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Microsoft To Offer Flight For Free This Spring 241

Posted by timothy
from the something-tells-me-wine-won't-suffice dept.
hypnosec writes "Microsoft's Flight Simulator series, which was in dormant state until now, will see a re-launch this spring and that too for free. The name of this series will be simply Flight, and players will have free access to the digital sky with this simulator. In other words, it will be available as a free download; however, the user would need to buy additional content to enhance their experience. The content that can be purchased includes aircraft as well as new environments. Microsoft states that the most amazing part of this game is the user can experience some real life locations like Big Island of Hawaii along with 'region-specific weather patterns, foliage, terrain and landmarks.'" [Video demo here.] I'd like to know where the ESRB finds "crude humor" or "mild violence" in there.
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Microsoft To Offer Flight For Free This Spring

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  • by DCTech (2545590) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:13AM (#38596342)
    And I have to say I'm really impressed with the game. The free model seems great too, especially considering that there has always been a huge market place towards Flight Simulator aircrafts, scenery etc. Maybe they will work out some deals with third party developers too. But as I'm under NDA I wont say too much, but you can sign up for beta here [microsoft.com]. I suggest you do!
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:26AM (#38596610) Journal

      The free model seems great too

      Nope, there's an article just a few down saying that this model is broken, and since it was on Slashdot it must be true!

      • by capnkr (1153623)
        If, as stated @ 0:58 in the video, they have that "serene cityscape" of Honolulu "on the Big Island" - yep, it's broken... :)
        • by cvtan (752695) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:37PM (#38597970)
          Mahalo for pointing out that Honolulu is not on the Big Island. Fun place to visit, but it's hardly serene".
    • by wzinc (612701)
      This game would be great as an MMO, where you could fly with others. I wonder if a "serious" MMO, where you're actually logging hours would do well. How would kids messing with people actually using it as a simulator work? Play servers and serious servers, where you'll be booted if you mess around?
      • by tnk1 (899206)

        Should be fairly easy. The only way to really troll anyone is to cause air-to-air collisions or maybe crash into parked planes. Plain old crashes don't hurt anyone else, so they should be able to do that as much as they want. So all you need to do is log collisions and then have a ruleset that you can make a determination of who was at fault and then "suspend" their Virtual pilot's license for increasing amounts of time if they are at fault. That or you simply make air-to-air collisions impossible with

      • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:35PM (#38597938) Homepage Journal
        Amazingly enough, people already do this, albeit not with Microsoft Flight Simulator. X-Plane pilots join up with virtual air traffic controllers to efficiently run the airspace in their virtual world. X-Plane is a pretty hardcore package though that appeals to a different set of people than Microsoft Flight Simulator.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ah.clem (147626)

        This is quite common; I have been doing it for many years on VATSIM (ATC Simulator) and flying with a virtual airline (DCA). It is a lot of fun if you are really into simulation (not games). For radio comms, Teamspeak is one of the popular voice systems. Realtime weather is also available once you log into the VATSIM servers. You do have to know your stuff, but the VATSIM folks are really pretty helpful and don't mind if you keep your plane parked for a few hours and just listen to the chatter to get an

      • Check out VATSIM [vatsim.net] sometime. It's already an "MMO" of virtual pilots flying together, along with virtual Air Traffic Controllers. VATSIM takes it seriously, too, trying to be as professional as can be (pilots and ATC).

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by galaad2 (847861)

      oh ${deity} ... yet another silverlight - infected steaming piece of ***p

      • by galaad2 (847861)

        p.s. i'm talking about their web site, it's almost completely unusable without silverlight :(

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Fight isn't Flight Simulator per-se. MS sold the Flight Simulator franchise to Lockheed Martin, Flight is a re-design from the ground up.

      http://www.flyingmag.com/blogs/fly-wire/goodbye-flight-simulator-hello-microsoft-flight

    • Thanks for the link dude. :)

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:15AM (#38596398)

    the user would need to buy additional content to enhance their experience. The content that can be purchased includes aircraft as well as new environments

    Flap your arms all you want, cowboy, you're not leaving the ground.

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmhNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:18AM (#38596464) Journal

    ...where you bought the game and then picked up community-created addons for free.

    • Hopefully they'll do both. The other big flight sim program, X-Plane [x-plane.com], has both community created free addons and commercial addons at additional cost from third parties. There's a big community [x-plane.org] around that and it adds a lot to the program. As people might expect, the stuff you pay for is usually better quality, althrough there is some really great free stuff out there.

      It'd be nice if Microsoft encourages others to make content and provides tools to help with that. But I'm not sure that's part of their bu
  • Mild Violence: It's possible to die. But if anything, you'll see the plane break apart, or the windshield crack.

    Is this game going to be MMO? Otherwise it's hard to envision the pay-for-content-as-you-go model working out. It kind of made sense to have to pay for big fat scenery packs, but who wants to get nickel-and-dimed piecemeal? On the other hand, they'll probably sell bundles anyway. If the news here is that they're doing away with physical media (well, besides that ms flightsim is coming back in some

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:22AM (#38596534)

    Microsoft states that the most amazing part of this game is the user can experience some real life locations like Big Island of Hawaii along with 'region-specific weather patterns, foliage, terrain and landmarks.'

