Developer Video: July 21, 2023 Transcription


“Hi, everyone! It’s me, Jayne. I’m the Senior Community Manager for Microsoft Flight Simulator. We have a little bit of a different format for our Dev Stream. It’s not a “stream”; we are doing a pre-recorded video for you today. We had some outages, but we still really wanted to touch base with the community, answer a couple of questions, have some guests on, and share some updates that are coming in Microsoft Flight Simulator over the next couple of months.

“So, of course, I’m going to introduce you to the most familiar face, Jorg Neumann, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Jorg, take it away!”

“Hi, everybody! Good to see you, good to be back. As you can see, I’m flying “solo” today. Seb and Martial are both on vacation, so Jayne and I basically said, ‘Let’s make a quick video so at least we can give you an update.’ They will be back next month. Just checked, last time we talked was actually two months ago; it was May 3rd, and we skipped June because, frankly, June was an incredibly busy month for flight simulation.”

The Past Month

“It all started on June 13th; we were featured at the Xbox Showcase Event, and there we had a teaser trailer for Flight Sim 2024. We showed some really cool authentic aviation activities like firefighting, search and rescue, aerial application, and air racing. We didn’t say much beyond that, but super cool trailer. We also announced that we are making another movie tie-in DLC about Dune coming later this year. In it, you can fly the super cool, super flexible ornithopter. Can’t wait for that one. By the way, just like last time, it’s also free.”

“So, back to 2024; just a few days after the Showcase, we went to Houston for the first time. We attended the Houston Flight Sim Expo and met several of you, quite a few of you, and it was lovely. In it, Sebastian and I gave a presentation that provided a little bit more insight about all the cool things we’re doing in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024: the new physics system, the new systems that we’re making, you’ve seen a bunch of the aircraft coming in the trailer, and the enhancements we’re doing to the world. We talked about a thin client, and I think at the end of the day, everybody understood this is the biggest undertaking ever in flight simulation, and it’s super exciting. But we’re not going to talk about this today; today, we’re going to focus more on the near-term. So let’s take a quick look at what happened.”

“So right here, you can see all the things we shipped in June. We actually wanted to go to the Paris Air Show, but it was too close together with the Houston event, so we ended up not going. But to celebrate the Paris Air Show, we did a city update for France with five cities. We also released a wonderful plane by Blue Mesh called the Latécoère 631 as a local Legend 10. Great plane, just so much love went into that from Blue Mesh, so thank you so much for that, Jimmy.”

“Then, a day later, sort of as a surprise, we updated the ATR from Hans and SH simulation with The Highline. The Highline was announced just a few days before the air show by ATR; it’s a new business class version, and that was just a free update for y’all to have fun with the ATR. Three days after that, we released the Aircraft and Avionics update from Working Title, where they made huge improvements to the 747, 787, and from the feedback we saw in the Forum, you guys are loving it, which is great.”

“At the same time, which was also at the Showcase, we released the Famous Flyer 6, the Fort Ford 480e Tri-Motor, and just to celebrate the Expo, that plane was free for the first week, and I saw a whole lot of you downloading it, so yay! Hope you’re having fun. And then, six days after that, we had another update to celebrate the 4th of July, but nobody wanted to work on 4th of July, so we did the update on June 29th, and it was a city update for Texas, and part to celebrate the Houston event of Flight Sim Expo.”

“Some of you have asked why did you not put Dallas there? Well, we would have liked to, but Dallas was just not ready. I hope it’s ready sometime later this year, maybe early next year. And then, at that same time, we released Local Legend 11, which is the Boeing 307 Stratoliner from Airplane Heaven, also a great, great plane. So that’s why Seb and Martial are on vacation, and I’m here solo-style with Jayne. We did a ton in June, and I hope you really enjoyed it. But let’s look at what’s next.”

World Update 14

“So next comes World Update 14, and we had this tease last time, and many of you got it right. We teased the city of Prague, and it is, in fact, Prague in Czech Republic. World Update 14 is about Central Eastern Europe, and what does that mean? It’s six countries: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, and Croatia. Like we almost always do, we have new DEM [Digital elevation model], we have completely new aerials, and, in this update, we actually have 10 TIN cities, which is wonderful. Including, from the Czech Republic: Brno, Plzeň, and Prague; in Hungary: Budapest. For Bosnia we have Banja Luka and Sarajevo; for Slovenia we have Ljubljana and Maribor; and for Croatia we have Split and the lovely, wonderful Dubrovnik. So 10, and on top of that, Gaya made 103 points of interest, and we have six airports. That’s going to be a great update. And to celebrate just a little bit, here is the first 30 seconds or so of the trailer.”

