Atoll locations in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (part 1)

I’ve been doing some sightseeing in Microsoft Flight Simulator, flying over some of the major atoll locations around the world, and other famous Pacific island locations (e.g. Wake Island, featured in many Battlefield and other games)

Henderson Field, Midway Island – PMDY

Bora Bora Airport – NTTB

Wake Island – PWAK

Great Chagos Bank

The Maldives has many atolls spread across a whole archipelago of islands

VRMO Kooddoo – North eastern rim of the Huvadhu Atoll, Maldives

This airport doesn’t appear to be in MSFS.

Kadhdhoo, Maldives

Thimarafushi – Thaa Atoll, Maldives

This is an odd one – in MSFS the island with the airport is just rendered as a large blocky beach:

Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia – Chuuk International Airport PTKK

This is a view from approx 8000ft, the southeast rim of the atoll and looking back towards larger islands in the center:

I’ll follow up with another similar post soon.

Disk already full on new custom build PC specifically for Microsoft Flight Simulator: how-to move your packages folder to a different disk

In less than 10 months the disk on my new custom PC I built specifically for play Microsoft Flight Simulator is already full:

I put a 500GB m.2 NVMe drive in this machine, so while 500GB is not massive, it’s surprising that the updates, patches and scenery cache so far has already filled the entire disk. This main NVMe was a Corsair Gen 4 m.2, so was slightly more pricey than alternatives but faster than the other Gen 3 m.2 sticks at the time. I have since added a second 1GB m.2 stick, a cheaper but not as fast Sabrent Rocket.

Rather than reinstalling MS Flight Sim from scratch (which would have required another multiday download from Steam), I moved the packages folder from C: to D: – steps to do this are described here.

In summary for Steam installs, edit the UserCFG.opt file in this location:

C:\Users\YourUsername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft Flight Simulator

… and change this line:

InstalledPackagesPath "C:\Users\YourUsername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft Flight Simulator\Packages"

… to point to any new location. You can move the existing content of this folder to the new location, and when you restart, any new updates or add-ons will go to this new location.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Update 5 : First Impressions

Update 5 for Microsoft Flight Simulator was released on on 7/27/21 this week, and my first impressions (after waiting 2 days for my download to complete) are … WOW.

It’s smooth, buttery smooth. In 1080p with a Ryzen 5 3600XT and a RTX 2060 I was previously getting around 30 fps at best, and dipping below that in heavy city areas like New York. After the update with the same settings I’m now getting around 60fps, but the even without the increase in fps, the sim is noticeably smoother with less stutters that I used to notice before.

There’s plenty of other updates and changes:

  • the world map now shows satellite imagery and place names on the map which makes it much easier to find interesting places to fly (unlike the plain grey non-descript map we had before)
  • while the game load time seems about the same, the load time from creating a flight from the map and arriving on the runway ready to fly has definitely been improved (it seems at least twice as fast as it was)
  • particle effects have been added for water, dirt and snow landings. For float planes, you now get a somewhat realistic wake behind your plane when you land or taxi on water. This is a massive improvement over none at all that we had before
  • there’s a number of ski and float plane options added for the stock planes
  • seaplane harbors have been added to the map, so you can start a flight from a harbor or see the locations of harbors on the VFR map
  • more POI markers on the maps and in game as you’re flying

I’m sure there’s plenty more to find, but these are the major changes I’ve seen so far.

Am I happy with the update so far? Yes, definitely. I’ve had one crash to desktop (CTD) so far after just flying for an hour, which is far more that I’ve experienced before. Posts in the forums suggest a lot of CTDs right now, so hopefully there’ll be more fixes to come. Right now though I’m enjoying being able to take off and land from water and have it look somewhat realistic, and feature we had on most of the MS FS versions.

As a comparison, shortly after launch I was comparing taxiing on water near the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in FSX:

Verrazzano Narrows Bridge, NY – Microsoft Flight Simulator X

Here’s what it looks like after Update 5 with the wake effects (but still a shame about the rendering of the bridge itself):

At least the water wake effects now look realistic (where previously there wasn’t any):

… those solid bridges really need to get fixed though.

On the plus side, one final screenshot – how stunning is this?

Microsoft Flight Simulator AI generated scenery oddity – Maentwrog, Wales, UK

Microsoft Flight Simulator uses to generate 3d scenery buildings from interpreting patterns like shadows in the 2d photo map imagery. In most cases this works great, but occasionally there’s some weird interpretations of the imagery that generates some incredible structures.

Here’s one example south-west of Maentwrog in Wales. If you look at Google Maps of this area, there is line casting a shadow on the ground and some regularly spaced structures along the shadow. I’m guessing these are power lines and pylons. However, in the sim this is interpreted as this very impressive and incredibly large bridge to no-where structure:

Location in Volanta moving map app:

It will be interesting after the upcoming UK scenery World Update if this is still here or if it gets fixed.