The release-light tech was very nice, if you only fly below 3000-4000 ft and haven’t really done any amount of night flying IRL to understand what’s painfully obvious and missing. Pretty much all screenshots praising the release-tech is taken at really low altitudes focusing on close features.
It was definately beautiful , but hardly realistic other than within a kilometer or two at very low altitudes.
(Lamps disappearing after 1-2 km, while IRL visible for +30 km. Ambient “sepia-glow” illuminating miles and miles of features that IRL would be pitch black)
While this is fine for many gamers, it’s simply not good enough for a simulator, especially for all of those coming from a background of real night flying, used to see lamps from highways/cities stretch into the horizon, with all unlit features being pitch black. Instead of lamps vanishing for no reason and whole fields / deserts / mountains glowing in the dark like in the release version.
The early alpha on the other hand, like in many of those pre-release screenshots, definitely had more realistic features with lights visible long distances, and no radioactive glowing terrain.
But this got severely degraded into what we now know as the release-build lighting. I can understand that this looked great for those not having enough real world experience and those who didn’t see what it really looked like during the early alphas before the downgrade.
The weird thing is, Asobo seems to have completely forgotten how to create realistic night lighting. What was done over a year ago in the alphas, with Asobo now introducing a complete lack of color variation, bad lamp textures, bad bulb scaling, a lot of horrible looking things that wasn’t present one year ago…
Did they forgot how to do it, or did the people creating early-alpha lighting move on to different projects, forcing Asobo to “re-learn” how to create realistic night lighting again? Who knows…
Here are two videos how the release version of MSFS night is simply just the daytime texture with a brown/sepia filter.
Completely different from what it looks like IRL. No matter how much you liked the release build.
Here’s the low-res light mask that’s being used to apply the terrain-glow shown in the videos above.
It’s pretty much the opposite of real life. Deserts shining in the night and roads being dark, most obvious if flying higher than 5,000 ft.
Take a look of this comparison of real life Dubai vs MSFS release-build (and present in terms of “Sepia Mask”). MSFS is pretty much the opposite of real life using this sepia illumination tech:
Here’s a comparison with a screenshot from a real video approach over LA that some user claimed was easily mistaken from the release-build, but comparing to the other versions, it’s obvious that the release-build looks the least like real life. (Engine photoshopped into on the MSFS screenshots.)
And finally a comparison of Rio in the following order:
Again, showing the shortcomings of the release-build, and while we are better off now in terms of lamp visibility. (But still suffer from blurry/fuzzy lampbulb textures scaling badly)
Again, the release build praised by a few, is the furthest from real here, with lamps disappearing after just a kilometer or two, making the whole scene look like the city suffered from a power outage.
Feels like we’ve wasted a whole year at this, the early alpha tech was simply the most promising tech, but instead of that, Asobo downgraded it horribly with the release-build, to slowly start reverting towards realism again, but with horrible mistakes that wasn’t present one year ago in the early alpha… Did they forget how realistic lights work, or what happened?
Hope they have a good look at this post by @fclem33 , showing the potential of OSM-based light-baking, instead of illuminating the daytime texture with a enormous brown/sepia-lamp.