November Dev Stream 2023 Transcription

Hi, everyone. First off, I was very inspired by the person who said they had Oreo for breakfast. That sounds great; I’m ready. Hi, everyone. Time flies. It’s been two months since we last met, and last time was on September 26th. Two days later, we launched Sim Update 13, which we were super proud of. Lots of things got done, and I just want to acknowledge there was an outage two days after we launched. We apologize for this. We were down too, and it was a human error on something called PlayFab, which is basically a backend that Microsoft runs.
It was a weird start, but after that, everybody liked Sim Update 13. Yay!

And then, if you go to the next slide, we wanted to launch the Mitsubishi MU-2 with the Sim Update. It took a while longer due to licensing, but then it came out, and I was quite happy with it. There was some feedback, which I think we’ve addressed, but finally, Mitsubishi came out. Yay! A few days later, we had World Update 15 Nordic and Greenland. It warmed my heart, and I think people really liked it. Alongside it, we launched a Swedish plane. We asked Saab, a Swedish manufacturer, what would represent your country’s aviation the best, and that is the plane they wanted us to do. They gave us access to the last airworthy one in Linköping, so we scanned it, and I think the team did a great job. Our first warbird! Yay, warbird, as a local legend was nice.

Alright, let’s take a look at our roadmap. It’s almost complete for the year, as you can see. So, what updates shipped, shipped, and then at the bottom in red, we had a little bit of a surprise—the Dune movie that was intended to launch in November got moved, and we always said we’re going to launch around the movie. So, we had to do a bit of shuffling in our remaining plan for this year. Go to the next slide. Just want to say, Dune has done a great job. It looks awesome and is fun to fly. It’s just coming a bit later, somewhere early 2024. I think the movie just moved to March 1st or something. Alright, next slide. Q&A over to you all. We’re kicking it off quickly here.

Q&A Session 1

Okay, we will start asking some questions. These came from the forum that many people filled out several weeks ago. If you have a question in chat, please feel free to post it now. Go ahead and get started on these questions, though.

Decathalon Achievement

Number one question: I have the Decathlon ACH, which requires us to complete 10 Spotlight events. I believe there have been only five total Spotlight events since the Xbox release of MSFS. Can you please release more Spotlight events and more frequently so us players are able to complete this achievement before 2024 releases? Do you have any plans to continue the weekly Spotlight events?

So, for the very first point, the fact that the Decathlon achievement is not working has been clearly identified; that’s on us. We have developed a package that allows people to play all the former events we did even before the release of Xbox. Unfortunately, this has broken the achievement system on that particular point. It has been clearly notified and reproduced, and we are about to fix that.

There is a follow-up question for Martial regarding the Decathlon achievement. The user mentioned that the package says the events in the pack don’t count. Is that going to change as well?


3 Bush trips

One similar to that, the second question here: there are three Bush trip achievements that can’t be earned with any Xbox games. Achievements are an important part of the ecosystem, and as a Microsoft first-party title, they are even more crucial. All three specific Bush trip achievements have been broken for over a year. Will these ever be fixed? Yes, we also have a Repro. It might not be 100%, but at least we have identified the issue. Once we’ve got an easier fix, hopefully, we’ll get a fix soon. Also, on that matter, I don’t think it’s really linked to the previous issue we’ve been talking about, but at least we know how to reproduce it, and that’s good news when you want to get a fix. So, hopefully, it will be fixed soon.

Xbox Stability Test

There is a live question here: we recently had that Xbox stability beta go out again in the past months. One of the users here is curious if you have any results from that Xbox performance test or from the beta testers who are participating in it.

I can answer the question about the scrutiny of Xbox performances. Obviously, we have statistics every time we publish a new build, whether it’s on flighting or for updates like SU13. We know that we are still facing more scrutiny on Xbox, especially regarding the A320. We recently had some issues on Xbox, most of which should have been fixed. Jorg, you can speak about the A320 later on.

Yeah, I mean, first off, any participation helps. We get more data when users participate, and that information goes to the dev team. It helps us identify areas where we are struggling, especially with more sophisticated and memory-intensive elements like airliners. There seems to be an issue with some third-party add-ons using very large textures for liveries, causing problems on a memory-constrained platform like Xbox. We are investigating this, and it manifested itself with both the Airbus A310 and later with the Airbus A320. We’re looking into it for sure, and the feedback was helpful. Thank you.

Aircraft Updates to ATR-72

Next question: Can we expect more plane updates for aircraft such as the ATR72?

I saw these questions before, and I didn’t quite know how to take them. If you mean things like the Highline and adjustments, especially with the Expert Series planes like the ATR, we work closely with manufacturers to enhance the plane. When the manufacturer introduces something new in the real world, we aim to incorporate it into the sim. The ATR, being a dynamic company, will likely receive more updates. If you meant the question the other way—whether there will be more Expert Series planes—the answer is yes, but quality is crucial, and it takes time.

If the question was about continuing to fix bugs on the ATR, Hans is currently working on that with his team. They go through the forums, reproduce reported issues, and aim to fix everything. The tentative timeline for the next ATR update is January.

Marketplace Testing Responsibility Shift Results

Another live chat question: Since shifting the testing responsibility to third-party devs ahead of approved Marketplace releases, can you speak to the success of this move in terms of the quality of add-ons, performance, and the agility of release?

Yeah, man, holy [__]! We worked through the backlog, and as of yesterday, the Marketplace team mentioned that we are caught up and admitting new partners into the marketplace. This unblocked us, and while it’s impossible to test every aspect due to complexity, we test for compliance. I haven’t heard about a drop in quality, so if there’s further feedback, it would be interesting. The good news is we are now unblocked, and I’m very hopeful about getting through the long list of applications. That’s great news.

ATC Audio Bug

This question is for Seb: What is the status of the bug where ATC audio is lost randomly throughout the flight?