Local Legend 11

“Alright, as it is customary, we also have a local Legend shipping alongside the World Update. In this case, we picked a classic plane, maybe not so well-known from Czechoslovakia, and it’s the Aero Vodochody AE-45 prototype and AE-145. It was developed by Aeroplane Heaven, and I’ve asked Barry if he could just give us a quick presentation. Here’s Barry.”

“Hi, guys! It’s Baz here from Aeroplane Heaven, and I’m going to introduce you to the Aero Ae-45 and the Ae-145. There aren’t many of these around these days, so building this plane gave us a few challenges, including the fact that very little early information is available. We also had to learn a lot of Czechoslovakian just to sort out the cockpit. We are very grateful to several owners of real aircraft who provided pilot manuals and technical info for our flight modeling and systems guys. It’s been great fun to do, though, and this is one of my personal favorites for short hops and touring new sceneries. So, let’s take a quick look at this pretty little twin-engined lightweight from the Czech company Aero Vodochody.

“It first saw the light of day just after the end of World War II and was the brainchild of a small group of engineers at the plant who worked on it in their own time, even using their own money. They did eventually get the backing of the company, and the design was named the Aero Ae-45. By the way, ‘45’ is a reference to the seating arrangement, four to five. Depending on the size of the occupants, you can put in two people in the front and three on the back seat. It was pretty advanced for its day, and the Aero was a fast and agile performer. Easy to fly, it was an immediate hit with pilots wherever it went.”

“Power comes from two four-cylinder Avia M332 engines, which run inverted and are similar in layout to the British Gypsy engines you’ll find in De Havilland’s Tiger Moth and the later Chipmunk trainers. At the end of the war, materials and aviation supplies in Czechoslovakia were pretty scarce, so a fair amount of components used in the Aero came from German aircraft, which the Aero Factory had helped build during the occupation. Some of the cockpit gauges and controls, like the magnetos here, were borrowed directly from the Heinkel HE-111 medium bomber. With an all-metal construction, it’s light and very strong, sleek, and aerodynamically efficient.”

“The 45 was successfully exported to countries like the Netherlands, the UK, France, and even to Australia and the United States. Aeros were used in the military as liaison transport, air ambulances, and for mail delivery. Short takeoff and landing runs meant they could operate just about anywhere. They were a credible choice in the emerging light aircraft market, taking on the likes of Cessna and Piper for executive and family travel. The Ae-145 was the final version of the Aero and had supercharged engines, making it faster and more sophisticated than the earlier models. The canopy is much more streamlined and gives superb all-round visibility. For the times, the Aero was quite advanced and had a lot of innovative ideas. Many of the controls are electrically powered, including the flaps and the retractable landing gear.”

“One novel feature is this really neat, all-electric automatic prop pitch controller. It works a bit like a pre-selected gearbox in a car, and you can preset pitch for different flying conditions like takeoff, climb, and cruise simply by pushing a button. A 145 can reach 175 miles an hour and will climb to 19,000 feet; 7,000 feet on one engine. Aeros have flown the Atlantic, across the Indian Ocean, and traveled as far as Australia. It’s a brilliant little airplane and is a great choice for cruising around the amazing world of Microsoft Flight Simulator. And with more on that, here’s Jorg.”

“Thank you, Barry. It looks great. I’ve flown the plane a little bit; it’s super fun and easy to fly, which is good for me. So that is coming out, both of them, with World Update 14 and the Local Legend 11 coming out on 7/25. So next week.”

Q&A Section

Thanks, Jorg. Now for our Q&A section, it’s gonna be a little shorter than normal, but I have some important questions from the community to ask.”

“Number one, is there going to be a beta for Sim Update 13, and when will that Beta start?”

“Yes, we will have a beta, and it will be mid-August, probably.”

“Thank you. The second question related to that is, what are some features that are coming with Sim Update 13?”

