A couple of weeks back, Microsoft released some of the initial build notes that were part of its latest Flight Simulator Alpha build, which was close to being made available to Insiders. Now, version 188.8.131.52 has finally been released, bringing new content and a host of other changes.
As far as the introduction of new in-game components is concerned, the list of additions reads as follows:
- Cessna 152 is now cleared for takeoff!
- Training Missions: These missions will take you through the Basic Controls, Attitudes and Instruments, and Take-off, Level flight and Landing.
- Sedona Landing Challenge
- “Groups” functionality added to multiplayer
- Add friends to find them on the world map and can click to join them
- Live Events are time-limited activities that we plan to switch out with different event types often.
Microsoft has specifically addressed the community's complaints regarding a lack of airliners, noting that they are "on their way", with the core functionality being tweaked to perfection meanwhile. Moreover, new device binding presets have been added based on peripherals support feedback. However, this means that switched out and adjusted mappings won't be present with the updated Alpha, and will need to have to be made again.
Overall, the changes that have been made concern planes, airports, air traffic control, camera angles and abilities, multiplayer, the flight model, the UI, and more. There is also a detailed run-down of known issues that still haven't fixed:
- Some jetways are misplaced at airports
- Black stripes can be visible on the side of different world tiles
- Trees sometimes overlap with buildings
- There are missing buildings in Chicago-O’Hare airport
- There are missing buildings in Frankfurt am Main Airport
- FPS tends to drop after the end of a loading sequence
- FPS tends to drops during intro cutscenes
- Low FPS (10 to 20 FPS) in big airports when on the tarmac, both on the take-off and landing
- There are possible FPS drops when moving the camera around the plane
- Objectives can fail to show any inputs if they were previously cleared by the user under Controls
- Panels previously undocked from the toolbar can appear enable on any Activity
- There are issues with the TTS voice on the Take-off Flight Training when using the Female Voice
- The TTS voice during the Take Off Flight Training audio and subtitles are mismatched
- We still display some debug subtitle-text with TTS audio on the Landing Flight Training
- Planes can teleport 900 – 5000 FT above when returning to freeflight from any Landing Challenge
- The ‘‘Apply the Brakes’’ objective fails to get completed after the player applies the brakes during that Landing Tutorial
- Objectives can break using the despawn /respawn at the start of the Take Off Flight Training
- The TBM930 engine shuts down after a teleport
- Intermittent weather bug that can sometimes create unrealistic gusting winds, more likely to hit this when the user changes settings mid-session.
- HUEN main buildings are not spawning
- Autopilot can become inoperable when switching between Vertical Speed and Altitude in All Aircrafts.
- Switching instructor models mid flight (in tutorials) will not switch the instructor voices.
The pilots and engineers involved with the title have also provided some interesting technical insight on some of the more finely tweaked features that offer further realism. These can be viewed in more detail at the original post. Wrapping up the Alpha news, the Flight Simulator team has stated that it is currently working on things such as an improved search bar layout, modified sensitivity and dead zone curves, and refined inputs for upcoming updates.
With the Alpha update news taking up a large chunk of this week's development update, there is still some news to go around regarding upcoming deliverables. For starters, the release of episode 8 (IFR) in the Feature Discovery Series has now been delayed to the end of April or possibly the start of May. The latest iteration of the Feedback Snapshot is expected to land next week, while the Partnership Series update is still on-course for a mid-April release.
Alpha participants can update to version 1.2.5 by launching their current Alpha build, checking for updates, and then installing the most recent update. For those who were not selected in previous Alpha recruitment sessions, Microsoft assures that it will be adding more people once issues related to the current release have been addressed over the course of the next few days.