A little bit later, I will go over ATC changes in the latest Sim update. We started an effort to improve ATC with bug fixes, and this particular bug has been brought to our attention. It’s on the top of the list, and we hope to fix it in the next Sim update. The fix will depend on the cause, whether it’s a programming error or a more complex issue with the voice engine.

IniBuilds A320

Regarding aircraft, can you talk to us about iniBuilds for the A320?

The A320 is a massive effort, and we released a version in the beta recently. The big questions were: Will it be free, and when will it be released? The release date is a bit unknown because during testing, we encountered an application crash rate on consoles that was too high for certification. The team needs to go back and fix this, but we’re confident we’ll get there. It might take a few more months.

Unlocking config files

The last question: Unlocking the config files on the premium Deluxe aircraft has resulted in amazing enhancements from the community. Would you consider unlocking config files but keeping the rest of the plane protected for famous flyers and local legends, offering third-party Marketplace devs the option to do that, along with allowing community tweaks?

I had a mixed reaction to this. While I loved the openness when we launched Flight Sim 2020, unfortunately, there might be a connection between unlocking config files and a vulnerability for hacking our content. Every day, I get emails from third parties about hacking issues. We have a lot of information about hack content, and it affects our ability to be an open platform. This is a more complex issue than the question asked, and I’ll get back to you on this.

Sim Update 14

So, we’ve got plenty of good things in Sim updates. First of all, we’ve already talked about the scrutiny on stability and performances. Still, some issues on Xbox, but we’re still working on that. Snow coverage—thanks to the community, we’ve seen that in some parts of the world, the snow coverage was a bit exaggerated, as it was a factor of 10. This has been fixed. Not everywhere on the planet, but it should be much better now.

Atmospheric light improvement—I do think that we’ve got some slides later on to show what differences we brought. Multiplayer issues—there are plenty of small things that we’ve done here, but also a patch on the server side because on the way it split on the planet, we had an issue. Sometimes you could be removed from the system, and that’s why people were encountering some weird experiences where they were cut from the people they were flying with. That should have been fixed or improved, but if you do encounter still some issues there, please give some feedback because it’s very hard to, you know, as always, I’m always saying that it’s better when you’ve got some reproduction. Here, it was a bit complicated to make sure that everything was fixed, so please just give us some feedback about the series.

Our good friends at Working Title did some great job to improve the plane aircraft—plenty of fixes there by our partners. To end with, the live weather that was not matching the same as for the multiplayer. Two things—we did some plenty of little changes to improve the live weather and a big change on the server because we noticed that sometimes the server was not getting the right synchronism with the weather provider that we’ve got. This has been fixed, and you should not get some obsolete data starting from now with the updates. Great, and with Sim update 14, of course, one of those updates to the screen here.

Atmospheric Changes

Seb, I’m sure you want to go over this one. One of the community questions was, can you take us on the journey from the moment the new sky color thread started to the moment we got it in the Sim update 14 beta?

Yeah, a lot of things happened at the same time. Our team here completely reworked the atmospheric simulation for Flight Simulator 2024, and among the improvements are the horizon line, which is fixed. It improves the way the scattering works. At the same time, there was this thread where people found, “Hey, the values of the ozone are not perfectly matched.” So what we did is, actually, the new engine works differently, so it’s not something where we can exactly match the values. But what we did is we implemented them back into 2020. When we reviewed and tested the build a bit, we found that the scenery was already a bit greenish before the change, and that got worse with the fixed ozone layer. The world was exaggeratedly green, so we went back and checked. In the reworked atmospheric scattering, we have a different sun color, which is more accurate, and we moved that back into 2020. Here you can see the daytime, so you see much more the effect of the sun color—old and new. Maybe you can switch back and forth a little bit. You will see that it’s not as green. When you stare at one image, you sort of don’t see it, but when you switch, you see, “Oh yeah, okay, the old one was really greenish-blueish unrealistic, and the new one is actually realistic.” If you continue, you can see the effect of the ozone layer, which is really visible in the evening. Here, the old one is very pink, as it’s been for four years in 2020, and the new one is much more realistic, with still some pink but a lot more blue and realistic colors.

I’ve seen a lot of people continue to read and analyze what people say after this was out in Beta, and people were trying to find the values in the data of the executable to be surprised that they didn’t find the exact same values. That’s normal because they are not. What we tried to do is to have the same effect, so I think the result should be the same as with the values that you were putting. But because of the way we did the system, it’s as if it was scaled completely differently. That’s why you can’t find exactly the same value, but the effect should be the same. It’s not like we changed to make it more red or more blue or something. It’s the same result even though the value is not the same. But I would say thank you for the thread; it was an inspiration. So, hey, this is us working together. I think it’s great.

Ground Handling in Sim Update 15

So, this is interesting, and there have been quite a few times, I think, on this Q&A, and there were a lot of forum posts about it, requests to improve ground handling. I’ve already touched on this, and every time I said, “Yeah, this is for later, this is for later,” and this is something we started tackling now.

Basically, there’s been a lot of rewriting of the physics engine in 2024, and we found a way to bring back some of the effects into 2020. The reason we had issues with ground handling and collisions on the ground is that the ground simulation, the ground collision, is still very close to what it was in FSX. Basically, you have a suspension that allows every wheel to go up and down, and the thing we changed is that we fixed it so that you will not slide down a hill if you’re on a slope because FSX had only flat terrain runways. Now, we can have slopes, and you need to be able to stop if you brake, and you don’t want to have your plane sliding down the hill.

Actually, the only thing we fixed is that, and I think we made the suspension more detailed. You can have more different parameters, but in the end, it’s still the same thing. Every wheel can just go up and down, and if you look at something like a Cessna or even worse, if you have four contact points, when you have three contact points with the ground, and the only thing you can do is go up and down, it really restricts your movement a lot. The whole plane can go up and down, but even tilting is difficult because when you project the points, they will not just go up and down; they will go to the side a little bit or forward or whatever.

