Dovetail Games Flight Sim World
Hello Fellow Flighsim Enthusiasts….
As most should know, Dovetail Games released their “Early Access” version of Flight Sim World (FSW) recently. I wrote about this subject back on 4 May and expressed my hopes, opinions and just general thoughts regarding this new entry. Much of the content I used to form the basis of my opinions came from Dovetail Games Announcement video which you can view from the above mentioned blog post. Outside of that one announcement video I have tried to restrict my viewing of other videos, live streams and blog postings on the subject of DTG’s FSW. It was my desire to remain as neutral as possible so that I could form my own opinions and present them to you here.
Before I begin to open up about my opinions regarding DTG’s FSW, allow me to say the following. The Dovetail Games Flight Sim World is an early access product. As with any early access, beta, pre-release, work-in-progress etc. etc. edition of any software, there most likely are bugs, there could be bugs found and more importantly what you see, may not, most likely will not be what will go into the finished product.
I’ve been flying computer based simulation games since the early 1980’s. My love and fascination with aviation started as a young boy and has progressed into adulthood. While I know longer have the desire to “learn to fly” in real life…flight simulation (much like my interests in other simulation based games) is an important element in my life and serves as a much needed stress reliever when of course the applications are working correctly. LOL
Because of my long history with flight simulation based applications, I’m sure you can understand how difficult it is to simply “turn off” my knowledge, experience etc. with other flight sim titles. As a point of reference, the first flight simulator application I used was on the Commodore 64 in the early 1980’s. This was developed by a company called subLOGIC. subLOGIC sold (or was acquired) by Microsoft in the early 80’s to be further developed into the very popular Microsoft Flight Simulator. Here’s a short video (not mine) showing 60 seconds of recorded footage of what Flight Simulator looked like on the C-64.
Anyway, sometime in the very late 80’s or early 1990 timeframe I graduated from the C-64 to the PC and one of the first software packages I purchased was Microsoft Flight Simulator and I’ve owned, used and very much enjoyed every version up to Microsoft FSX. So having said all this, I have tried to look at Dovetail Games Flight Sim World with an open mind, I’ve tried not to compare it to anything in the past, present or possibly future and most importantly, I’ve approached this review fully understanding what “Early Access” means.
Let’s Get Started
My apologies for taking so long to get to this point in the article, but I felt it was important to lay the cards on the table. One more small piece of information I want to make public is I have not been asked, nor have I been paid to write this review. While I received DTG FSW at no cost, this was only because I had purchased the DTG’s Flight School and in doing so, earned me a no-cost version of FSW. Here’s my open and honest review of the “Early Access” version of Dovetail Games Flight Sim World.
Dovetail Games Flight Sim World
Flight Sim World is the new (currently in early access) flight simulator developed by Dovetail Games and sold exclusively through Steam. At the time of this blog article, FSW is available as an Early Access release for $24.99 as of 18 May 2017. If you purchased Dovetail Games Flight School, then you should have access to download/install FSW at no cost.
As part of the base package, FSW includes the entire world and includes several single and twin engine prop aircraft to get you started in your flight adventures. The application is 64 bit which meets with the high demand from these types of application games. If you are unfamiliar with the struggles we’ve had over the past several years with under-performing flight sim applications, then please read this article.
Install and Setup
DTG’s FSW installed just like any other Steam application. I was able to quickly configure my CH Products Flight Yoke and Rudder Pedals, but support for my extensive collection of Go Flight hardware is unfortunately not supported at this time.
Application Performance and Stability
Overall I’ve spent approx. 6-8 hours flying around and the overall performance from FSW has been more or less what I expected it to be. For the most part performance is better than FSX but I don’t believe the application itself is as fully optimized as it should be. But then again, this is early access. To be honest, while I did occasionally view my FPS counter, I don’t use FPS as the end-all-be-all in determining how an application/game is performing. Application lag, stuttering etc. were mostly at a minimum and I think would/will be improved as the game matures further along the early access process. During the entire time I’ve spent with FSW, I didn’t encounter a crash or application failure.
As was the case with DTG Flight School, the default visuals are much, much improved from FSX. While it’s not as impressive as FSX or P3D with Orbx Global Scenery, for a default (out of box) product….it’s pretty darn nice.
Flight Dynamics and Realism
This is somewhat difficult for me to judge. First, I’m not a real world pilot and second, I haven’t flown default level aircraft in many, many years. I’m a huge fan of the more complex, study level type aircraft from developers such as PMDG, A2A etc. But FSW does very much remind me of default FSX and I found the aircraft easy to fly.
My overall impression
Again, making every effort to not compare FSW with any other product I will say that for it being an early access product…I was quite pleased overall. However, I feel I must state the following which slightly causes me concern regarding the future of FSW.
Much like we say “behind every great man, there’s an even greater woman”….behind every great simulation game there’s a long list of very successful 3rd party partners which help make the game even better through mods and add-ons, I fear if Dovetail Games doesn’t change their plan on how they may force 3rd party developers to exclusively market via Steam, then FSW may never fully get off the ground. Please read this for background information.
In a nutshell, DTG may require all 3rd party developers to market their add-ons exclusively through Steam. Let’s use PMDG as an example. The almost brand new PDMG 747-400 Queen of the Skies II sells directly from the PMDG website for $134.99. The cost to market something on Steam is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40%. So if PMDG truly believes their 747 is worth $134.99 they either will take a 30-40% hit on their profit (not likely) or pass along the costs to us consumers. Therefore, increasing the cost of their 747-400 Queen of the Skies II to a whopping $175. Of course, nothing is official at this time…and Dovetail could re-consider their marketing requirements. Stay tuned…
My Very Bottom Line
I simply can’t deny that in some ways I simply couldn’t prevent myself from making comparisons to FSX, P3D and even X-Plane. I consider myself to be a hard-core simmer with regards to my enjoyment of the flight simulation hobby. I like the eye-candy that some of the 3rd party add-ons provide. I enjoy the more complex aircraft add-ons from the likes of PMDG, A2A, Aerosoft, Carenado etc. I also enjoy using my additional add-on hardware from Go Flight which helps to add to the immersion level. Finally, I do from time to time enjoy experiencing multiplayer action via the VATSIM network and at this particular time…none of these boxes get checked with Dovetail Games Flight Sim World. But of course, I’m reminded of the fact that this is an early access product. Things can and may change….
Should you consider DTG’s Flight Sim World?
It’s difficult for me to recommend an early release product of any kind. After all, it’s your hard earned money and not mine. But if you are new to flight simulation, have a desire to try it out AND have an extra $24.99 in your pocket, then DTG’s FSW might be a good entry point for you. If you don’t like it, or if it doesn’t perform to your expectation you can always request a refund via Steam.
I’m going to continue to keep my eyes and ears open to any news on this subject. I may occasionally test out new enhancements made throughout the early access process, but if you ask me if Flight Sim World will become my “Go-To Flight Sim” the answer is no and I hope to share all the reasons for this along with exactly what my “Go-To Flight Sim” is in a future blog post.
Until next time…