Microsoft Flight Simulator: the road ahead

The sim won't be perfect.

It won't. For many reasons.

Be it technologically (bugs popup and issues arise – it's perfectly normal in the cycle of any software) or just because people have different expectations.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


brilliant article, Thanks! :slight_smile:

Thank you very much, mate :slight_smile:

I completely agree. This makes some very good points. Must be hanging out in the wrong forums as I haven’t seen as much negative comments. Oh, maybe I don’t read everyone’s comments! The sim is already on my computer waiting to be downloaded.

To be honest, I kind of expected something like this would happen. This community just loves to choose sides and argue endlessly.

Imagine what we could do if the whole community worked together instead.

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I haven’t heard too much negative either, but the internet can be a ghetto of places. My boss had one of the first heli sims out there (70s?). It had a large control counterweight and no screen. Just analog instrument flying. I don’t think we should be too worried about helis coming. Only a matter of time.

It will be a matter of time, yes. We should ask for a good implementation, not a fast one!

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Sorry I don’t agree with your conclusion in terms of how the heli simmer community should be feeling about this.

I agree that there are nit pickers with MSFS 2020 in relation to what has been included so far in terms of functionality that are not seeing the bigger picture but I personally feel that heli simmers and a few others like gliders and fast jets have been ignored in this sim for generic style fixed wing and tube liners.

If as a group of fellow simmers we desire or want helicopters to be included then we need to communicate to the developers strongly that unless they include our requirements we won’t be buying their product as this is a commercial enterprise and its about profit and if we sit there and stare at the stars with a dumb look on our faces as you are ultimately suggesting, then we wont be included for a long time or if at all.

I feel you are not representing our hobby with a strong view because you don’t want to be seen as a naysayer in the face of the MS giant and their associated developers in fear of missing out on being on the various industry events you aspire to attend or the freebies and early releases that may come your way. That’s fine and I understand if you don’t want to stick your neck out but you should just remain silent at the very least rather than telling us to be quiet.

This is not about patience at all, it’s about MS a billion dollar plus company making a commitment to include VR and helicopters rather than an easy to get out of wish list. To be a wish list is not a promise its virtual ware and they need a list of committed deliverables. It simply makes no sense to me that a few fellows in their back shed can create Aerofly Fs2 with industry leading VR and Helicopters, fast military jets and gliders and a billion dollar company can’t even promise these as deliverables.

Your editorial is simply seen to me to be appeasement to the powers at MS and is certainly not in my interests as a heli simmer and I encourage all passionate VR Heli-simmers and other enthusiasts to yell the house down ( respectfully of course) at MS and Adobo as to me they are not listening and they are just telling us what we want to hear to appease us.

Hello @Bellah1z. Thank you very much for adding your voice to this forum.

As with most things in life, there are several paths to achieve a goal. With I have been following the one I identify myself with the most. “Yelling the house down” is not my style at all and it’s not how I want to be perceived by anyone in the community. Call that “appeasement” if you want to.

This way of doing things has been working for me, and the community for the past 4 years as I managed to establish a good relation with a lot of developers, companies and the community and we are not only getting our voices heard but we are also getting results.

One of those results was, like I have said before, having Microsoft Flight Simulator developers come to me and talk about helicopters when we met them at the Global Preview Event back in September. I didn’t have to approach them. They approached me and started talking about helicopters, how they want to do them properly and how they were counting on me and the community to help them.

There was a point at which I was, literally, in the middle of the room with 4 or 5 developers from Asobo and Microsoft (including Asobo’s CEO) and we were talking about helicopters, VR and other matters that we are still going to talk about in the future.

That, for me, felt like a very powerful message that our community is being heard, it’s highly respected and, forgive me for any lack of humbleness, I couldn’t avoid thinking that one of the reasons for that to happen was exactly because of the way I represent this community and approach everyone in it – developers, companies and users.

I left that event with their reassurance that both VR and helicopters would be added to the sim in the future. They have confirmed that both at the event, face-to-face, and in several contacts afterwards.

So, when you say they are not listening, that is not true at all. They are listening. They have been listening from the beginning and me and other community members, people that were also at the event, already said so several times before.

I am not the only one that is telling you all that VR and helicopters will come. People such as Novawing24 and Bel Geode, for example, were there with me and they heard these conversations and these topics as well. And they will tell you the same that I am telling you in this comment, this article and in previous ones I have written where the subject popped up.

I like to have a positive attitude towards things. I like to rally the community in a good way and address problems with the developers in a calm, respectful manner. To work with them, instead of demanding and shouting at them.

And I also like to take it patiently and letting companies follow their roadmaps and do what they need to do while helping and guiding them towards what is it that our community needs. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I feel that I have more results this way than with a more aggressive approach, which I don’t like at all and I don’t identify myself with.