Having only a suspension restricts the movement of the aircraft. What happens in real life? Well, in real life, you only have a suspension, but in real life, the tire is extremely flexible and can go to the side; it can twist and bend, and the whole aircraft is flexible. If you look at the Cessna, the whole fuselage is going to twist by a few millimeters. That’s enough to allow the suspension to work freely and for the plane to go up and down. Also, it dampens when you’re in a curve on the plane or maybe just there’s a gust of wind; it will absorb some of the energy, and you will not immediately lose traction.

Here’s a video which shows before and after, and this is shot in 2020 and will be shipping in Sim Update 15. You can see the difference before and after, so it’s not exactly the same plane; it’s exactly the same suspension; we didn’t change anything. The only thing that is new is that there’s now a new parameter that allows defining how flexible the airframe is. This is what allows, as you can see on the right, everything is less stiff; the suspension actually works more, and this is how it should work.

On the right, you can see, so this is on idle engine on this screenshot, and here I’m twisting left and right with the tail. You can see that on the before screens, every shaking was going up and down, and it was very small. The idle aircraft on the ground is supposed to shake a little bit more, and on the new simulation, you can see it’s very realistic because the whole plane now can move sideways, so all the shaking is present. Basically, as a side effect of this, you get now the cabin or camera shake or whatever effect in the airplane when you’re in the cockpit on the ground when you’re taxing because they were already there, right?

The simulator simulates the engine torque, which makes the plane shake; the CFD or the airflow simulates all the bumps in the air. When you’re on the ground, the ground has bumps, but it was very much dampened away because of the stiffness of the suspension simulation. So now, with that, when you’re taxing, you, I mean, that’s why I added after before and after wing view, you can see the wing is shaking 10 times more at least with exactly the same suspension settings because we get this flexibility of the airframe and better control when you land. You would have less of this, especially when you arrive on a crab when you’re sideways, you will not have this effect like on a rail where you’re going to shoot off.

Even you can see the bounciness when you bounce; it’s a lot more lively because the whole airframe, if you can twist and bend it, also means there’s some elasticity, and it will basically store and send back some energy. You get a little bit more bounces or if you do a bad landing, you will bounce a bit more. So, this is being worked on; it doesn’t change any settings. Planemakers don’t have to change anything. We’ll make it a default setting which should work for all aircraft, and then there will be a way to—it should not break anything, and there will be a way to make it bigger or smaller.

You can take it away if someone doesn’t like it, but it should not break anything or change anything; it works exactly like before.

We have a couple of questions, Seb, about this. Just to confirm, you mentioned this is going to be in Sim Update 15, right? Yes.

Someone else is wondering how it affects airliners and airliners from third parties.

It’s exactly the same thing, so it does not change any settings of the ground, wheels, or anything here. It does not basically… So my intention right now is to have a similar setting for every aircraft because it’s not scale-dependent or weight; the setting doesn’t have any unit. If during beta testing we find that it does break something, either what we can do is default it to zero and then make it added to all aircraft. I tested quite a few airliners; it’s an effect which is less of an issue on larger aircraft. I mean, I see quite a lot of impact on this aircraft here, but on a larger aircraft like an airliner, I did not see a giant shake or something like this because on the larger aircraft, the suspension was already allowed to work a lot more. But we will test this; I think very probably a default setting, which is going to be like the default elasticity of metal, is going to be enough. Maybe for some aircraft, we need more, but the default setting will already… All we need is a few, I mean, if you zoom in, the elasticity is really just one or two millimeters, and it’s almost not visible. But that’s enough to make the suspension work freely in all dimensions. That’s why it’s such a small impact; it just makes the suspension freer.

Did you see the helicopter thing? Somebody’s asking if the skids will also be using this. Yes, I… So this is just the first look; I think on a future Q&A, whenever this is ready, I will do a lot more videos.

What is really cool on a helicopter is that the cabin now vibrates. For example, if you go full… It’s not the rudder, but if you push the foot full on one side, you actually feel the whole cabin, the whole airframe twisting because the tail wants to go on one side. You’ll feel it when you’re barely… When you have almost enough lift to take off, you get a lot more like a sort of wiggle when you’re on the ground and not hovering. It doesn’t change that much; you have just the vibration of the cabin, which is now there. But if you’re almost lifting off, it’s a lot richer than before. Before, this skid would just either slide or not, and now it can sometimes sort of almost like a real surface, but when it skids, it touches sometimes, so it vibrates more.

People here who have done a lot of flight testing say that it’s a lot more realistic to have this cabin vibration. For SU15, somebody’s asking this, doing a little preview here. SU14 is obviously coming to an end for shipping in a few days.

Yeah, maybe one more question about this before we go to the next one. Will this affect how my landings feel?

Yes. It really depends on I think if you were perfectly landing, and there was basically what it does is that when the wheel is very strongly constrained, previously it was instantly propagating the whole constraint over the entire airframe because the airframe basically was a rigid body. When the wheel does something, instantly the entire body moves. But in real life, that’s not what happens. When the wheel moves, when the left wheel moves before the right wing tip moves, there’s going to be a very small delay. It’s going to propagate through the body, which is not really rigid. And this small delay works like it has a little, it stores energy, and then it will the wave is going to bounce back, and then it’s going to return the energy. So this is what happens, and it’s we made it extremely small because all we needed was a few millimeters to free the suspension. People can tune it up if they want on the aircraft. What it does is that when the wheel was hitting hard, before you would instantly spit, and sometimes lose control, or it was a bit weird sometimes on taking off, it would take the crosswind weirdly. It makes it better because now there is this slight delay of propagation, and it will dampen up when there was just a spike, for example. Overall, it has the other effect, which is there’s a little bit of storing of energy, so the elasticity may also sometimes make you have more rebound than before. That’s what you can see on the right here; it’s a little bit more shaky, and that’s how it should be because the suspension of the aircraft has quite a little bit of shake. It’s just a metal suspension, and on the current version that is out there, the suspension doesn’t really work right. It’s like, and it can’t give back the energy, so it will affect a little bit. I think it will only make it better and more realistic, and there’s going to be a parameter anyway just in case anything goes wrong. Yeah, awesome.

