• Flight Sim World - One Year Later

    Flight Sim World

    One Year Since Closure, What Went Wrong?

    By Michael Hayward

    Flight Sim World     Flight Sim World

    May 24th of this year marked a year since the closure of Dovetail Games - Flight Sim World. A new platform on the market spawning out of FSX: Steam Edition and Flight School, this was supposed to be a part of the new era of flight simulation, coming from a respected simulator-focused company with features being promised to spearhead the future of the genre.

    None of it however came to fruition and just under a year from being released, the simulator was canned with an end date six days after its first anniversary.

    So what went wrong with Flight Sim World? Did it do anything particularly right? In this article, I plan to look at what Flight Sim World offered, where it excelled and what led to its demise.

    Flight Sim World     Flight Sim World

    Flight School

    In April 2016, Dovetail Games released Flight School onto Steam. Sold as their initial step of in-house flight simulators based on the Microsoft Enterprise Simulation Platform (ESP), it was a quick taste of what was to come, once more development time had passed and the community had a chance to input their ideas into the simulator. It initially came with three aircraft: the Piper Cub, Piper Cherokee and for those who pre-ordered, an exclusive Diamond DA42 (100 days before it was added to the main release). These aircraft were all built in collaboration with A2A and came with Accu-Feel as standard, allowing for a high-quality list of default aircraft.

    The world environment was also new with Orbx TrueEarth as standard. Compressed bitmap ground textures were replaced with higher quality DirectDraw Surface (DDS) tiles and new 3D volumetric night lighting was also added. Billboarding was also mostly removed thanks to better-defined ground class definitions and a higher range of ground images to choose from.

    Flight Sim World     Flight Sim World

    Flight School was a rather simple simulator and obviously brought in a lot from its predecessor, FSX. The biggest change and selling point however was the fact that it was now 64-bit and the very first ESP flight simulator to do so! This meant, while previous simulators were stuck with 4 GB memory limitations, FSc was a lot less restrictive to where you could fly and how far - P3D v4 was also still a few months away so there was no other 64-bit alternative at this point.

    The UI for the new simulator looked smart and modern, breaking away from the old clunky style that a lot of current platforms used. There was also a number of missions thrown in too, varied for the different aircraft included. I personally liked the 'Pilot's License' page which gave you a simple logbook and counted your total sim-hours, a very smart move for those that like to keep track of their virtual flying.

    Flight Sim World     Flight Sim World

    There was however no modding support or multiplayer (two things that most players see as key for a flight simulator). They were however promised to arrive in the next stage once it was ready to be announced.


    7 Comments
    1. b52bob's Avatar
      b52bob -
      This was a great sim with great potential. It was killed in all directions - Steam’s rumored control of third party add ons, backlash from developers, criticism from the community and the impression that Steam was just money grabbing. I liked it, supported it, and still have it on my system. It was a mess brought about by all sides. Have gone to XP-11, deleted FSX, and use P3D rarely only for those aircraft not in XP.
    1. rooitou's Avatar
      rooitou -
      I agree with review. It wasn't a bad sim, but wasn't compelling enough to have in addition to FSX, P3D or X-Plane11. The market simply was saturated and FSW didn't offer anything which stood out to make it a "must-have". Personally I didn't like the scenery that much as the trees didn't blend well and stood out too prominently. I also found their new cloud technology a bit strange as it created a FLIR-like image when inside them and looked like cellophane plastic from the outside.
    1. eric5150's Avatar
      eric5150 -
      The best thing I thought Flight Sim World provided was better flight dynamics. I am soon to be a private pilot and when trying to practice spins and even stalls to a certain extent in both P3D and FSX, it is not realistic. In Flight Sim World, it was a lot more realistic with the way you would enter a spin/stall and the recovery. I still to this day cannot do a realistic spin in P3D or FSX. I obviously can get the plane to stall in both P3D and FSX but it does not mimic the real-world "feel" of stalls that well. (I also wish that FSW came with a Cessna like I fly in the real-world)

      The thing that killed FSW is the monetary structure of addons and not trusting creators outside of FSW. You need to give free reign to other creators as that is what has made FSX and P3D an excellent sim in terms of scenery, addons, aircraft. I tried X-Plane 11 but it is too foreign for me and even though it has made leaps and bounds in scenery creation, it still is not enough for me.

      I'm now, after reading this article, reinstalling FSW to relive it with my new computer (Core [email protected] GeForce 2080 RTX OC). We'll see how much better it is now.
    1. vegad's Avatar
      vegad -
      Good article. Thank you. FSW was/is a very good sim killed by greed. DTG reps did initially say devs would have to sell via Steam but revised their statement saying they didn't want to alter the existing ecosystem. Major P3D/FSX devs were sore they didn't get Microsoft to allow their consortium to build on ESP but went solely with DTW. They started a negative campaign driven by mob mentality that quickly scared folks from investing on FSW. Similar statements have already been released from some of the same developers/influencers about MS FS 2020 as a form of warning to Microsoft. Notice how quickly Microsoft clarified their position towards developers. All we have is hope that Microsoft doesn't turn greedy asking for a cut of each dev sales. If things turn out as the influential devs want it, I'm sure will still have to pay full price for the same airplanes in MS FS 2020 for one of the devs.
    1. zswobbie1's Avatar
      zswobbie1 -
      vegad, the new simulation from Microsoft is called Microsoft Flight Simulator, & NOT MS FS 2020.

      Us simmers should stick to the actual name of the forthcoming simulator, as stated by Microsoft themselves, & not made up names such as FS2019, FS2020 & the name now used by yourself.
    1. K0TNT's Avatar
      K0TNT -
      After seeing the early videos for FSW and the declaration that a six core was the minimum hardware needed, I managed to move to an 8 core computer that really runs rings around my old dual core that couldn't even load XP1)! Literally the week I bought the new computer came the news of FSW's demise. Fortunately I was able to get one of the last copies and it is really stunning. I run it from time to time ahead of FSX Steam and XP11. Altho XP11 has come a long way with addon aircraft, none approach the visual experience in FSW. Still my favorite despite some of the minor bugs and glitches. Former Link C-11 Instrument Trainer instructor, USAF.
    1. neilfb's Avatar
      neilfb -
      If Dovetail Games had one as I suggested and make a 64bit FSX then everything would have worked! Okay they wouldn't have made as much money but many people would have moved from FSX because of OOM's alone. It's a shame really I got the impression FSW was made by computer guys and not flightsim enthusiasts.
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