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Sunday, 18 March 2012

Microsoft Flight Part II

I've been playing Microsoft Flight for a few weeks now and I am enjoying it more than ever. The more I fly in MS Flight I have come to realise the flight model is much closer to a simulation than a just a game. I also think you'll have more fun flying with a joystick. I played the free version, upgraded to the full Hawaiian islands and downloaded the Maule. The Maule was one of my favourite planes from Flight Simulator X. It's from flying the Maule that makes me think Flight is more of a simulation. I started by flying the Icon A5 which is very easy and stable to fly (even when set to the harder flight settings). The wing on the A5 is similar to a glider which I believe makes it easy to fly.

What suspends my dis-belief even more in Flight is the ability to use radio navigation. All the VOR's, ILS etc are there for you. To find the navigation radio information go to the map, select "Legend" then you can tick a box that makes radio navigation beacons appear on the map. I got that tip from Flight's Facebook page. The Maule and Van's RV-6 both have navigation radios, plus the RV-6 has ILS/Glidescope. I have not tried ILS/Glidescope landings yet, but there is a landing challenge for the RV-6 in the game so get familiar with it. I love flying the Maule, then find an airport with a VOR and fly right to it.

Navigating in the Maule

The missions in Microsoft Flight are challenging and fun. Jobs at airports with various freight and charters reminds me of the kind of things my instructor pilots used to do. Flight also have Aerocaches. They give you XP and help you to explore and find interesting places.

Expansion packs and some new planes in Flight are based on Downloadable Content. It seems like this game shouldn't be based on DLC.  But with the Xbox games I play like Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare, Fifa and other all have DLC content. So why DLC with Flight? We are used to this on console games. It's has to be expensive to develop Flight, and even more expensive to continue development. Many of the past products like Flight Simulator X was released, had some service packs, an acceleration pack and that was it from Microsoft. There have been plenty of add-ons from other people but development of the game stopped after the service packs. Other models for flight sims could be like Aces High, where you pay a monthly fee to play. The company gets regular income and the game keeps developing. I welcome DLC with Flight. I hope people pay and Flight keeps getting developed and improved for many years to come. Microsoft have announced the Alaska DLC with 1.5 million square kilometres of scenery, new aircraft and new missions. I can't wait.