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Microsoft Flight Simulator will experience a significant performance increase
Asobo Studios is not only bringing new content for Flight Simulator, it is preparing to greatly improve its performance.
Launched on August 18, 2020 after years of intense development, the new Flight Simulator has impressed more than one gamer and more than one aviation enthusiast. The first big surprise was of course the visual slap of a game that proposed to reproduce nothing less than our entire planet - with more or less detail depending on the region of course - with a degree of realism that is sometimes striking. Not surprisingly though, such an achievement implies a certain "tension" on our PCs and a muscular machine is needed to enjoy it in good conditions.
Since the release, Asobo Studios and Microsoft have been working hand in hand to significantly enrich the game's content and to bring more and more "highly detailed" regions. One update focused on Japan, another on the United Kingdom and yet another on France and the Netherlands. However, there was no real question of further optimizing the game so that it runs more efficiently on our configurations... the release of the console version for Xbox Series X|S seems to have given the developers ideas.
They should indeed take advantage of the launch day of this Xbox version to deploy a new update - the fifth - to the PC version. A version that this time will focus on performance. In the video above, Asobo Studios' co-founder and boss Sebastian Wloch presented the progress made. He used the example of his own configuration - Intel Core i7-9700K processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER graphics card - which he first ran with the Update 4 version of Flight Simulator, the one we know today.
The demo takes the example of a flight over Manhattan where the particularly imposing buildings are a great test for the flight simulation. Unsurprisingly, when the plane is still far from the buildings the animation speed is around 40 fps, but then drops sharply - to 32-33 fps - as you get closer to the towers. With Update 5 applied, the result is quite different, even though the machine and the demo scene are identical: here, the animation is constantly around 57-60 fps and, even better, the processor is only used at around 75%, avoiding saturating the machine, whereas it was at 100% in Update 4.
These improvements make the simulation much more comfortable and give us hope that Flight Simulator will run very well on more modest machines. To achieve this result, Asobo Studios has rewritten large parts of the game engine code. As a result, Flight Simulator should take up fewer resources - leaving a few things in the background - while offering better performance. There is also talk of better handling of the stuttering issue and almost complete removal of clopping/popping, especially from vegetation.