/1070GTX. Avoid this piece of shit like plague.

    • rb207 says:

      fsx is not really limited by the graphics card it’s always processor speed and lack of multi threading that’s limited it. also it’s a game that wasn’t designed to be played with all settings maxed. I prefer xplane and I prefer dcs and the il2 series beyond that but I just thought I’d point that out

  5. ButteringSundays says:

    It’s a shame that this is what won the dice roll for the token flight simulator post of the year. I don’t think that anyone that enjoys flights sims is actually interested in it…

  6. Zenicetus says:

    From what I’ve seen in screen shots, videos and user comments, it’s essentially FSX but stripped down in some ways to protect DLC sales. The plane exterior and cockpit modeling looks better in the default planes, but it’s just a few GA piston props. No turboprops, no jets, no helicopters in the default lineup.

    They’ve barely touched the FSX scenery engine. It still shows pop-ups and a blurred, short-distance horizon. Night flying looks terrible compared to XP11 (but then, so does anything else out there).

    The worst is the DLC policies for outside developers, and restrictions on free content. For sales on Steam, they want to take a 30% cut for Steam (reasonable) plus 30% for DTG, leaving just 40% for the add-on developer. Add-on developers can sell through other outlets, but only if their DLC is also carried on Steam.

    That 60% cut might be made up in volume sales through Steam, but add-on developers will also be required to pay their own license fees to the manufacturers of the real thing for aircraft names and avionics names. And that applies to any free user-made planes and avionics too. No free add-ons without licenses paid by the developer. Better not put “Garmin” on your GPS panel, or “Texaco” on your fuel truck model.

    DTG has learned nothing from MS Flight. It’s the add-ons that make a flight sim successful. And I don’t think they picked a winner with FSX code as a scenery base, even if they did manage to move it into 64-bits.