Guess What’s Coming Back!

5 10 2010
Microsoft Flight Title Screenshot

Welcome back! Microsoft Flight.

At Gamescom 2010 last August, Microsoft announced the revival of the Flight Simulator series with a new product called “Microsoft Flight”!

This comes as wonderful surprise following the sad news of the ACES studio closure last January. Apparently Microsoft decided to bring the series back. But this time, it will be developed by Microsoft’s own Game Studios.

Here’s an excerpt from the official press announcement:

… Microsoft also announced the development of “Microsoft Flight,” a new entry inspired by the best-selling “Microsoft Flight Simulator” franchise. Published by Microsoft Game Studios …

“Today, we’re bringing powerful, inventive gaming experiences to the Windows-based PC,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “Over the years, our PC heritage captured the hearts and minds of millions of players. Reinventing these iconic franchises with social, shared experiences at their core marks the beginning of our return to PC gaming in bold new ways.”

Twenty-eight years after the debut of “Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0,” Microsoft Game Studios also announced the internal development of “Microsoft Flight,” a new Windows exclusive. “Microsoft Flight” will bring a new perspective to the long-standing genre, welcoming everyone, including long-time fans, to experience the magic of flight.

No details are announced at this moment, as Microsoft seems to be starting a long-running marketing campaign for the new game. And will uncover details as time passes, but I’m guessing that it’s going to be a long-time before they start announcing features and specifics about them. The only official info available is the official website. There’s a couple of teaser videos and a FAQ page that doesn’t actually reveal much!

Anyway, here are my thoughts about the new product:

I am worried about 2 facts: The removal of the word “Simulator” from the title, and the “new perspective” issue in the press announcement. Most fans are worried that this product will bring an end to the simulation factor that we loved in the previous products (FS9 and FSX). I am sure MS will not do this, because the simulation is a core feature that they cannot abandon, especially after the long running development time spent on older products.

At the start of the development cycle of “Microsoft Flight” MS already has the code for a highly detailed flight simulation engine (flight model), and an accurate scenery database that covers the whole world, and most of its airports. In addition to many 3rd party addons and a HUGE fan base. So, my guess is that MS will only concentrate on the following features while leaving the simulation part intact:

– A revamped graphics engine, supporting all major rendering technologies. Which will probably result in a loss of backward compatibility.

– A more versatile Missions engine, with an integrated mission editor.

– Multiplayer enhancements.

– Some sort of an arcade mode, which actively reduces realism factors and makes the game much easier for beginners (i.e. H.A.W.X.).

Anyway, no matter how things go, I am so excited about this announcement, and can’t wait to get a hands-on experience!





A Sad Day: ACES Closed, FS Abandoned!

24 01 2009

Today, Microsoft officially announced the closure of ACES Studios, the development studio behind the successful Flight Simulator franchise.

MS had to make this move following the announcement of a 5000 staff cuts. A 1400 cuts to be done immediately. ACES took the largest hit, when about 100 of its staff lost their jobs in the blink of an eye, which led to a closure of the whole studio and its development projects, which include the next version of Flight Simulator, and Train Simulator 2.

It’s a sad news for me, and for those who lost -or will lose- their jobs as a result of this decision. I was heavily affected by this news, because the Flight Simulator series forms the base of my gaming hobby.

I’ve been playing this game since the Flight Simulator 5.0 version on the Windows 95. The latest version is the tenth in the series’ history, following the success of a simulation program which started 25 years ago, on the Commodore 64!

Flight Simulator is the longest running franchise in the history of Microsoft. It’s even older than Windows! And, it’s also the most successful Flight Simulator ever created.

Flight Simulator is more than just a game for me. It actually helped me enjoy my dream of flying an airplane, and it also opened a window of opportunity for me to join a worldwide community of FS fans. It also was the main reason behind every single upgrade I did for my PC.

My sympathies to the crew at ACES, and to every other employee who lost their jobs due to the ongoing worldwide financial crisis.

And as the future of FS is put on hold until further notice, I have to thank each and every member of ACES for creating such a wonderful product, and for helping stretch my wings and reach for the skies. Thank you all.

The 1st Version of MS Flight Simulator

The 1st Version of MS Flight Simulator





Bill Gates, Forever!

28 06 2008

Yesterday, 27/6/2008 is a day to remember. Bill Gates officially retires from his job at Microsoft. He will be dedicating most of his “new-found” time on his charity organization.

It is a day to remember beause the man has accomplished so much, he became a legend. He had a dream, to make the PC as easy and reliable as any other electronic device we use today. And he delivered.

I know many of you may disagree with me due to well-known legislation problems concerning his products. But I for one, will never forget the first day I laid my hands on a keyboard. My first PC had a DOS 6.33 operating system, and even though I used it only for gaming at that time (I was 12), it really inspired me, and it didn’t seem that hard to learn either. This is IMO a great achievement; to make a PC with all its complications easy to operate even for a 12 year old kid!

And then came Windows. The OS monster sitting on ~80% of today’s PCs. Windows 3.11 was the beginning for me, and it was jaw-dropping at the time that I thought it was a miracle!! And look how that miracle evolved into a sophisticated platform for almost any kind of task. For me, my PC is a platform for gaming, programming, DVB-S TV, home theater, internet device, PDA, student-tools, and many more tasks than I can ever think of…

So, thank you Bill Gates. You’ve certainly made an impression on me, and many others. Your work will never be forgotten. & I hope one day I’ll be able to make a similar impression on other people, it is really the dream of my life.

There are so many details I didn’t want to get into here. Here’s a very interesting article written by Wolfgang Gruener at Tom’s Hardware with some more details about this event.