The graphics did it

I wonder if some of you experienced the same transition from x plane to msfs. At first I was a little worried and critical about all the bugs and actually reinstalled x plane to experience again study level aircrafts with traffic and atc addons etc. I guess that is what we all focused on in x plane as better graphics was simply not available. However, for me the beautiful graphics in msfs won and I am simply stunned from what I see sometimes on my screen in terms of lighting, clouds, cockpits display etc. I could never have imagined that this could be possible in a sim. And surprisingly I am now happily accepting all the bugs and look forward to all the updates ( as we all love updates so much). Well done Asobo. IMHO this is going to be a brilliant sim.


Yes. I had the same epiphany albeit with P3d.
The visuals are constantly just capturing the moment.
And yes the bugs are a pain. So our patience is required.
But what a pay off! No other sim -past or present- comes close.


I agree. How I see it in my opinion, with the current engine P3D use it’s going to be near impossible to improve graphics to any higher level than they have now without completely reworking their engine. X-Plane are in a similar state, albeit a bit better. With MSFS, it’s already the best in industry for visual fidelity IMO. Not only can the visuals get even better, but once the SDK has further matured the complexity of aircraft, and how far you can actually push the limits with what’s built, will also become top in the industry. Yes, it’ll take time, slowly but surely MSFS will win the endurance race.


Yep my case is similar, except for the fact that when you call it “graphics”, I would call it a living, breathing world simulation, with graphics being one of its components, that made me switch. Another pull factor is a large collection of GA aircraft that look extremely realistic both inside and outside, and perform great in both IFR and VFR (albeit with some issues that are not deal-breaking and you can work around them with a bit of effort), given the fact that these are default aircraft.

And yet another major pull factor would be the new flight model and weather system. I also don’t have the patience for boring, mindless, magenta-line-chasing airliners, and that’s why I abandoned prepar3d and xp11 and moved to DCS World a few months before MSFS 2020 was announced last year.

Quick note about visuals, terrain, scenery etc: I would call them extremely realistic on a level never-seen-and-possible-before and not necessarily pretty. Pretty or ugly is subjective. On the contrary you don’t get to make a subjective choice about realism. X city in Y country is either 1:1 realistic, or unrealistic. There’s no “pretty” about it. A flight simulator doesn’t need pretty graphics or fictional scenery. You need realistic graphics and actual, real world scenery in a flight simulator, which is exactly what Asobo and Microsoft have done. If they didn’t, then there was absolutely no reason to buy and switch to MSFS 2020.

Anyways here’s my playstation-2-flight-sims-to-MSFS-2020-switch story:

I had most of the important, large airports, from pmdg I had 777, 737, 747, had fslabs a320, and four A2A aircraft for GA flying, majestic dash, leo’s md-80, had about 65 major ORBX addons, spent £450 on simmarket alone, chaseplane etc you name it and I most likely had it. The only major addon I never bought was Navigraph, and I never bought and flew an aircraft in Prepar3d 4.5 that wasn’t deemed to be study-level by the flight sim community.

Also had xp11, and they gave me xp10 for free because I bought the early access version of xp11, bought hotstart tbm, flight factor 767 and no scenery or airport ever.

Stopped buying addons for Prepar3d 4.5 and xp11 two months after watching MSFS 2020 trailer, but everything still remained installed and intact. This is also the point where I stopped using flight sims altogether and diverted attention to DCS World and MGS V temporarily to make the long wait for MSFS bearable.

By pure luck got into the MSFS alpha. Then two weeks later thought: “hmm let’s fire up p3d, take the a2a c172 for a spin and see how it feels.”

Took off, did three patterns, exited and uninstalled the whole thing. XP11 also met the same fate unfortunately. These sims were no longer for me. Been using the PC exclusively for work and MSFS since then. Been very happy ever since. It’s a world simulation we never had before but always wanted, and flight simulation is only one of its core components imo.

I only wish Microsoft released the trailer back in January 2018 so that I could save loads of precious cash by not buying so many addons


Excellent read! Totally agree… “immersive” is flight simulation.


Yep agree. Flew into Changi last night during a storm at dusk and was blown away. The lighting system was amazing for each flash of lightning it lit up the ground for me made landing so much easier haha.


I agree. Its just so hard to go back to xplane now. Once raytracing gets implemented, it will be really hard to tell it from reality. I am really hoping for raytraced global illumination which will further improve the lighting.

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Like many others, I have invested a lot of money in X Plane, but going back to X Plane would not be an option for me. I’m looking forward to a fantastic future with Asobo and Microsoft and of course the third party aircraft. :blush: :slightly_smiling_face:


I had the same experience, I can’t stop playing now.
I just want a single study level airliner to be good to go, this sim has so much potential it hurts me to see so many issues with bugs


Great story. Mine is similar.