Thank you so much, Seb, for that. We will move on to our next topic, which is Famous Flyer 8.

Famous Flyer 8

Jorg, yes, so we there were so many questions today; we actually didn’t invite a partner. So I’m just going to talk to this really briefly. Famous Flyer is coming out with a Sim update like always. This particular aircraft is from Carenado, and it is a Cessna 207 Stationair. We have some pictures; I’ve looked at the plane quite a bit. It’s beautiful. So I’m very happy with the Carenado quality. Here are a couple of pictures showing you the different variants, and it’s coming in just a few days - Dec 12.

City Update 5

By the way, I saw it in the chat, so I put this deck together last night, and I totally forgot something: City Update 5.

Somebody, so anyway, City Update 5 is five cities, typically: Zagreb, Košice, Cádiz, Brussels, and The Hague. You could say, “Where’s Stockholm?” Good question. So, Stockholm turns out that the editing is extensive; there are a lot of bridges in Stockholm. So we’re going to give this a little bit more time, but the team is working on it. It’s coming, we have it, so it’s all good. But when we’re going to release it, it’s probably in a few months.

World Update 16

It’s funny that, I don’t know if you guys know stuff or whatnot, but a lot of people said, “Hey, can we have the Caribbean?” Yep, that’s exactly what we’re working on. So obviously, in the Caribbean, not like more than any other place, but shallow waters are very important, which is why we’re running this experiment.

And then, I just made pictures, like always. So, there’s new elevation data that we have. We have actually done another experiment with a new type of height fields. So that will be interesting to get your feedback on. Totally new aerials, we made 104 POIs, seven bespoke airports, and then like always, three landing challenges, three bush trips. And so, I just made some pictures. and I’m not even going to comment. But I’m very ready, given that it’s winter now, here. I’m longing for the sun. And I will do that in Flight Sim in the Caribbean. Gonna be great.

But you can see here, some of these pictures, you see the shallow waters are missing? So it’ll be a lot better. I’m hoping. There’s like** two teams working on this, hopefully very it’ll work out. So there’s seven airports, and I made just a couple pictures. And by the way, we’re working with Gaya on this. It’s gonna be great quality. Everyone ready for the sun? Yes, I am. **I always am.

Alright, then there’s bush trips: Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. I didn’t put all the landing challenges and everything, but you get the picture. I think it’s going to be really cool. It’s awesome.

And to the bathymetry thing, because somebody was asking, yeah, I mean, what we end up doing is we talk to all the GIS institutes in all those countries. Specifically in these countries, they’re not all that interested to map out the precise LIDAR of their volcanic rocks, essentially. But they do care about bathymetry. So we are actually getting their bathymetry, at least information, but we’re not putting this in here. We currently have no system that would use it, but longer term, it’s something which I would be interested in.

Q&A Session 2

Okay, very cool. All right, let’s go ahead and do Q&A 2. We’re going to focus on performance, installation, world, and weather. I will ask a question I was seeing during Seb’s presentation.

##3 A320 Clarification
There’s a little confusion. Can you clarify if the A3020 is being removed from the beta?

Yeah, we’ll remove it for the time being, but we’ll have to do some major work. I’ll give you a little bit of inside information. Our goal for crash rate is we want to hit 80-98%. 97% is sort of in the acceptable range, and we are pretty close with this. We’re currently at 82%, which we don’t even need to submit this to Asobo; they’re just going to say no thank you. So, we have to do more work, and the SU14 flighting ends anyways, right? So we’re going to do it again in SU5. Take another shot at it. Yeah, sweet.

All right, anyone who has questions in chat, please feel free to ask. I will start with some of our—wait, somebody’s saying there’s no Oslo update. Oslo was in the World Update Nordics in Greenland, very proud of it, by the way. Took a while to get to it, just saying.

Content Manager Download Speeds

Content Manager download speeds often fluctuate from less than 1 to 150 and back, repeating the cycle over and over, leading to long installation times. This appears to happen even if there’s no current SU or World Update release and is independent from actual user ISP speed or VPN use. Is this issue being looked into, especially considering Microsoft’s status as a major global cloud provider?

Yes, we are looking into that. It’s quite complicated because it doesn’t consistently happen in the same geographic area. I can tell you that it’s almost never an issue here in the Bordeaux area. We rely on two systems for data distribution. The first one is the CAB deposits, and to spread the data globally, we use a CDN. It’s a complex method, and it’s challenging for a client like us to enhance that system. This addresses the distribution aspect.

Regarding package distribution, specifically in the Content Manager, it’s an area we aim to improve. We’ve already made several enhancements to the installation process, the initial process you experience when launching the game or updating. We implemented a process with eight different loads and completions simultaneously, optimizing the load by a factor of five. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be directly applied to the Content Manager due to the existing architecture. Downloading packages, compressing them, and installing them concurrently while performing other tasks is challenging in our current system. However, we are committed to improving this aspect. The good news is that the architecture for distributing packages has been completely rewritten for Flight Simulator 2024. We hope this will eliminate the complexities and reduce the waiting times during updates and package installations, significantly improving the overall process with Flight Simulator 2024.

Uninstalling Star Airports on Xbox

Will you add the option to uninstall star airports from the Content Manager on Xbox? Currently, on Xbox, there’s no way to uninstall star airports. So if you buy the same airport from the marketplace, it will render both at the same time, doubling up on the ground lines and two sets of buildings clipping into each other.

