Tag Archives: FS2020

Sapphire or Tourmaline

This all started some time ago, but it resurfaced as I started to replay AC Origin. In lockdown land any change of gaming is a well desired one and AC Origin is actually quite good. But that is merely the start, as I was playing (and as some missions are identical to the first time around) my mind wandered to a delusional IT manager in the early 90’s (1991 I believe). He stated “a resource shared is revenue doubled”, it is that idiotic level of fortune cookie wisdom that as actually rewarded, I never got that part. Yet there was a small gemstone of truth there, but not where he thought it was. As we make a jump to another place it is time for a question. How many real simulators are there? As far as I can tell there is one, only one. Nearly all others are games. The only one true simulator is made by Microsoft and it is the Flight Simulator, currently known as FS2020. Isn’t that surprising? A whole range of games but no one truly dug into the real of simulators. It tends to be really really hard, too hard for a lot of them. 

Yet here we get to see the light, Ubisoft has options (well it always had them, but more often they were ignored), yet with AC Origin they opened a door and now we have a ballgame. What if AC origin is merely the start of a dynasty game, a true simulator about life in Egypt? They have nearly all the graphics ready, the maps need adjustment and the spacing needs to change (like 1:9), so that every area is at least 900% in size but consider a true simulator where you are the beer merchant, the farmer, the fisherman, the embalmer, the priest and above all other arts, the overwhelming pressure of the gods and a monarchy that shows little to no mercy, a true first comprehension of what life was about then. And you cannot do it all, a stage where you get assigned a map where you were born and a role you were given, you have some choices as did the people then, but their options were very small, they had little choice. A true historic simulator and guess what? There are none. It has never been done before and I reckon that no one ever considered it to this degree, the technology stopped them, but with Google Stadia and Amazon Luna (and 1-2 alternatives) it is now possible. Even as I still believe that “a resource shared is revenue doubled” is utter nonsense, there is a gem of truth there. Some resources can be used again and that does not mean that revenue is doubled, but the second stage becomes easier and with hardship out of the way there is no reason not to contemplate a path none dared to walk and there is also the second ego reason, being first somewhere counts, being the first who gets it right to this degree is massively rewarding, others will have to fight to equal what you pulled off and it will vex them to no end. Will it happen? I do not know, as I said, this has never been done before and that is also the most rewarding part, especially for Ubisoft if they go there. The educational value is enormous. We are smitten by movies like the Mummy (Brendan Fraser edition), the 10 commandments, Rome, Spartacus, Cleopatra and it fills the mind with what could be, but people like Julian Fellows (Downton Abbey, Belgravia) has opened to some degree our eyes, just like the Vatican game I had in mind. This simulator could wake up an entire generation. Just like Steven Spielberg did with Jurassic Park. Who did not want to see the Triceratops? We have a similar fascination with the Roman and Egyptian era, yet books and movies is all we have and now we could for the first time get a true simulator. Yes, I will agree that it is not for everyone, but there is another upside to cloud gaming. We are willing to try a lot of games when it is included in some package, and there lies the gemstone. Apart from those who want to see Egypt is the past, there is another group of people who want to try everything. It is merely the sense of us as we explore and especially explore when it costs nothing extra, we are nearly all like that.

Will it happen? Time will tell, it usually does.

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Wrongly Slapping Microsoft

So, there I was being happy, reading tweets when an article passed by. It was an article from July 2020 no less, although I did not notice the date at first, the title ‘The hidden costs of Microsoft Flight Simulator’ had me a little captivated, so I took a look. In all this, let’s be upfront. I have an issue with Microsoft on several levels, they screwed up their console, they (as I personally see it) betrayed their customers and I am not a Microsoft fan. Yet, there Flight Simulator is different, it is a ‘game’ for a select group of people. I am not a sim fanatic, but I get it, we all have needs and for them Flight Simulator is ‘da bomb’, I do not object. I bought my first flight simulator when I got my CBM64 (with disk drive). I bought the program in the early days for around $175 (Dfl 299), I was not bonkers about the game, but it was a new level of gaming. It came with a book, not a small manual, but an operations guide that was formidable, 4 maps and a disc. I never regretted buying it. I got one on the PC later on, I got the flight simulator X and one more. Even as I was not a great fan, the Flight simulator is a different level of gaming, so when I saw the new one announced and I saw first images on YouTube, my mouth dropped. It was overwhelmingly amazing, it was the best a non pilot could get and that person would get as close to flying (without the $300 an hour lesson fee) as humanly possible. So this article got me piqued. 