    You mean just like Microsoft Flight Simulator?

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:22AM (#38596536) Homepage

    The only games I play are on XBox360. I might be interested in that game/simulation. If I needed to buy some fancy control devices, so be it. But having my nice big TV and all it would make the flight simulation pretty nice. And doing the the Live networking would be kinda fun too where you could join groups of flyers and such... interacting with them and all.

    Not long ago, I saw my brother doing the flight sim thing on his PC. It was impressive enough, but not impressive enough for me to want to buy and set up a Windows PC... game system? Okay. But my stuff is Linux. I'm comfortable there... got some Apple stuff collecting dust but otherwise all Linux. A free game isn't enough to pull me back to Windows at home.

    • by demonbug (309515) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:51PM (#38598266) Journal

      The only games I play are on XBox360. I might be interested in that game/simulation. If I needed to buy some fancy control devices, so be it. But having my nice big TV and all it would make the flight simulation pretty nice. And doing the the Live networking would be kinda fun too where you could join groups of flyers and such... interacting with them and all.

      Not long ago, I saw my brother doing the flight sim thing on his PC. It was impressive enough, but not impressive enough for me to want to buy and set up a Windows PC... game system? Okay. But my stuff is Linux. I'm comfortable there... got some Apple stuff collecting dust but otherwise all Linux. A free game isn't enough to pull me back to Windows at home.

      It is a flight simulator. Doesn't exactly match up with the gameplay demographic of consoles, though it does sound like there will be some arcadey options. Oh, and there is the fact that high-quality simulators are often CPU-bound, so they would have to make serious compromises to make it playable on a console. Not that this has stopped any other game companies from designing down to that level, and it is too early to really have an idea of how advanced the simulator element is, but that could be a real problem.

      Personally I like the idea of a flight sim, but so far the ones I've tried have all been pretty boring. While one can theoretically use them for actual flight training (if you get the extra-special dongle that doesn't do anything but cost you an enormous amount), to me the fun part is doing stupid shit that would get you killed in real life. PC sims like Flight Gear and X-Plane do a decent enough job of simulating routine flight dynamics, but as soon as you start doing anything remotely stupid (or fun) they just fall apart. And they don't even have the decency to show pieces of your plane flying apart when you hit things :( I'll probably give MS Flight a try, since it is free, but I'll likely stick with Il-2 for my flight sim cravings; the flight model might not have quite the same fidelity, but it rewards stupidity with bits and pieces flying off - and then there's the fact that you can blow shit up when you're tired of just flying.

      • by Xest (935314)

        "It is a flight simulator. Doesn't exactly match up with the gameplay demographic of consoles"

        To be fair, it doesn't match up with the gameplay demographic with PCs either, hence why the genre is all but dead relative to it's peak over a decade ago.

        But for what it's worth consoles do have a few flight sims, they are all combat oriented, and some are more arcadey than others, but Apache Air Assault in realistic mode was pretty good.

        I'm not sure why you think simulators are anymore CPU-bound than any other op

  • I would say the "Crude Humor" and "Mild Violence" come from the "Enhanced Experience" which probably involves making a pass/grope at the stewardess and spanking unruly passengers back in coach.
  • by CuriousGeorge113 (47122) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:26AM (#38596608) Homepage

    Sounds like they are taking a page right out of Zynga's playbook. Offer a game for free, get a user addicted, and then convince that user to spend money on "improve their game experience." I know a few people that have spent quite a bit of money on farmville, mafia wars, etc. with in-app purchases. Way more than anyone would spend to download a full version of a game.

    I'd rather pay up front for something and have a complete product (or at least, know how much of that product I'm getting). I'm real aversive to Zynga's model, because there is no way, up front, to know how much you are going to spend to get a good experience playing the game. You just have to keep buying more and more credits as time goes on.

    • Depends on the game really. Are you looking for a complete start to finish gameplay experience, or an ever expanding realm in which you can pick and choose what to purchase as needed?

    • by delinear (991444)
      There are pros and cons to both approaches. With the in-game purchase it's easy to lose track of how much you've spent, but it's equally easy to spend full price on a game and find out it's not worth the cost, and then you're out all of the money at once instead of paying out a little at a time while you're still getting enjoyment from the experience.
    • by Khashishi (775369)

      I'd rather get something free and decide to pay after I know I like it, but that's just me.

  • by abe ferlman (205607) <bgtrio.yahoo@com> on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:29AM (#38596642) Homepage Journal

    It's probably the inflatable auto-pilot and the nun with the baseball bat.

  • I'd like to know where the ESRB finds "crude humor" or "mild violence" in there.

    "Attention, this is your Captain speaking. Today's flight will take us straight between the Grand Tetons. *snicker*"

    At least, it would have been funny at the age when I played one of the earliest versions...

