Though I’d prefer they added an airship, or at least a sofa with birthday balloons attached, I’m still very excited about Microsoft Flight Simulator’s new patch. The update brings some significant performance improvements that should bring higher frame rates, smooth out stuttering, and reduce strain on your whole system. Along with some exploration improvements and world map upgrades, it’s a very helpful patch.
We heard at the start of the month about the massive performance boost coming in to land, with Asobo’s CEO Sebastian Wloch going from 35fps to 60fps over the busy skyline of Manhattan. This comes from improved CPU multi-core support, and optimised memory and GPU usage, which should reduce loading times and strip away most of the game’s stutters. I’m currently patching it in anticipation of a turbulence free sightseeing tour of London. I think I might see if I can fly between my old neighborhoods.
For those less inclined to see Hendon in all its glory, there are new ‘discovery flights’. These are tours of the world’s most scenic locations (the Great Pyramids or Mount Everest). Weather and time is set for optimal conditions so you can admire Giza as it was meant to be seen.
The world map now features satellite imagery, which is a huge upgrade over splodges of colour that they previously used. Now you can zoom in and see detailed photography of the whole world. With a better overview and visible points of interest (POI), it should be far easier to plan a flight or find a specific landmark to buzz. That extends in-game, too. The POI labels can be toggled on in-game.
It’s a very helpful patch, probably driven by the recent Xbox launch of the game. There are 22 new tutorials, each focusing on a specific aspect of flying, and during flight you can bring up a new ‘assistant panel’. While flying, you can quickly toggle a few key systems: you can swiftly give the AI control of the radio or the plane, and easily see POIs in-game and set them as a destination.
It’s live and in the skies now, and with all that extra performance now’s the perfect time to explore the sim’s modding potential, too.