Flight Sim World enters Phase 2 of Development
Hello everyone - some big news today! I wanted to use this developer update post to talk in more detail about Flight Sim World moving onto Phase 2 of Development. Since our debut last May, we’ve introduced major updates (for example, Advanced Weather and our Cold + Dark implementation), and made over 500 bug fixes, tweaks and numerous other alterations based on your feedback.
With the release of Update 16 today, we’ve squashed more bugs, adjusted the avionics and made numerous alterations to mission difficulty, all based on what you’ve been telling us. You can read the full update notes here, but in this post I really want to talk about what’s next for Flight Sim World: Flight Sim World has left Early Access and is now in Phase 2 of development!
Whilst in Early Access we’ve been extending the underlying technology and working with select partners on the SDK. This has been released not only to developers, but made available to you. Our intention was always to cement a stable platform and come out of Early Access. It’s been a great environment in which to develop but, if truth be told, can all too easily become a comfortable home you never want to leave! We don’t want to get too comfortable.
With that in mind, we’re switching our focus to some of our longer term goals, meaning there won’t be as many quick updates, but instead more impactful changes and big feature additions. We’ve got a lot planned for 2018, including IFR implementation, expanding the core fleet of aircraft, improving the look of the world, live weather and my own personal pet project, improvements to ATC, to name just a few.
I’ve said that I want to build a platform that will stand the test of time over the next 5 or 10 years. We’re not there yet, but the goal hasn’t changed and the journey we’re on together is far from over. This next stage of development is a necessary change of gear. So let me take a moment to answer a few questions I think you might have.
Have we finished developing?
No. We’ve got a suite of exciting updates planned for the sim and our entire small development team is in regular discussion about what we’d like to work on next. We’re eager to share that with you (and will discuss some of that below), but I just want to take a moment to stress how grateful myself and the team are for all your support thus far. The constructive feedback you’ve given us to date has been invaluable in helping to create this foundation for us to build upon, and will continue to be a building block as we further expand the core simulator. It’s the beginning of a new phase, with less small updates, instead the delivery of larger features.
About those features, what’s next?
One of the most exciting things for us is seeing you all sink your teeth into our meatier updates. We want to deliver larger updates into core Flight Sim World package. So what’s coming in Phase 2?
We’ve talked in the past about our work in Early Access as laying the foundations. If we take Advanced Weather as an example, the implementation of trueSKY was the foundation for where we want to take weather in Flight Sim World. It wasn’t easy, opting to integrate an altogether new system into FSW. We took that route because we believe the difference it makes is worth the challenge of implementation. It’s a disruptive approach, one designed to bring about necessary change. I hope you can already see, even at this early stage, the positive improvement it brings to the overall experience. What’s really important is where we take it next. Wouldn’t it be more exciting if you had to work around changing weather?
So our next release will be adding dynamic weather into the simulator on February 1st. This forms the basis of the technology that will power the future implementation of Live Weather.
Wait, did you just say dynamic weather?
We can’t wait to see you what you think when the weather takes a turn for the worse or when the cloud breaks and you spot an opportunity to climb on top. The weather themes have been great, but it’ll be a whole lot more realistic as we mirror the unpredictability of the real world, complete with seasonal variation.
That’s not all! We want to give you more options about what you fly in Flight Sim World, starting with the addition of two new variants of the PA-18 Super Cub. We’ve added the amphibious and tundra tyre versions today! So, if you’re looking to take off and alight on water, or tackle rougher terrain, you’ll be able to do so. We appreciate this isn’t the type of aircraft you’ve been specifically asking for (more on that below), but we wanted to share this with you as a thank you for being part of this ambitious journey.
So what about the long haul?
No great simulator was built in a day, and we’ve got ambitious development goals. I wanted to share some of those with you here.
One thing we’ve been working on a lot recently is bringing the first jet into Flight Sim World. This requires adding IFR functionality to the sim (something that’s been on our hitlist for a while). The first jet will have all the features necessary to allow novice as well as experienced simmers to get involved in instrument flight. We’ll dive into more specifics on that in a separate post on Steam and the Flight Sim World website in the near future. We’ll also be adding another new aircraft into the simulator, something that’s quite unlike anything you’ll have seen in Flight Sim World thus far.
One of my personal long-term goals has always been to overhaul the ATC. I want to build an ATC that doesn’t take you out of the experience but rather gives you goosebumps. I’ve long felt that more complex aircraft, realistic weather, instrument flight and a modern ATC system would combine to provide that wow moment. In all honesty I find radio comms one of the more interesting elements of flight, even in light aircraft, that simply isn’t portrayed well enough in any flight simulator. That’s just an example of some of the things we’re looking at from a developer perspective. What do you all think?
That’s all for now. 2018 is going to be an amazing year for Flight Sim World and we’re eager to share more with you as we continue our endeavour to push the boundaries of flight simulation. Welcome to Phase 2.
Oh, and one last thing. I previously mentioned two additions to the stock fleet of aircraft, starting with the jet and a ‘mystery’ aircraft. Of course we haven’t forgotten about those of you who want bigger airliners and will have more to share on that later in 2018.
Thank you for your support thus far, we want to deliver more for FSW in Phase 2 and beyond with larger updates, and we’ll keep you up to date here regularly.
Steve Hood & The Flight Sim World Dev Team
Omitted: Daniel Dunn (vehicle artist) Calum and Jack (mission designers)