  • by i.r.id10t (595143) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:48AM (#38596974)

    I wonder how this new version will compare to FlightGear ?

    http://www.flightgear.org/ [flightgear.org]

    • by yourlord (473099) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:24PM (#38597692) Homepage

      It doesn't compare to FlightGear. FG is built with a focus on simulating the physics of flight.. It's seen some really nice improvements in the eye candy department as of late as well.

      Plus, with FlightGear, it's free, as in freedom, and as in beer, as in "here's the source code and all the artwork!"..

      There isn't a market place to buy new locations because the ENTIRE PLANET is available for free in FG. Not to mention hundreds of planes, from gliders to cargo/passenger jets, WWI bi-planes to WWII fighters and bombers, to F-15's, etc.

      Local weather phenomenon, real-time real-world weather conditions from live METAR data on the internet, multiplayer support allowing you to fly with people all over the world, all free.

      All for free... Any other flightsim is pretty much DOA as far as I'm concerned.

    • When Flightgear 2.0.0 was released, it was released with a new system that more-slickly rendered runway lights -- it used a so-called "point sprite approach." However, Flightgear's implementation of point sprites did not accommodate ATI's non-standard spec, so airports were 100%-dark for all those using ATI hardware. Who is at fault -- whether the Flightgear developers or ATI -- doesn't really matter to me. Why? It's fairly rare for other software vendors to ignore a quirk in a very popular piece of hardwar

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx.b c . ca> on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:55AM (#38597098) Journal

    ... since 2001, since it could supposedly possibly be used to train terrorists.

    • ... since 2001, since it could supposedly possibly be used to train terrorists.

      Just a few minor details citizen,

      You have to be connected to the Internet to play the game.
      When you're connected to the Internet, we can see every keystroke, every mouse movement, every location.

      Do have fun, citizen.

      (from your God Fearing friends in a concrete bunker near a AT&T trunk line near you)

      • by mark-t (151149)
        So if my 6 year old grandson plays the game and shows a distinct penchant for flying poorly to anyone watching him IRL, will he be mistaken for a terrorist practicing crashing planes?
    • by Khashishi (775369)

      Don't worry. The programmers put in a subroutine that automatically informs the FBI when the user crashes more than iMaxBuildingCrash planes into buildings.

  • Who plays these? I can understand aviation buffs and maybe even people that are pursuing a license but I have never understood it aside from that. I've played all manner of them since the old days of CGA monitors and while the graphics have gotten better it still is like mediocre masturbation at best. Taking off and landing are fun but the 1:1 realtime flight in between is kinda silly to me.

    • You're flying in the wrong places then. I have a copy of X on a laptop that I drag out for friends who are visiting (I live in Alaska) and I show them some of the routes we might be flying over. It's fun to get people airsick before they set foot on the plane ...

  • I don't see the point in flying around without shooting and blowing shit up.

  • I hope that like with the MSFS series before it [having legit 2002, 2004 disks, and having torrented 95 for the hell of it] that even though THIS will be DLC driven that users can still do their own addons [scenery, airports, models, AI, etc] - and that there will be backwards compatability for aircraft models.
  • the user would need to buy additional content to enhance their experience.

    Just wondering what that might be, what you might discover once you start enjoying your flight...

    Radar... Oxygen... Landing Gear....
  • by wideBlueSkies (618979) * on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:29PM (#38599982) Journal

    ...when I can look out the cessna's window and see my actual house when I fly over my block.

    Seriously, for all it's technical accuracy, the scenery in MSFS is kind of dull and unrealistic. Sure I can fly around somewhat a somewhat real looking NYC (home) but 9 miles to the west, and my town looks like flat grassland. It gets old fast.

    I want to take off from Princeton Airport, head southwest and see Princeton. And then New Brunswick and Cranberry. Not random dirty green flatland.

    So yeah, I'll pay for another version of flight sim when (if ever) it will look something like really flying over the landscape. Houses, fields, etc.

    • by Plouf (957367)
      This being said, I never appreciated FSX as much as since I got my PPL license. Sure I can't see my house, but I can actually practice and prepare VFR navigations using the default scenery since the stuff that really matters to the real pilots are is there. I also bought X-Plane to compare and it failed completely: it looks prettier but I almost got lost before leaving the CTR. So I can tell you, from a pilot's point of view, FSX really feels like flying over the landscape since I can use my low-altitude ma
  • Better deals (Score:5, Informative)

    by gr8_phk (621180) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:52PM (#38600340)
    If you really like flight sims, X-plane is the way to go. They have lots of free 3rd party content. If cheap is what you like, FlightGear is the way to go - open source with tons of add-ons, downloadable scenerey, but the graphics are not as pretty. Both have a linux (and mac?) version of course.
  • Why aren't they releasing this on XBox 360? Seems like a missed opportunity.
  • by jsepeta (412566) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:43PM (#38603282) Homepage

    I could crash my plane horrifically into the Sears Tower using MS Flight Simulator 1.0 for Macintosh. My little turbo-prop airplane started out at Meigs Field. Mayor Daley was correct to close that airport, he just did it ham-handedly. Will Microsoft's downloadable content prevent wannabe terrorists from crashing planes into buildings? What if, as in my case, you just suck as a pilot? I never did learn how to land that thing reliably.

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