A couple of weeks back, the team working on the upcoming title - Microsoft Flight Simulator - announced that normal development goals would be taking the backseat for a while, as people all over the globe continue to face the coronavirus threat. Microsoft still managed to push out a regular update last Thursday, bringing news regarding the Alpha build, an SDK update, and more.
This time around, however, the team has faced more issues in meeting its previously-announced updates slated for March 19. Among these was the release of a multiplayer-centric episode for the Feature Discovery Series and a development roadmap update for April/May in preview. Both have now been pushed back, with an instrument flight rules (IFR) episode, a Partnership Series update, and the latest iteration of the Feedback Snapshot getting delayed as well. More specific details on their release will be provided as part of next week's update.
A message for fans with regard to the whole situation has been posted as well. The components relevant to Flight Simulator's development read as follows:
"With guidance from our leadership, we have taken steps to establish remote work spaces that will minimize impact on our development efforts. We have prioritized team focus on key deliverables core to completing the project, while pausing work on deliverables that are not. In the near term work will be focused on delivering an updated Alpha build, followed by assessing our Alpha participation. Once we’ve completed that process, we will turn our focus back to other deliverables we have in the pipeline (e.g. Feature Discovery Series Episodes, DR Roadmap Updates, Partnership Series updates, etc.). This is a temporary measure, we will continue to monitor the situation while providing frequent updates to the community.
For now, expect that many of the deliverables we’ve been working on will be delayed by a few weeks while we get the team working at optimal efficiency remotely."
This goes in line with the aforementioned delays and it remains to be seen when the game's development gets back on track.
Despite all this, a number of announcements regarding the upcoming Alpha build have been unveiled this week. The following new and improved content has been denoted to be made available as part of this release:
- We’ve added Groups to multiplayer, and while still early in development you should be able to Add Friends and find them on the world map, and click to join them.
- We’ve added Training Missions for those who are new to Flight Simulator. These missions will take you through the Basic Controls, Attitudes and Instruments, and Take-off, Level flight and Landing.
- The Cessna 152 has been added and is now cleared for takeoff
- We’ve added Live Events which are time-limited activities that we plan to switch out with different events frequently.
- Peripherals Support has been improved, and more devices added. Please note that due to these changes, previous mappings from the Alpha will no longer work with the current Alpha.
- We are hard at work prepping the airliners for release in the next Alpha update!
There are also a bunch of plane specific updates:
- Cessna 172 Skyhawk (G1000) has been improved for flight controls and instruments
- DA40 TDI instrumentation improvements
- DA62 has improved pilot controls
- DA62 instrumentation improvements
- Beechcraft Bonanza G36 issues glass cockpits improvements
- TBM 930 flight controls improved
- TBM 930 instrumentation improved
- TBM 930 animations have been updated
Along with the release of the build, the team notes its commitment to ensuring that all those who received an acceptance email or registered early for pre-release testing will have full access to Alpha. After that, further participation options will be looked upon to allow more people to enjoy the latest build.
It is difficult to assess whether Microsoft will have made any significant progress by next week, given the scale of the coronavirus pandemic, though the firm assures fans that an update will be provided at the regular time next Thursday.