Flight Simulator: Microsoft’s breathtaking virtual, real world

It’s 8 a.m. on a clear, sunny day in Oakland, California. No, it’s a rainy afternoon in Hong Kong. Or is it evening in Paris? Microsoft Flight Simulator doesn’t care.

At a time when gorgeous “open world” games are the norm, Flight Simulator helps set the bar even higher. Yes, it offers a stunning recreation of a virtual world, with weather and realistic landscapes, real-world traffic and ocean waves, and even, apparently, animals. But the virtual world is our world, our planet, and you can go anywhere in it.

Microsoft Flight Simulator main screen Mark Hachman / IDG

Flight Simulator’s “home” screen.

For me, that’s the whole point of Flight Simulator. Even if we weren’t severely limited in our movements by the current pandemic, most of us will never see the entirety of our planet. Travel to exotic locales also comes with costs—not just the price of a flight and hotel and food, but the pollution spewed by the planes, trains, and motor vehicles used to get there. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator allows me to be that happy noob simply exploring the world, without worrying about all those other considerations.

Hurry up and wait

Microsoft’s Flight Simulator ships in three editions:

All three will be available when the game launches Monday. Xbox Game Pass for PC subscribers will receive the Standard Edition for free.

Note that Flight Simulator requires an incredibly intensive process to install and play it—the virtual equivalent of driving to the airport, parking, checking in, and more. Our installation (of what we believe was the Premium Deluxe Edition—Microsoft didn’t respond to our query to confirm) required about 70GB of files to be downloaded. Unpacking them all filled up about 110GB total. The whole process took about two hours over a broadband connection.

The system requirements are worth studying. While they reach back far enough to accommodate many generations’ worth of PCs, you do need Windows 10 version 18362.0 or higher; at least 8GB of RAM; and discrete graphics with dedicated memory. The minimum, recommended, and ideal system requirements are below:  

flight simulator minimum specs Microsoft

Here are Microsoft’s minimum, recommended, and ideal system requirements for Flight Simulator.

Actually playing the game takes even more time. My PC—a Surface Book 3 that falls somewhere between Microsoft’s “recommended” and “ideal” system requirements for Flight Simulator—required a few seconds to show me that the game was being loaded, and a whopping three to four minutes to move past the introduction to the main menu. In a world where Windows PCs are almost immediately responsive, it all feels excruciatingly slow. The 15-second audio loop the game plays will soon drive you insane. You may as well go fetch a coffee while the game’s being loaded.

Source Article