“So, there’s quite a few. The team is obviously still working on this. I know that Working Title is planning on enhancements for the piston engine. There are also several additional features and bug fixes for the 747, 787. Asobo has made progress on stability improvements, so that’s coming. Accessibility improvements are also nice. And then, on the content side, we are planning on doing an update for a lot of the previous World Update content, and also some of the planes from the 40th-anniversary edition and some of the other planes. But basically, we’re doing cleanup and having a bunch of enhancements.”

“Appreciate the answer, Jorg. Now, our last question. There was a regression found in the AAU2 beta, and that was a white border appearing around avionics screens and also a white dot that appears. Now, where are we at with that bug fix? When can we expect it to be fixed in the Sim?”

“It’s actually one of the priorities of the team to address those. I think we have three separate bugs on it, and yes, that will be addressed.”

“Thank you so much, Jorg.”

Marketplace Testing

“Now, I’d like to introduce our final guest. She’s never been on the stream before, so happy to have her. Please welcome Mabel. She’s from the marketplace team, and she’s going to go over a little bit of the marketplace process and answer a few questions that she saw from the community regarding the marketplace third-party ingestion.”

“Hi, everyone! I’m Mabel McGrail, a program lead on the Microsoft Flight Simulator Marketplace. I’m going to share some information on the overall process for releasing Marketplace content, from submission to testing to release. I’ll also get into specifics on testing responsibilities for both Microsoft and third-party developers, as well as a bit of insight on why content could be held back from release.”

“A content creator first submits content for the marketplace, whether a new product or an update to an existing product, via our Marketplace content portal, where it gets queued for processing. A Microsoft content manager then does a preliminary review of the content and processes it to a test environment for initial validation by a Microsoft test associate. This initial validation entails making sure the content can be purchased and downloaded from the marketplace and then loaded into the sim without issues. If the content passes initial validation, it is then transferred to segments in our live environment for final testing. Microsoft runs compliance tests to ensure that the content and its metadata are in the correct format and do not contain inappropriate language or images.”

“The product is also made available to the third-party developer to run their own functional tests, which we’ll go into more detail in the next slides. If the content passes both third-party functional testing and Microsoft compliance testing, it is then included in the next available release. For content to be included in a given week’s Thursday release, partners must provide functional sign-off by Wednesday at noon Pacific time in the same week. Microsoft’s compliance sign-off must also be completed for the release to proceed.”

“Here are the functional test cases that third parties run on aircraft delivery products. Aircraft and liveries have the most test cases, with 25. Content creators are, of course, welcome to run additional tests, but the cases here are the critical path when they provide functional sign-off for release. Areas that are checked include price, download is both a full package or an update as appropriate; loading the content into the sim in its correct initial state; no major performance, graphical, or LOD issues; usability of different controls, functions and displays; lights, camera, tooltip formatting; and overall flight experience.”

“Here we have the third-party functional test cases for activity and scenery products. There are 10 test cases for activities and 12 for sceneries. These are by and large a subset of the aircraft and livery test cases, with sceneries having additional checks for POI markers and fitting in with the surrounding area.”

“Last but not least, here are the third-party functional test cases for airport products, which are exactly the same as the ones for sceneries. We’ve also had some questions on the reasons a P1 item might appear in the backlog for a long time and the reasons preventing it from release. The most typical and straightforward answer to this is an issue being encountered in one of the functional test cases we just went through or on the compliance side, with inappropriate images, language, or weapons that need to be removed. Microsoft can request a resubmission for issues found in our testing, or the content creator can request their own resubmission based on concerns they discover in their own functional testing. In other cases, there may be a more deliberate effort to release or work around a specific date.”

“That’s it for me. Thank you for your time.”

“Thank you so much, Mabel, really appreciate you coming on the video. Now back to Jorg.”

Dev Roadmap

“Let’s take a quick look at our roadmap. Here you can see that we have just announced the Aero alongside World Update 14. We’re a little bit over halfway through the year and over halfway through all the updates that are coming. There are lots of things still coming this year that are really cool. We’ll see something in August associated with Gamescom that makes me very happy. Then there’s the Dune DLC and two more updates in-between. It’s going to be a great year.”

“Alrighty, I will see you with Seb and Martial again in about a month, and have a wonderful weekend. Thank you all. Bye.”

“Thank you so much everyone for joining us for the stream and for this video. Much appreciated. We’ll be back to doing this live soon, of course, but we hope you got some valuable information from that, and we will see you next time. Bye.”