Having just read Andrew Herd's reasonably comprehensive coverage of FS2004, I find myself extremely curious as to how the finished game will actually look. Andrew did an amazing job summarizing the new features that make the game better, but I find that he seemed to neglect some of the features that are more in tune with the game side of FS2004. Though I do enjoy realism, what fun is flying when the graphics are no good (I know people will disagree, but I used to say that graphics don't matter, its realism that counts, then I got a computer that gave me decent FPS and my viewpoint changed a bit :-lol)
For example, in all of the screenshots included in the article by Andrew, there were incredible blurries (especially the first shot of the LearJet taking off from Meigs). In almost every set of shots I've seen in FS2004 the blurries are just as bad as, if not worse than, FS2002. Again, I know realism has been improved, but when will MS finally decide to fix the blurries?
Next up is the clouds. I've heard countless stories of how the actualy weather physics have been improved, something that FS2002 needed a lot. I have also seen that the cloud rendering has been improved, though personally I see almost a step back. In a post at avsim.com (located [link:forums.avsim.com/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=147&topic_id=50917&mesg_id=50917&page=|here]) Bear posted some comparison pics of FS2002 and FS2004 clouds, and while the prospect of clouds that no longer center around the plane is pleasing, it seems to me that the clouds are patterned, seem to have a flat shape, and don't seem to have the volume that MS claims they'd have.
Next, I've seen many shots of FS2004, but I think the most disturbing thing is simply that in many cases I cannot tell the difference between FS2002 and FS2004. When I first saw the screenshots that Bear posted (above) I didn't immediately read the captions, and I could tell almost no difference between the actual terrain in the different versions.
Of course, beyond the actual sim itself, we have the aircraft. While the new-to-FS, vintage aircraft seem leaps and bounds ahead of the current FS2002 stock, the more modern planes are disappointingly dull. The upgraded Mooney seen in the shots over at FSMagazine (the set of shots is [link:www.fsmagazine.nl/nl/modules.php?set_albumName=album52&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php|here]) doesn't seem like much of an upgrade to me. The virtual cockpit is an addition that was missed in FS2002, but the panel is very similar to that of FS2002 and the gauges seem to be unchanged from FS2002.
Now, these are just a few of my gripes, summed up, and I'm extremely intersted to see what others have to say about this. However, what I'm most interested in (and hoping for) is some people who have a beta/press copy to correct my misconceptions and show me some eye candy I can really get into.