I,m an old hand at flight simming, as a Mac user I started with Flight Simulator and early X-plane on the Mac. But in the end it became clear that Windows would become the dominant game platform so I invested in a high-end PC for flight sims. Somewhere in 2000 I even decided to build a cockpit. Got a bunch of servo driven instruments from simkits, modules from Goflight etc. Outside visuals where projection based because large monitors where not common those days. I had lot’s of fun building this.

But in the end I became bored, mostly because of the fact that the technology was not able to produce convincing graphics and the simulation always felt scripted. Before a flight you knew what weather it would be because you had set it up yourself in advance. Ai traffic was behaving according to scripted rules. Also my dedicated game PC became to old to cut it.

In 2015 I moved and had tot disassemble my cockpit but always followed the news on Avsim and the likes. When VR was announced for X-plane I started thinking about reviving my hobby but work gave me little time. When Msfs2020 was announced I knew it was time. I had a year to think about building a new PC, dusting off my old gear and preparing for the next step in flight sims. Marketingwise Microsoft has done a good job. Everybody was excited.

On release day I fired up the new sim on my brand new PC and I have been happily flying since. The addiction lies in the fact that the graphics are great but more important, the real-time changing environment with live weather and traffic is adding much to the experience. It does not feel scripted. Sometimes the scenery doesn’t look great because lighting and visibility conditions are dull, but 15 minutes later it can become breathtaking because clouds are forming and the sun gets filtered by more aerosol density.

The only thing I still think is annoying is ATC which feels completely scripted. That’s why I started with Vatsim, maybe that helps immersion even more…


What I would say here is try to temper your expectations to avoid disappointment. I’m looking forward to graphical improvements along the way as well, but I don’t expect any game changing changes, and certainly not from ray tracing.

A wonderful post, because my experience was exactly the same. Now I know I’m not the only one :wink:

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Sounds like all the above work for the company, unless there has been a mega update in the Last week I’m still disappointed, my graphics do not relate to the early releases of videos and not including the most popular 737 is also disappointing, I’ll run it again and check but I’m back with xplane11 until I see huge improvements.
The airliners are all to buggy to even use.
I know it will get better but god knows when.

I have since downloaded the latest update and have to say it is more like it now, bought the £6 update of London city, amazing, airliners still need to be more realistic and still won’t forgive them for no 737.
Still I’m happy.

Out of curiosity, do you really think ray tracing will bring a significant improvement to the lighting? I think the lighting in the game is already indistinguishable from reality. The things that would make the visuals better at this point are better textures, and more objects/clutter in the world. You can see what I mean when you compare the visuals between Medium and Ultra settings. – the lighting in the same, and looks lifelike, whereas the sharpness and texturing of the world drops off at Medium settings. I imagine that further realism will be brought by an increase in the fidelity at Ultra settings, rather than better lighting.


Same here, I actually always tried to do with FSX, P3D and X-Plane what I’m doing with MSFS right now; flying low and slow VFR cross country flights. But the boring looking world always put me off a few minutes after takeoff. So my flights were always the same, a trip around the scenery I had downloaded (X-Plane orthographic) or flying airliners so I would only be low to the ground above the scenery that I had.

Now I can actually enjoy just going for a trip between two airports I’ve never been to before or just taking off and go exploring. Even the airliner trips are more interesting because of the non-generic scenery down below and the ever changing cloudscapes.

The immersion level is just phenomenal, it’s not only graphics but also sound. Going for a flight at dusk or dawn when its raining is just an example how immersive this sim can be.


As a Mac user and former Apple employee I doubt if I would ever want to work for Microsoft :wink: I still hate Windows and most of the products of this company. But I have to admit that they are committed to the flight sim genre I love.

I know what you mean, I have experienced many bugs and even had to reinstall the game. But that’s not taking away the addiction and excitement of where this title is heading…

Even though without Bill Gate’s help (he bought $150 million of non-voting shares in Apple even) Apple almost would have gone bankrupt?

i hate apple with all my heart, i hope they bankroupt and they stop to do ■■■■■■ computers :smiley:


Well that escalated quickly! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Same boat here as OP. Starting to explore more of everything in the sim and seeing past the bugs in these recent updates. I think the only temptation I’m only holding off, for now, are the payware aircraft add-ons. I’m patiently waiting on more improvements, other than that, everything I like so far, but I do miss flying a couple of planes I had on X-Plane 11 (like the Velocity V-Twin and HU-16 Albatross).