So yes, that’s on us too. We’ve got a few systems. The first reason why we can’t uninstall airports on Xbox is that those airports are embedded into the big package you download before playing the game. Consequently, you can’t remove them from this package. However, we have a system that creates exclusion zones. When there are exclusion zones around a scenery, everything previously rendered in that place should be removed. Something seems to be going wrong with this exclusion zone system, either due to the addition of the airports or a flaw in the system itself in certain situations. We still need to investigate this, but with this exclusion zone feature, we could address the issue. I would say, yeah, great. Thank you.

Tile-popping Issue

The next question we have here is, in some parts of the world, the scenery suffers a lot. For example, the French Alps, French Riviera, etc. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has had popping area tiles for more than two years. Is there a work in progress to fix the ground tiles popping issue?

Yes, I think we finally figured it out. There’s a very active community member who sends me lots of videos of Malta because Malta is one of the affected areas, and that actually helped. We think we’ve figured it out. There is a cache on the Bing side, so when we do a world update, we download things, and they have a cache, and that can conflict, resulting in something called checkerboarding. The team discussed this yesterday morning, and now they’re confident that we know how to fix this. It took a while, as it was quite tricky to understand what was going on. When you look at the data, it seems fine, but it involves two different data sources, essentially.

I think the point here is that a long-term fix is something we’ll see. We have a better system now where we use shape files. This issue arises when two World updates are next to each other. For example, we had a France update, then a Spain update, and Italy update, and somewhere in that, it got messed up. However, we understand the problem now, so it shouldn’t happen anymore. When I talked to the team about it, if there are any other areas where you see this that we’re not aware of, let us know. Just write something in the forums, and we’ll pick it up. Okay, thank you.

Water Masking

This question is for you, possibly Martial. Quite some time ago, devs mentioned an effort to try to automate the creation of water masking. Up to this point, however, we did see an increase in water masking, but only connected to World updates in just a few places. Is the effort to automate water masking still ongoing? Is there another solution to show the water in different colors near the coast?

So, this is a random island somewhere in Flight Simulator. No offense if anybody lives on this island. I’m saying this because I don’t even know what it’s called. In the flight, you can see we got rid of the shallow waters. If you go back one slide, this is what it kind of looks like, not so great. The sole of the island has largely been lost. We’re doing an experiment where we get data from Maxar within a specific outlined area, and we’ll try to merge that with the existing terrain of the island. It’s an experimental state and is relevant to World Update 15, focusing on the Caribbean. We’re working on improving shallow waters, which is essential for the Caribbean. There are two teams working on this, and we hope it works out. I made some pictures, and we’re working with Gaia on this for great quality. Everyone ready for the sun? Yes, I am.

Alright, there’s Bush trips, you know, Dominican Republic. I didn’t put in the other landing challenges and everything, but you get the picture. I think it’s going to be really cool. It was awesome. And to the Petry thing, because somebody was asking, yeah, I mean, what we end up doing is we talk to all the GIS institutes in all those countries. Specifically in these countries, they’re not all that interested to map out the precise lighter of their volcanic rocks, essentially. But they do care about Petry. So we are actually getting there, obtaining at least information, but we’re not putting this in here. We kindly have no system that would use it, but longer term, it’s something which would be interesting.

Historic Weather

Okay, we are on to our next Q&A. There are a couple more questions from the last one I didn’t ask yet, so I’m going to throw those in as well. Okay, so this one’s for you. Can you talk to us about historical weather? There’s a long thread in the forums that has covered the requirements for us users in great detail, and we have asked for a minimum of a 12 to 24-hour offset. Anything more is a bonus, really.

I actually would say this is a shared answer, and then maybe the specific question that is asked here might be better for… Sorry, a 12 to 24-hour offset of weather.

Yeah, so with the current system that we’ve got, we’ve got a weather structure that has been prepared to collect and distribute the weather from our partners, and it has some specifications. It might be complicated to take whatever kind of data and ingest that into our systems to have proper weather and company. So, is that what you wanted me to say?

I think so. I mean, I think there’s the design effort around that, but then there’s also… probably not what you’re really on about, but Microsoft has a relationship with a company called VESTAS. They have something called the VESTAS Climate Database, and we looked at this a fair bit. The issue is that they don’t have worldwide weather. It doesn’t really fit into our system. So, I don’t think this is going to come soon, unfortunately. Flight is going to continue to evolve for many years. I’m not saying we’re never going to do this, but this is not easy, and it’s not the longer term. Maybe I’ll go even further. Back in the day, we tried to make historical missions, right? Famous flights that ran into icing or something, and we couldn’t really do that. Sometimes we said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have historical weather?” It’s really hard. So, I think it’s just be patient. We’ll figure it out at some point, but not soon. Cool. Thank you.

Turbulence in Live-Weather Clouds

Alright, another weather-related question. The real weather-related issues have been discussed extensively. However, we still don’t get any turbulence in real weather-generated clouds. The real weather-generated clouds typically lack density, and we also don’t see any fading effect on the wings when going through them. Is this going to be fixed in 2020 or 2024? Clouds and their effects are essential for a flight simulator. We used to have cloud turbulence before SU5 and, in general, better cloud texture scenery.

Hello, so I just tried today. I wouldn’t say everything here is true. I think one thing is true that maybe the cloud is typically like density. I mean, so what I did is I just today opened the world map, live weather, picked a place where there was, I would say, bad weather. I think it was Spain, big cloud street, and I turned on the weather. You can see the drafts and everything, so it was pretty heavily troubling. But I would say, yes, I think the clouds in real weather don’t go in terms of density as far as what you can get in the presets, where you can really push it to extremely dense. So that’s something we’re going to look into if we are correctly using the live weather data in terms of cloud density, if we can push it a little bit further, and maybe also on the meta side. So that’s something definitely we’re going to look into.

