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New MSFS2024 details were revealed at the Flight Sim Expo 2023 by Microsoft and Asobo Studios’ lead developers!
After the tumultuous announcement of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 and the release of the FAQs several hours later, we finally have some concrete information, as announced in their presentation at the Flight Sim Expo 2023. A lot of information was covered quickly, so let’s break things down here.
The developers used this presentation to make some clarifications for the hardcore flight simulation audience present at the Flight Sim Expo. They clarified that the general MSFS audience was interested in more activities and that MSFS was a great sandbox but not a great “game.” One of the purposes of MSFS2024 is to inject all of these activities into the core flight simulation formula while maintaining the simulation value. The developers have specifically avoided “gamey” type missions. Instead, they have worked with real-world aviation industries to implement activities carried out by real pilots.
They also clarified that although the announcement video did not showcase any airliners (although the Beluga is technically an airliner), there will be many airliners in MSFS2024. The developers are working with airlines and manufacturers to bring a “surprising” amount of aircraft to the sim. These clarifications should clear up the community confusion and generate some excitement for the announcement of the airliners.
The lead developer from Asobo Studios explained some of the exciting new features coming to MSFS2024. He clarified that this is not a copy-paste of MSFS with some added seasoning. Instead, this is closer to a complete redesign of the sim.
The first issue the developers want to address is how intense MSFS has become on our hard drives and the internet. Ever opened MSFS only to be accosted by a 25-gigabyte update? This is due to an unintelligent texture and model downloading system. If you download a world update, you download roughly eight or nine gigabytes of scenery data, but you will only ever come across around 500 megabytes. The world is so vast that you will never see most of the data you download.
MSFS2024 will solve this problem using an intelligent system that will only download what is necessary to be local to your computer, drastically reducing the footprint that MSFS has on your hard drive. This should lead to reduced installation and loading times and is fully backward compatible! This feature does not affect the community folder at all. Any add-ons you have installed will remain installed and compatible with MSFS2024.
The physics and aerodynamics engine has been drastically improved. MSFS2024 is a huge step forward in terms of aerodynamic modeling and 3rd party add-on capabilities. The sim will have completely adjustable surface modeling, meaning developers can choose exactly how detailed the surfaces are when modeling their aircraft. The sim will model any surface. If you model a cube-shaped aircraft, the sim will model airflow around a cube-shaped aircraft.
This single change opens up a new world of possibilities in the sim. The higher-resolution surface modeling means soft body physics is now possible! Those hot-air balloons showcased in the trailer showed off this change’s capability to model complex soft-body physics. Additionally, aircraft can utilize this soft-body capability to model wear and tear to a degree we haven’t seen before. Perhaps we may even see crash physics!
All of these features are entirely optional, meaning 3rd-party add-ons developed for MSFS can carry over to MSFS2024 with zero changes and enjoy the benefits of the newly added multithreaded physics simulation. Gaining performance for free is not the only benefit. Developers can slowly add these new features to their products, eliminating the need for separate versions.
Additionally, MSFS2024 will include a whole new suite of systems modeling available in the default sim. These include electrical, pneumatic, fuel, and hydraulic systeThesehese will play into comprehensive failure modeling tied to a wear and tear system. Creating a dynamic and immersive experience for flight simmers.
With the inclusion of activities, the developers have also added comprehensive payload and passenger systems, making cargo-ops and commercial aviation flights more immersive. Combine this with the deeper and broader avionics packages, and default aircraft might rival some of the 3rd-party add-ons we enjoy today!
A new addition to the MSFS lineup would not be complete without redesigning the ground and world environments. The developers have made an effort to build on the methods used in MSFS to bring the ground environments in MSFS2024 to a whole new level! The developers broke these improvements into three categories: Static, Dynamic, and Living.
The developers broke down the ground enhancements into a step-by-step process:
Detect surface type with machine learning
Add 3D trees and bushes
Add 3D rocks
Color 3D rocks
Add surface material and detail maps
This sounds like a lot, but when put together, the process is capable of making far more convincing environments. You may have missed the Grand Canyon sneakily placed in the trailer, showcasing the new ground materials and cliffs. This all came together to create what almost looked like a hand-crafted environment, yet it is all generated using 3D photogrammetry and some code!
Another new detail that the keen-eyed will notice is the use of satellite imagery to create environments in areas where the team was not allowed to fly over to take photogrammetry shots. These areas will be less detailed. However, they will still provide a new experience for flight simmers. The images of Mount Kilimanjaro in the trailer were intended to showcase this new feature.
Adding tesselation to the sim will mean the ground will dynamically interact with your aircraft. The best example of this is the tire marks left behind by an aircraft rolling over snow. All these features combined will create an immersive experience that is truly unparalleled.
Ever noticed that MSFS has no seasons? It’s either snow-covered or grassy, no in between. MSFS2024 will change this, adding fully dynamic seasons from Spring to Fall and snow to rain. Seasons will change the world environment dynamically. Additionally, MSFS2024 will have Aurora Borealis, tornados, and violent storms! I can see the exciting activities forming around these features already!
Last but certainly not least is the dynamic world. Tying all of these features together and bringing life to the world, MSFS2024 will simulate movement like nothing before. Starting with life, the developers have granted it to animals, modeling and simulating ecosystems of dynamic wildlife. Making bush trips and cow herding much more exciting, especially cow herding… it’s helpful to have cows.
The lackluster air traffic system in MSFS is no more, replaced with a comprehensive live air traffic modeling that includes… REAL-WORLD LIVERIES! Additionally, MSFS2024 will have live worldwide ship traffic and dynamic vehicle traffic. Making the world feel more real, bringing movement to the land, sea, and skies.
This presentation has really escalated my type for MSFS2024. I certainly hope it has raised yours as well. All of these features are everything the community could have ever asked for and more. With all these changes and features, I believe we will finally have an excellent flight simulator available for flight simmers dying to get something fresh.
I am certainly incredibly excited for this to release, and I can’t wait to hear more news as it becomes available. Stay tuned for updates; MSFS2024 is shaping up to be an incredibly exciting future for flight simulation.
We still don’t have any update on the release date other than sometime in 2024. Make sure to check back regularly as we continue to cover breaking stories from the Flight Sim Expo 2023!
Written by: Noah