As a software developer myself, I understand some things are better addressed later rather than earlier. Being a multi-billion-dollar company doesn’t mean Microsoft has funneled all that money to the development of a single product, obviously. They have goals to achieve, schedules and a budget to respect, which are vital for Microsoft to continue to inject money into the project so they can continue evolving the product. If they fail, things can go ugly and we can risk having the project being shut down.

I am not saying anyone to actual buy the sim if you are not happy with what it includes. If you don’t like what’s in it, don’t buy it. It’s that simple.

What I am saying is that we should not give up on it like we did with MS Flight (which a lot of people enjoyed) or, more recently, FSW. We, as a community, completely shut down 2 sims – one of them developed by the said multi-billion-dollar company. That is how powerful we are and that is the result of yelling and shouting and not trying to work with the developers. Could it be any different if we had taken a different approach to the problem instead of using a sledgehammer? Maybe not. We will never know.

It would be very easy for me to follow a path of loudness, demanding things while shaking my fist. That’s not how I want to do things. It’s not how I believe things should be done.

I’d like to leave a final note to this comment, which is rather long already, so my apologies for that.

As with everyone else that went to the Global Preview Event, I am in touch with some of the developers. We don’t talk a lot about the sim, obviously, but we do touch base now and then. So, it’s not hard to imagine that we may have a bit more of information than the rest of the community and while information is worth what is worth (everything can change until something is really released), that should give you a hint as why is it that we sometimes say what we say when everyone else is saying the opposite.

I would like to thank you once again for adding your voice to the forum and expressing your concerns. If you disagree with how we do things here at, I would like to suggest that you take matters into your own hands and you do it the way you think it should be done. That is why I started in the first place, since we had no means to get our voices to be heard. I sure understand that the way we do things is certainly not the perfect one and that, like I said in the beginning of this wall of text, there is more than one way to do things.

If you decide to do that, just please don’t forget you will be representing our community and that everyone you are speaking on behalf of will be perceived through your actions and your words.

How we are seen by the community and the industry can help us achieve our goals or completely defeat our purpose.

Thank you very much for reading.

Keep safe!

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Really excited about the possibilities that MSFS 2020 might offer and really pleased to see Microsoft back in the flight simulation game. That said I probably will hold out until the sim at least has VR support, flying on a flat screen just isn’t the same. Also really glad Asobo want to do helicopters well, happy to wait for a good implementation rather than having a bad one now.

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Hello Tomsk! Welcome to our website and our forum. Thanks for pitching in. VR shouldn’t be that far behind, I hope!

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I agree that we shouldn’t bash a new product right away just because we’re fanboys of some other sim out there. If MFS will offer helicopters with proper flight models, I’ll be happy to shower them with money. And I dearly hope so, I really do. But I have strong doubts.

See, to publish a flight sim without helicopters in the initial release is just giving the finger to the helosim community. They might add them later, but it’s still a very clear statement that helos are not something that’s way up on their list, not something they have a passion for. I’m afraid they’ll just bolt them on reluctantly and half-heartedly just because they need to, marketing-wise. The bar is set pretty high regarding rotary-wing flight models and it takes an entirely different kind of commitment and dedication to meet these expectations.

They don’t have the resources? Come on, we’re talking about Microsoft here.

The fact that they need community help to “make them properly” gives me the impression that they’re clueless. We’re not talking about building a space elevator or inventing time travel. Proper helicopter flight models have been implemented before. The physics are well known. This can be done given time and resources. Again, this is Microsoft we’re talking about.

It all reminds me of promises made by politicians. We’ll do everything you want, just not now. Later. Someday. And we’re going to need your help.

As for VR: I don’t even have plans to use VR, but even I have to admit that it’s ridiculous to publish a flight sim in 2020 that doesn’t come with VR support right of the bat. I mean, that’s just bad marketing. They must have lived under a rock for the past six years at least.

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I don’t see it that way. They could have thrown something into the bucket and call it a day. They didn’t.

They do have limited resources and limited amounts of time to do things. It makes sense that something as complicated to tackle as helicopters is pushed back so that everything else is settled and finished. Helicopters are far more complex than fixed-wing aircraft. Get those sorted first, then take care of the stuff that’s really freaky and weird (helicopter physics).

Features have to be prioritized in projects such as this, otherwise you risk not releasing a product for years and years. They are already working on this for about 6 years now. They need to put it out there, fix things, improve the sim and add the missing features they planned on adding but they had to postpone.

These things take time and Microsoft is working under the same spirit they have before: they release an initial version and work from there.

I actually see the postpone of helicopters as a good thing myself. I rather have them wait and to a good job than doing a half-baked thing.

