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)
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:
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.
Microsoft Flight Simulator uses Blackshark.ai 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: