MSFS 2024 and all those Elephants

Like many of you, I was enjoying a nice, relaxing and peaceful Sunday afternoon.  I was flying from TAPA (V.C. Bird International Airport) to KMIA (Miami International Airport) in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 and thoroughly enjoying all the awesome visuals and sheer smoothness of my brand new gaming machine I recently built and very much like how we all learned that Microsoft was developing a new simulator way back in 2019, the news broke that Microsoft/Asobo were planning to release yet ANOTHER brand new simulator next year titled Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024.

Since retiring back in 2020, I will admit that some days I question just what day of the week it is and even find myself thinking to myself that “I can’t believe it’s already June”.  But after watching the 2 minute and 14 second teaser video, I was wondering if I had some how stepped into some alternate universe and found that it was actually April 1st?  Or has June 11th somehow now become the new “Fool” day?  You can view the teaser video below.

Unfortunately, the content of the short two minute video sent the flight simulation community into a tailspin.  Forums and Discord channels quickly became a buzz of comments, questions and rightfully… concerns regarding what exactly we were watching.  Is this an expansion to the existing MSFS 2020?  Is this a brand new sim?  If this is a brand new sim, then WHY?  What happens to all my prior MSFS 2020 purchases?  Will this cause 3rd party developers to abandon projects for MSFS 2020?  What was Microsoft thinking?  Is this just a money grab by Micro$oft?  Will this become another Train Simulator like platform?  etc. etc. etc.

The somewhat startling thing was this news came out of the middle of nowhere.  Third party developers such as Aerosoft, Fenix, PMDG etc. were all finding out about this new simulator at the same time as the community.  The entire flight sim community was simply left scratching their heads over what seemed like a pre-mature announcement by Microsoft/Asobo.

Before retirement in July of 2020, I had spent the better part of three decades in IT Management.  In my various roles within the realm IT it was always our goal to ensure any sort of announcement didn’t create panic and uncertainty within the userbase.   Any sort of surprise announcement would always include a detailed FAQ which for the most part helped to prevent the sort of panic, frustration and thousands of questions something like this could generate.  Unfortunately, Microsoft/Asobo failed in this department with this announcement.

As the sun rose and a new day unfolded, Microsoft/Asobo did provide a short FAQ which addresses a few of the large elephants in the room.  Yes, MSFS 2024 will be a completely new standalone sequel.  Yes, MS/Asobo will continue to support MSFS 2020 based on the current roadmap.  Finally, with very few exceptions, virtually all add-ons that work in MSFS 2020 will function in the new MSFS 2024.

My Thoughts

I’ve been a computer based flight simulation enthusiast for over 40 years and have truly enjoyed every version of Microsoft Flight Simulator ever produced and of course Prepar3D during the time between FSX and MSFS 2020, a very big part of me is extremely excited about the MSFS 2024 news.   Of course, I’m also concerned with the fact that in its current state, MSFS 2020 still has many bugs and limitations.  Of course, Microsoft has stated in the FAQ that MSFS 2020 will continue to be supported post the MSFS 2024 launch. So time will tell.

When I first learned about MSFS 2020 and certainly after the initial launch of the new sim, I have quietly had some concerns regarding how Microsoft/Asobo could sustain not only the base product, but also all the future development, expansion and of course the cost of the infrastructure that is required for MSFS to function.  While I’m sure the initial sales of MSFS 2020 certainly went a long way to helping achieve that important ROI (Return on Investment), I did question how things would work in the future.  After all, while Microsoft has introduced a few extra add-on DLC’s to the MSFS 2020 platform, I personally have not purchased them.  Likewise, I also don’t purchase any of my 3rd party add-ons via the Microsoft Marketplace.  Every third party add-on I’ve purchased, I’ve purchased direct from the developer.

With all that said, and again for me personally…I’m not sure why Microsoft/Asobo just didn’t create a DLC add-on that incorporated all the new features mentioned in that trailer to be added into MSFS 2020.  But of course, I’m not in charge of MS/Asobo so what I think matters very little.

I’m sure over the coming weeks/months we’ll certainly learn a lot more about Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 and I’m also confident we’ll also soon begin hearing from 3rd party developers on just what we can expect from them both in products yet to be released into MSFS 2020 and beyond to MSFS 2024.

It’s too early for me to commit to words whether MSFS 2024 would be something I would upgrade to on day one.  I think at this point in time I would need to better understand what the differences between the two sims are based on my style of flying.  While the new features showcased in the trailer look cool.  I’m just an old commercial and GA flying enthusiast.

Final Thoughts

Based on all that we know (and don’t know) today, I do applaud Microsoft/Asobo for all that they have done for the flight simulation community.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Microsoft 2020 is the absolute best flight simulation platform available to the home sim enthusiast.  I’m confident that MSFS 2024 will raise that bar even higher and in my opinion, no other developer of a sim platform can or will exceed the current MSFS 2020 or the future MSFS 2024 in the next year.

I’ll certainly relay any new information as it becomes available and will of course share any personal thoughts regarding that new info in future blog postings.  Thank you for taking the time to read.

Until next time….

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

New Gaming PC

In my last blog post where I discussed the upcoming MSFS AAU2 (Aircraft & Avionics Update) which is due to release on 23 June, I briefly mentioned some issues I had been having with my gaming PC.  The PC in question, I called GBS Beast Mark V (which was the 5th gaming machine I had built in recent years).  I built the machine in May of 2018 (5 years ago) and at the time it was pretty much top of the line with an Intel i7 8700K CPU, Nvidia 1080Ti GPU and 32GB of RAM.  It performed well with the games of that time period including American Truck Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and Prepar3D Flight Simulator.  It performed OK with the new Microsoft Flight Simulator.  However, sacrifices had to be made with some graphic settings in an effort to keep the FPS above the 30 FPS mark.

However, over the past month or so I had been experiencing several issues which caused concern for the overall health and longevity of the machine. I’m pretty good about keeping backups, so about two weeks ago I made a backup of everything I needed and a few days later the machine finally rolled over and said no more.  I quickly put a plan in place to start looking at the costs of building a new machine which would obviously be more powerful and hopefully future proof for at least another 5 years.

GBS Beast Mark VI

Obviously technology has taken a huge leap forward over the past several years and certainly so since 2018.  As previously stated, I wanted to try to future proof any new build everywhere possible.  As with previous builds, the most intensive gaming I play is flight sim.  To truly maximize the total immersion possible, any new build would need to have the very best CPU and GPU available and that’s what I’ve done with this new build.

GBS Beast Mark VI features an Intel i9 13900KF CPU on a Z790 motherboard and cooled with a liquid CPU cooler.  In addition, I’m going with  the top of the line Nvidia 4090 24GB GPU.  In addition, I’m adding three Samsung 990 Pro NVME SSD’s and reusing three Samsung 870 Evo SSD’s from the old machine.  Total storage capacity will be 8 TB.  In addition, I’m adding 32 GB RAM (DDR5) which is more than enough for the games I play and all this will be housed in a massive (largest case I’ve ever used due to the massive Nvidia 4090 GPU) Corsair 5000D Airflow ATX Case.

Testing Benchmarks

As I have stated many, many times over the years.  I tweak my system for smoothness and typically don’t concern myself too much with how many FPS I can get from the hardware.  As stated above, my old gaming machine was still capable of giving me a fairly smooth experience around the 30 FPS mark in Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Of course, I had to dialed down some of the graphics settings in order to achieve this, but nonetheless I was able to enjoy the sim just the same.

Of course, the beauty of having this extremely beefy system now with the i9 13900 KF CPU and the truly awesome Nvidia 4090 GPU, I’m pretty much able to run my graphics settings to the full extreme and still enjoy a smooth, buttery visual experience at 60+ FPS with both the Fenix Airbus A320 and the PMDG Boeing 737-800.

The WOW Factor

I’m literally blown away at the huge leap forward I’m experiencing with this new PC and it very much reminds me of how I felt 5 years ago when GBS Beast Mark V came to life.  But of course MSFS wasn’t around at that time and has completely changed the flight simulation landscape.  Over the next few weeks I’ll continue tweaking the new machine and will post my settings once they are all dialed in the way I want them.  While I’m not saying one cannot enjoy MSFS without a 4090 GPU, I will just say that it is absolute joy to see the virtual skies in all their glory without sacrificing performance.

It’s great to have a gaming machine once again and I look forward to many years of what I believe will be truly awesome experiences in all the simulation games I enjoy.  Obviously, Farming Simulator and American Truck/Euro Truck will certainly enjoy the benefits of the updated hardware, but of course not to the same level as MSFS since that is both a CPU and GPU extensive simulation.

Until next time…

Happy Gaming!

Jerry

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