On the other hand, in terms of turbulence, the turbulence engine doesn’t make any difference with whether it’s live weather or preset. It doesn’t care. So there’s no difference. However, I would like to remind people that in order to get turbulence, it’s much better to go in the afternoon and in the summer. Right now, it’s great for flying if you get seasick easily because there is not a lot of turbulence, especially in the northern hemisphere. If you go in the southern hemisphere, it’s going to be the opposite. But in order to find turbulence, you also need to have a hot ground, you need to have some updrafts or at least a lot of wind. So what I tried when I go to Spain, there was a lot of wind, over 20 knots on the world map. It was all white, so I think it’s over 20 knots of wind. But either a lot of wind or a lot of drafts. But yeah, we will look into it. If we find something, maybe for the next update, Sim Update 15. Definitely, even in the worst place, I did not find the clouds particularly dense. That’s completely true. And I know we can go a lot further in what the technology can take. So we will look into that part.

Cleaning up 2020 before 2024?

Alright, next question. Before 2024 is released, is there a plan for a 2020 update with a focus on cleaning up/polishing to eliminate the regression that took place over the past year before moving on to new features?

Well, we are trying to improve Flight Sim as much as we can. I do think that during the last three years, we brought a lot of new features and improvements. Sometimes people complain about the behavior not being exactly the same as in the past. We look at every single post on the forums to understand what people want and try to determine the better move for Flight Sim. This is an ongoing process, and we’re not planning to stop yet, as Seb said. It’s a long trip that lasts a long time.

Yeah, we are trying to improve it as much as we can. I would say there is a plan, and that’s what we’re doing in every update. There’s a large list of fixes, not just new features. Whether it’s crash fixes or bug fixes, we are addressing it. I can tell you, just to go into this, we have a process every Monday morning. We meet as a team, sit with the community team, go through all the things mentioned in the community that week, and prioritize the work based on what we can feasibly do in time. So when we say we hear you, we absolutely do. It’s a long meeting sometimes, but we look at all your feedback. The list is getting shorter. The volume of feedback is much less than it used to be, and we fixed a bunch of stuff. It doesn’t mean there aren’t things that need attention. We are aware and fixing them as fast as we can.

Price in Turkey and Argentina

Next question is for Jorg. This user says, “Hi, about a month ago, the marketplace prices in Turkey and I think Argentina got raised by huge amounts compared to what they were before. It deeply affected what we in Turkey can afford now, as we have significantly lower wages than those in other countries. Is it possible for you to lower them again but implement a way so that people not living in Turkey can’t access these prices? It’s so hard to afford products, so I would be very appreciative to restore them to what they were before.”

Yeah, I mean, first off, I’m aware of the issue. It was Turkey and Argentina, actually, and I say it in York terms, inflation sucks. I mean, there’s no question about it, right? I think I read somewhere Turkey’s inflation was like 60% or 80%, some incredible amount, and that is obviously heavily affecting the purchasing power. What unfortunately happens is that people go change their local or whatever they do, but like people have figured this out and basically act like they’re in Turkey and buy it. Some people are reselling that, which is also really bad. So I don’t think we can fix this, unfortunately, and I even think Steam just did an update on prices in those territories just because they see the same thing. I don’t know what else to say. I remember days where the number one, when you look at where people buy a new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, it was Turkey was like number one or number two after the United States. They’re like, “Yeah, something isn’t exactly right.” I mean, it’s a country of 100 million people, so it’s not like Turkey is not huge, but it wasn’t right. So we had to fix it. Unfortunately, I don’t think we can address this for you. Thank you for the explanation, Jorg.

Feedback Snapshot ‘Not Planned’ Items

Next question: Would it be possible that when a major item from the feedback snapshot goes to “not planned,” the team would provide a note in the corresponding dev update explaining the basis of the decision? We’ve had several developer streams where the community has had to ask for clarification on why some items have gone to “not planned,” and it would be helpful to simply have the explanation come automatically. It would also help build trust with the community to show that the team has put thought into these bugs and wishes. Thank you.

Yeah, so I think that’s fair, and I’ll go do that. I mean, so we don’t actually take it lightly. I remember the one that, what was the first one where I said “not planned”? I think it was, I want, I miss trains, I think that’s the one. I’m like, “Oh, I’d like trains too.” It’s not like I don’t. But, you know, to the previous topic, we should probably focus on the core features, make sure that the bugs get fixed, whatever exists before we do, you know, less necessary things than trains. So that’s why we said, we don’t want to just say it’s under investigation, right? Because that means something when we say it’s under investigation, that means people are actively looking into the topic, and then we turn it into either already fixed or started or whatever the other states are. But not planned is like, nobody’s really working on it. So are we working on trains right now? No. And are there a few other ones? I think there are a few other ones, not that many. But I’ll take that on. I’ll write in a reasoning. Cool, for sure.

Multiple CGL packages

All right, next question. Are the devs aware of when multiple packages with CGL files (custom ground layer) from the same area (most airfields in the UK use a single CGR file) MSFS seems to randomly miss some of the packages? This results in the default Bing textures being displayed instead of custom texture. This breaks a lot of packages being sold in the marketplace.

So, yes, thanks to the feedback we received, we were able to reproduce that. We want to fix that. The fact that it’s random does not help, but definitely, the team is looking at this. As I speak, because it’s a bit late here in France, but the team will work on that, and we are planning to bring a fix for Sim Update 15. Awesome, thanks, Marcel.

Time running slower on Xbox

Okay, last question here. A topic has been discussed on the forum for the past nine months regarding the simulator’s time running slower than real time on Xbox by approximately 14% to 18%. This problem manifests in real difficulty with planning accurate fuel consumption, visibly slow speeds, inability to fly together in multiplayer with PC users, and flights just taking too long compared to what they should actually take. The problem appears to be worse with more complex airliners. Are we aware of this issue, and is there a fix coming?

So we are aware, thanks to the community. Just to explain a little bit what’s going on here, in the sim, we’ve got two clocks. The very first one is used for the world, like the weather system and everything that runs in the world, and we’ve got another one for the sim itself. It’s a bit insidious. For instance, the sim, to be accurate, needs to run at a very high frequency, so it’s around 100 hertz. This helps us to get more precision. Maybe Seb will have some words about that, but it also has got boundaries. Sometimes, especially when you have a low frame rate, this frequency is going to cut a bit, and because of this, there are some chronic issues between the world and the sim. Sometimes, you can get some very little discrepancies. So we thought it was very little discrepancies. It looks like that in forums and even here. Sometimes, it’s a little bit more significant. So we’ve got to look into that, and basically, during the last two days, the team was working on this to try to find exactly what’s going on, what could help us to find exactly why this gap is a little bit bigger than planned.

Yes, just to go further, what is strange is that the plane and the fuel consumption are running on the same clock. So you could have a consumption which is different if you look at your real clock, but you should always arrive in New York with the same amount of fuel, right? It should not change your flight. The other thing is the Sim clock only runs slower, I think, when the frame rate goes below 2 FPS. I think it’s somewhere 2 or 5; I don’t remember. I think it’s 2 or 5, but it’s way below what you normally experience. So that’s why normally it should not happen. But now, the Xbox is not the same hardware; there could also be timer issues in the low level, you know, the way we measure time on the machines. Right, we don’t use the system clock, I think because the precision is like the millisecond, and it would be all stuttery, so we use a hardware clock that the system gives us that is like, I think, to the nanosecond or something, which is very special. And maybe that’s not accurate; it could be all sorts of things.

From what I know, right now, QA has not identified anything yet, so we’re looking. And what, for example, will be interesting is, is this something that happens quickly, or is it, oh no, I think you found the clock displayed in the plane. That thing does fuel consumption again. So it’s kind of strange. The clock in the plane can have its own clock. Every system can have its own clock if it wants, right? There’s no, and so we need to dig into every system and see maybe they have their own clock, maybe they did something a bit strange. And to be honest, we’ve also identified some glass cockpits that do their own clocks, and they also have got some discrepancies with the sim clock. So on certain planes, on certain glass cockpits, it’s not two clocks that we’ve got in the Sim but at least three. So this needs to be investigated, and we will try to improve that. But yes, we’ve got some use cases, and we were talking about that with Seb just before this call, and we want to have a better look at that issue. Yeah, okay, thank you.

WU16 Release Date

So some follow-up questions, some live questions I’ve been seeing. Going back to the World Update 16 Caribbean, the first question is, did you mention a release window for that when it’s coming? We have a date, but I can give it to you, but it might move a little bit. We’re aiming at January 30th next year. Okay, thank you. And then another question related to that, is there a local legend that will be attached to that as well?

You know, sometimes folks say, “Hey, you know, this is a dev Q&A; stop treating this like an advertising thing.” It’s like, “Okay, cool.” So we’re doing a little bit less. Yes, it’s clearly, obviously there’s a local legend; it’s gonna be cool, and Sergio is gonna be happy. Interesting, oh, that’s a nice hint. I like that.

Ground Handling Taxiing

Alright, we have another follow-up question from the chat here for Seb regarding the new ground handling. Will the new suspension and ground handling translate to taxiing airliners, handling more realistically when it comes to turns and maintaining speeds?

Um, it probably wouldn’t. I mean, when airliners… So, when you look at an airliner, if you… What often happens is that the front wheel is turning, and the setting, whether it’s the setting in the way the plane is done or whether the person just uses the pedal or whatever way they steer, basically, when you oversteer, the front wheel is going to skid. And if you skid, you lose traction, so you turn less. On the real aircraft, I think you would hear it, feel it, and it would vibrate. I think what would help is the new system probably creates a bit more vibration and shaking when that happens. So maybe you’ll realize now.

I’ve seen cases where an airliner wheel just goes 90 degrees; it’s not going to make you go left or right if you turn the wheel by 90 degrees. So it’s important that you never oversteer. That’s the most important factor contributing to bad steering. People often want to go too fast for what they can do at that time. I think the system would add realism to how the plane reacts, making it more realistic. However, it won’t fix a bad steering angle, radius, or the angle of the front wheel if they are incorrect.

Yeah, okay. Got it. Thanks, Seb.

IniBuilds Removal Platform

Alright, one more clarifying question regarding the IniBuilds A320 that will be removed within the beta. Is that going to be for all players or a certain platform?

No, as far as I know, Sim Update 14’s beta is going to close. Then we’re going to go sit on it. At some point, we’re going to start. Seb, do you want to say something about what you’re thinking about Sim Update 15? I think you missed that.

Helicopters in SU15

Regarding the addition of ground handling, there were a few questions about helicopters. Someone asked if we will add auto-rotation. Auto-rotation is already there, and it should work. Now, what we’re doing is adding multi-rotors, which will allow something like a Chinook. Currently, you can only have one top rotor for lift and the other for yaw. You’ll be able to have two rotors, one above the other, and control their rotation direction independently. This is a significant addition, and we’re trying to incorporate as much as we can. There have been many requests for helicopter improvements, and we’re addressing them in Sim Update 15.

ATC Changes in SU15

I also wanted to go over some ATC changes in Sim Update 14. We promised that we would start taking on ATC. In the beta right now, there are three significant changes. First, adding a new assistance. It’s important for people to check this assistance because the number one issue was incorrect runway usage, such as people taking off in the wrong direction. The system that computes the active runway works well, but there was another system conflicting with it. This system was trying to create quality of life for the user when they select a runway in the world map. It automatically puts the plane on that runway and ensures all planes go in the same direction. However, if the selected runway is incorrect, the system flips the traffic. Now, in the new assistance, if it’s turned on, it will work as it did before, adjusting the airport based on the user’s selection. But if you switch the assistance off, you get maximum realism. If you select the wrong runway, ATC won’t change it; you’ll be sitting on the wrong runway.