About them asking for help of the community, I appreciate it and I do expect they ask us for our input but I am sure they have actual helicopter companies, pilots and other experts to help them out. No company would let this in the hands of the community alone – although, seriously, we have some amazing people that can probably help them a lot with already existing libraries, for example. Think of Fred Naar with his HTR, for example.

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I certainly appreciate your positivity and your investment in this website but I have to respectfully disagree with your opinion.

The first reason I disagree is that unless you know something concrete which I don’t know and you can’t disclose then this whole idea that if you don’t push or criticize Asobo and MS they will do they right thing by our community is very flawed and a naive view of how businesses operate. This company(MS) is not here for love and peace they are here to make a profit and if they don’t have or hear the demand for the VR and heli simmers out there we will be ignored or given nothing.

The second reason is the ridiculous excuse that they want to “do it right”, simply makes no sense to me as why can’t a billion dollar company do it right from the start or from when they became aware this missing functionality was an issue?

Now I also use Aerofly FS2 which IMHO is becoming the market leading sim for helicopter simulation and VR and if this new EC135 is anything like the hi fidelity modeling in the r22 it’s going to be hard to beat as a heli sim.

The point here in my second reason is simply then is so why is it a backyard sim developer like Aerofly FS2 with one fellow can " do it right" but a multi billion dollar software giant can not? It’s just an excuse so they can invest as little as possible and create speculation that it will come in the hope of offloading a narrow function ( but well by the same token a breathtaking one) to people that believe the speculation and virtual-ware signalling.

I want to make it clear I am not complaining about bugs or the UI or why something will take a while to work 100%, this is about missing vore functionality and if it’s missing I am not buying into this franchise and its certainly not about being a fanboy of another platform ( I have all 4 ATM) its simply not a simulator for all simmers and some of us have been left out in the cold. If they bring helis in and VR I’ll pay for it .

You are giving Aerofly FS2 as an example, but you realize Aerofly FS2 was out in 2014 and their first helicopter was released in 2018, right? Before that, no helicopter flight dynamics existed in the sim. And for a reason.

Microsoft is a billion-dollar company, yes. The flight simulation team is not. And, from the perspective of a software developer (which is something I am), what they are doing makes perfect sense to me. Start with the basic flight model (fixed wing), get the software out, fix any issues, continue deploying fixes and improvements and, when stable, add something more complex. This is what is called Continuous Delivery.

Microsoft already mentioned they want to keep on improving the software throughout the next 10 years, which seems like a clear indication that this is what they will be doing.

Software development is no longer about finishing something, burning some DVDs and putting it in a store, then start working on the next version. It’s a living, organic thing that allows developers to build better products by working closely with the people that use it.

The sheer fact that Microsoft decided to call it “Microsoft Flight Simulator” and not “Microsoft Flight Simulator 11” or “Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020” is a big indication of what they are doing. Just like Windows 10 is the last “numbered” Windows version, Microsoft Flight Simulator is a software that will evolve over time and it’s no longer a “closed project” type of product that will end its lifecycle in 1 or 2 years as it was normal with the previous versions up to FSX.

In this article, I am not just giving my opinion as a gamer but also as a professional in the area of software development. All this makes sense to me and I would probably follow the same path as Microsoft is. I’d rather get the basics done and tuned, then add another layer of complexity instead of doing it all at the same time and risking having to redo portions of the sim.

It makes a lot more sense in terms of development and business than to release something broken that would cause them problems with clients and potentially set them back as they had to refactor large portions of code. This way they isolate things in blocks, get the fundamentals done and build on top of them, with the feedback of not only the beta teams but also the rest of the users.

If there’s something software developers know is that no beta testing program, no matter how big or how long or how tight it is, will show you all the issues in your software. Put it in the hands of the general audience and hell WILL break lose.

Going back to Aerofly FS2, that’s why they only released their first helicopter 4 years after the initial release of the sim. A sim that only now, 6 years after release, is having cold and dark situations. Yes, they are a smaller team with less resources. That’s why they are doing these at large intervals. Microsoft can do it at smaller intervals or even add those features right out of the bat.

But some stuff, they rather build later. And I am fine with that, both as a simmer and as a software developer. I can grasp what they are trying to do.

I am perfectly fine with you disagreeing on my points of view. That is fine by me. Not everyone will agree and not everyone will understand. I may even be totally wrong and Microsoft can just cancel MSFS for all we know.

But, for me, from my perspective as a software development professional – which is something that I can bring to the table when discussing our hobby and provide a different insight --, it all adds up.

Thank you once again for participating in the discussion. It’s always a pleasure to hear the points of views of our readers and talk about something that we love so much.

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