Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 arrived in August 2020 on PC, receiving good ratings from the specialized media.
This flight simulator stands out for its realism, which was increased with new features such as real-time weather change and the inclusion of live flight routes.
Late december Microsoft Flight Simulator received an update that increased the fidelity of the experience, as it included the possibility of playing it in VR, and to unravel all its secrets, we chatted with Jorg Neumann, who was at the forefront of its development.
Was it difficult to bring Flight Simulator 2020 to VR?
One of the first things we asked him had to do with the difficulty of transferring a game as complex as Microsoft Flight Simulator to a virtual reality environment, but believe it or not, it was easier than we thought, and all thanks to the participation of Asobo.
“Well, the good news is that we work with Asobo, it makes VR quite easy, in fact we developed different titles in its time, and it is a fairly modern programmer, so the fundamental functionality exists.”
Interestingly, Jorg commented that the most difficult thing to adapt was the clouds, since they were built as voxels, that is, small cubes that give a bit of problems from a rendering perspective.
How will it affect performance when playing Microsoft Flight Simulator in VR?
Microsoft Flight Simulator It is a very demanding game, and one of the things we were concerned about had to do with performance, especially if it would increase when using the VR function.
Fortunately, Jorg ensures that it requires practically the same resources to run, although it looks much better.
‘The aspects are very, very similar, perhaps even exactly the same, and you will already know that it depends on your computer and the device, you will have to adjust it to them and their capabilities, VR is not just one thing, VR encompasses many others (…) So far the panorama is exactly the same as when you are not playing with VR, but it is much cooler to play it in virtual reality since you are much closer to everything and there is much more spatial sense, the audio changes and there are many things you can to do with the various hearing aids that exist today. ‘
How dizzy does playing VR cause?
One of the biggest challenges for virtual reality games has to do with the dizziness that some players may experience; however, in Microsoft Flight Simulator they managed to reduce the feeling by using some tricks.
‘The reason I think VR is one of the best experiences in a simulator like Flight Simulator is because it makes up for the problem a lot. Many VR games cause this because you must be constantly moving your head and you are much closer to the ground, therefore many objects are at eye level. ‘
‘In Flight Simulator you go straight ahead throughout the game, since you are driving an airplane that is going forward, due to that simple detail the pixel flow is reduced, but there is one or another trick in the part of the render that we did, but in my opinion I think this is the best case for a VR product, for example you can go to some places with mountains and look down but you are not really moving, that is an experience ‘.
In accordance with Jorg, the detail that helps the most to reduce motion sickness is that in this flight simulator you are located in a closed space delimited by the airplane panels and the windows, which are always static and do not give the sensation of movement by reducing the flow of pixels.
‘In a non-VR game the only thing we can do is give you a button and it is pre-programmed, you see in a specific direction but it is not where you really want to see because the direction changes, since it is directed specifically to the runway , but the perspective in VR is identical to the real world, I get ready in my seat, I look outside, my head rotates almost the same way as in real life, it is a wonderful feeling, it is the closest you will get to being a pilot, to fly in the real world, it’s wonderful. ‘
What viewers is Microsoft Flight Simulator VR compatible with?
Support for VR headsets is important to Flight Simulator 2020 developers, so this mode will be supported by many of them.
‘We started with an Hp Reverb 1 and 2, Samsung, things like that, but recently since we are essentially an open XR, we support Oculus Rift, Rift S, Valve Index, VIVE Pro, VIVE Cosmos and we want everyone to be able to play. ‘.
Microsoft Flight Simulator will continue to bring content, and the community influences it
Jorg Neumann commented that the game will continue to have monthly updates, which are strongly influenced by the gamer community.
“We are committed to bringing new things every month, so in the following years we have a route map that has been made with a lot of effort and that has a lot of influence from the community, as we pay a lot of attention to them.”
‘The community is very active and has a lot of knowledge, so they tell us quite precisely what they want and we pay a lot of attention, that’s why we have a concept called simulation update and there we functionally add the simulation that the players want. ‘
The best proof of this is reflected in the weather, as it is updated in real time and is capable of showing from snowy landscapes to frozen rivers, as happened recently in different countries, but this is not all.
In accordance with Jorg, they plan to add more elements that give realism to the landscapes.
‘We will update sections of the world focusing on specific countries, or areas with a certain type of imaginary, we will also make airports for a good landing, the plan is to create animal populations, for example sheep in Ireland, because there are many sheep in Ireland, so the world will be more alive and exact. ‘
The best part of development is interacting with the community
Although the development of a video game has different phases and challenges, what Jorg Neumann enjoyed the most was interacting with the community, since in his 25 years of experience he had never experienced anything like it.
‘It’s the most splendid thing, to know that there are hundreds of billions of people who are passionate about aviation and passionate about everything being right, plus, getting their feedback and actually talking to them every day is very rare. I have never experienced this and I have been making games for 25 years. You don’t have that in normal games. ‘
‘Here is a relationship with the real world and with people who like to fly, and there are things that were frankly unexpected, there are people who, for example, did not like aviation so much, but knew about geography or landscapes and the level of The enthusiasm with which they interact with us is great, they send us pictures, for example, there are people who send emails with places in Ireland and what they really look like so that they look the same. It’s just wonderful because we’re working with the community and I think that can make everything infinitely better than we could have done alone and it’s fantastic. ‘
Everyone should try Microsoft Flight Simulator
Jorg Neumann turned out to be passionate about aviation, and he took advantage of the space to deliver a message to those who have not yet tried the game.
‘In my opinion, flying is one of humanity’s oldest dreams, and it’s always very intimidating, it seems difficult, airplanes are complicated, they are a bit abstract, and the good thing about Microsoft Flight Simulator is that the world is so accurate and looks like the real world. We have done a lot of studies and work to make it easier for you to be a pilot.
I think you really should give it a try, flying is wonderful, it’s fun, it’s the closest thing to the swimming metaphor, it’s like swimming in the air, and once you do it’s super fun and addictive and you have an appreciation of the planet from a different perspective, and it’s beautiful, so I think it’s time for them to give Flight Simulator a try.
As a last thought I have played simulators and games my whole life the best experience I have had so far is flying in Flight simulator, it feels good from the get-go, so please give it a try and tell me what you think and maybe we’ll see each other somewhere in heaven. ‘
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