The advantage of this mode is that if you have a very long flight and the problem was usually that once you take off, the flight plan decides the arrival runway and forces it. With the assistance on, the arrival runway will be forced based on the selected runway, but if you switch it off, ATC will send you to the correct runway based on real-world conditions and changing weather. The only hiccup is that we can’t flip around live traffic, so if the assistance is off, it will always work because you’ll have real-world conditions, and live traffic will match real weather, which will match the live runway. If the assistance is on, it will try to adjust based on the user’s selection.

And then there were two other smaller fixes. One is leveling; it has been improved. Now, actually, the ATC levels you before you arrive at the next level. There were a lot of fixes with vectoring, which was basically almost entirely broken. So, that should be fixed. For Sim Update 15, we will continue. I already said that we will work on the voices stopping to work, and we will just take the backlog of issues and walk through them, hoping to do as much as we can. But yeah, we took on ATC more seriously now and have people dedicated to it. Okay, that’s it.

ATC Wrong Runway Assignment

So, one of the questions from Kai is, do the ATC changes include a fix for the wrongly assigned runway for landing even if you don’t have a runway set in the flight plan?

If you don’t have anything set, the only way to do that is if you start, you take the world map, and you select no airport. You still start in the air. If you have that, then no runway is forced, and the assistance is not doing anything. But as soon as you start on any airport, there’s always, if the assistance is on, it’s always going to force something. It’s always going to be, let’s say, at the moment you click, it’s going to look at the active runway. And if the wind changes, right, if you, let’s say, you take a taxiway, you’re on the taxiway, the active runway is a certain way, it’s going to be forced if the assistance is on. If you take two hours to do a pre-flight and the wind changes, it’s not going to change because the assistance is going to keep the same runway. If you set the assistance off during your taxi, the runway may change. That could happen.

Okay, but that’s where this assistance, I would say if you are a pilot, if you’re used to simming, if you, I would switch this off. It’s default to on because for a regular user, I mean a beginner, it’s much easier to have the assistance on. And there’s a small detail is that if you are in a tutorial mission, then the third behavior, which is sort of legacy, which is the mission which decides which is the active runway, that doesn’t change, even if the assistance is off. All missions, all tutorials are still going to work. We didn’t break these. The behavior is not going to change in that case. Yeah, okay. I think this assistance is probably what we had. The reset is fixed. Right, I saw like 20 times now in the chat. It is fixed. I believe it’s in the next beta build that releases today, after our stream, sometime.

World Hub Update

So, we have the next point in our presentation, Jörg. We are talking about the World Hub. I have muted because somebody is building a house right next to mine. It’s wonderful. Yeah, World Hub. We are, in fact, very close. There are pictures to prove it. So, we’re about to kick off this closed Alpha. We’re just, there’s really details. There’s a chance it’s going to happen in December. That also has a chance it’s in January, but we feel confident. But because it’s been such a long time since we did the sign-up for the closed Alpha, we will not use any of the sign-ups that were collected previously. So, we will reopen the sign-up with a new survey soon, and the World Hub closed Alpha will begin very soon thereafter. So, hope you’re still motivated. Cool, cool, it’s cool. And let’s go fix things. Awesome.

2024 Roadmap

All right, let’s take a look at our roadmap for 2024. So, you know, I worked on this deck last night. I didn’t want to stick a bunch of other stuff in there. But anyways, I just wanted to say because lots of people are asking, you know, I think sort of the transition or whatever the plan is for in 2024. So, this is the 2024 roadmap for all kinds of things. So, you can see we are planning four more World updates and four updates and a whole bunch of local legends. A few famous flyers we’re working. We’re planning on Sim updates. And then obviously at some point next year, there’s going to be Flight Sim 2024. Can’t tell you exactly when. I would be murdered if I would say that. But we have at least one shot of FS24, and we love it.

So, it’s coming exciting. So cool. That being said, I’ll move off of that screen. Thank you, thank you, everyone, for tuning in. Lots of questions coming in. Did our best to answer; we always know there’s some that we miss, so apologies for that. We will probably return here for our next stream either late January or early February. I’m guessing we’re going to take some time off for the holidays as well. But don’t forget, we, of course, have the City updates coming very soon, along with Famous Flyer and some other things. And we hope you have a fantastic holiday.

Jörg, Seb, and Martial, I’ll turn it over to you for final thoughts and words.

Well, so from my perspective, I actually wanted to say something because I see a lot. I mean, I read this while we’re going, right? And it is not possible, I don’t think, for us to verbalize all the answers. We would have to go to yes/no type things to really capture it all. But just know that after every one of these Q&As, I go through, James sends me the chat log, I go through it all, we then discuss it. So there’s nothing lost. If you write something, we will see it, and we will talk about it. The same is true for the forums, as you know. That’s what our community team is doing, and they’re doing a great job in general.

I want to say 2023, I think, was, in my perspective, a great year for flight simulation. We have peaked as far as the number of users. There are more people playing flight simulation now than ever before, no question about that. I think we announced the new sim. Exciting. But also, know that we are going to continue to support the current platform. So that’s a promise.

Thank you all for simming and joining this and spending time with us. And good that we don’t see each other before the big holiday break. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Yeah, thank you, everyone, and wonderful holidays. Yeah. Thank you for supporting us. So, 2023 has been a great year; hopefully, 2024 will be even better. Happy early days, everybody, and see you next year.

Great. Thank you all. See you next year. Happy holidays. Goodbye. Bye.