Now, as I said, I am not Microsoft fan and bashing them is almost a civil duty the first hour and done for personal pleasure the 6 hours that follow that, but I do try to keep a sense of fairness, so the article felt bad, it felt insincere. The article (at https://www.pcinvasion.com/hidden-costs-microsoft-flight-simulator/) gives us the following “However, simulation titles, particularly flight sims, are notorious for nickel-and-diming their customers. On day one, the new Microsoft Flight Simulator will continue this trend that it birthed right out of the box.” As I see it, this is their clumsy approach to a few items, the first are the three Simulators out there. There is a standard, a deluxe and a premium edition for $59, $89 and $119. We get “the simulator itself, the entire world map, over 37,000 airports, 3D telemetry of select cities, and 20 flyable aircraft, and replaces 30 airports with hand-crafted versions. It is available for one-time purchase”, the deluxe edition has 5 additional airplanes and 5 handcrafted airports and the premium edition has 5 more above the deluxe edition. If you are new, you might not want to go the distance and stay with the standard version, yet, I get it, the sim people do want more, they want the Beechcraft Baron, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Cessna Citation Longitude and so on. Even though we see ‘extra’ no one is looking too deep at what the standard has, and it has plenty. Like the Boeing 747-8, the Aviat Pitts Special and 18 others. As for airports we might look at that, but I found the information given “Each World Update has replaced additional procedurally-generated airports with hand-crafted models. World Updates are available in all editions for free, bringing the number of airports available in the Standard edition up to 45, so in the ‘FOR FREE’ side, we see 15 additional airports. In this, the hand crafted versions replace the procedurally generated ones, it is more precise, it is the one you want and that is if you want to go to this airport. The simulator has 100% world coverage including over 37,000 airports, 2 million cities, and 1.5 billion buildings. There are programs out there requiring the same pay with only 1% coverage (if they get to 1% that is). 

As such, I have no idea what the writer of “it’s really the price difference of this new release that has some folks reeling. The Standard edition will start at $60, but the Premium Deluxe is double trouble with a gut-churning $120 asking price” is bitching about. The simple sim matter is that sims are a niche market and if you are not a sim person, or if you want to find out, you can either pay the $59, or get the Xbox game pass (it is included there), with the world (on your computer), you will be engaged for months, if not years to see if you are Sim material and that is part of the choice, a niche market is not for everyone and the makers of that program will not cry if you are not. Microsoft Flight Simulator has millions of fans and well deserved so. I enjoyed playing them, I am not great at them and I get that some people pay the $200 for real flight controllers. Yet above all else, the FS2020 blew me away ad I was honestly not ready to be that impressed, but they achieved that and that too requires attention. I will happily slap them when they do something wrong, but not here. Microsoft got the FS2020 really really right and perhaps if I ever get another overhyped PC I will get this flight simulator as well. CNet gives us “The minimal specs are fairly reasonable, but for the ideal graphics, you may need a more powerful setup”, which is is to be expected. Yet when you consider that you will need a XFX AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT RAW II for 4K images, some get scared and some accept this. Yet when you get to see:

You know there was a reason that you bought that card, however the starter will find plenty of amazement in the low resolution setting which needs a GeForce GTX 770, however this card is $379 with the premise that if you have no hardware this close, your PC is decently outdated to begin with. As such, I am always happy to slap Microsoft around, but not in this case, they really outdid themselves for the sim fanatics and they will not hesitate to Pau the $50 more for 10 additional planes and 10 additional airfields. They will get over the all the other things soon enough and as far as I can tell, whomever want to slap the FS2020 around better be loaded for bear, when you can claim “100% world coverage including over 37,000 airports, 2 million cities, and 1.5 billion buildings” you did something really really right and that too is worthy of mention, excellence will always be admired in gaming, whether it is your cup of tea or not, excellence is where it is at, excellence creates immersion and that is key to any game hoping to become a legendary product.

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