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Microsoft Flight Simulator Alpha 3 has been released

Image via SimTom112

After quite a bit of focus shifting toward Alpha releases for Microsoft Flight Simulator, last week brought a development roadmap update to Insiders, alongside a publicly available Feedback Snapshot.

Today, the development team has announced that Alpha build, dubbed "Alpha 3", has now been released. Further invitations to enhance Alpha participation options are being sent out as well.

The latest version brings new content in the form of the Boeing 747-8i. There are quite a few know issues with the aircraft though, that will be addressed in the coming weeks. These include some minor discrepancies within its flight management and guidance systems, displays, graphics, and other systems.

Image via Trainplane3

With regards to improvements to airplanes that have already been in the game for some time, various improvements have been made to the A320, the TBM 930, the G58, the DA62, the DR400, the C152, the C172 G1000, and the Xcub. Aside from this, general updates for all airplanes including how alterations in the weather will be reflected have been made as well. Other changes, including bug fixes, airport-specific improvements, and known issues can be read in detail by going through the full build notes.

That isn't all for this week, however. The long-awaited SDK news update has also finally been made available, with Microsoft noting that it is currently in contact with over 200 firms, with more than 400 developers having access to the SDK. The developer mode is stated to have been improved based on feedback from the third-party developers, while other changes have been noted as follows:

On the airports side, we are both widening the scope of what can be customized in the sim (e.g. adding the possibility to blend custom aerial imagery on the terrain, creating custom painted lines per airport) and working towards simplifying the adaptation of existing assets to the new simulator (e.g. adding support for projecting meshes).

On the aircraft side, we are working closely with 3rd party developers to ease the transition to WebAssembly and glTF. Just as with airports, we are both extending the possibilities of what can be customized and working to ease the porting of existing assets to the new simulator. We also improve our support for WebAssembly by implementing specification proposals that focus on performance.

Finally, an unexpected deliverable this week is a general release for a newer iteration of the Development Roadmap. Although version 5.01 was made available to Flight Simulator Insiders last week, a version entitled 4.02 has been unveiled now. Both of these seem to be providing information regarding what is to be expected over the next couple of months, though it is unclear whether the version only available to Insiders has any major differences in this regard.

As can be observed, fans of the title will have Alpha v4 to look forward to at the start of June, along with a bunch of Partnership Series announcements scattered throughout the month. Another newer Alpha version is also slated for an end-of-June release. Similarly, quite a lot seems to be planned for mid-July, with a closed Beta kicking off along with plenty of other components getting updates as well. It remains to be seen whether these deadlines will be met as planned, given the unpredictability surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

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