It has been a whole week since we saw Microsoft Flight Simulator Sim Update V released for PC owners. The update was touted as a bit of a holy grail for improved performance, increased stability and bring in features to allow pilots to land anywhere in the world. The anticipation was, of course, insanely high. However, a week on and Sim Update V has become one of the most controversial and curious cases yet.
Amongst all of the controversy, perhaps the most vocal complaint is from the visual department. Both Microsoft and Asobo shared that the new update would see performance increases for many people, whilst memory usage and load times would drop. From what I’ve seen, those promises have been largely met, but not without issues. Some users have reported a massive change in the level of detail found in the sim. With pop-in, lower resolution textures and poor-looking photogrammetry, the sim suddenly looked a lot worse, even with the gains in performance. Some people have discovered there to be a few bugs with settings now being saved incorrectly, whilst some simply resorted to this being because the Xbox version was released the same day.
For the record, I refuse to believe that the PC version of the simulator was ‘dumbed down’ for the Xbox. The team has been clear that the technology used has been designed to scale up and down depending on the hardware. I personally am in the camp of having an improved performance experience without any major issues with the visual quality. That said, I can appreciate there are some people who are having issues and that it is frustrating. To me, the issue is that incorrect builds or files were used when delivered to the community; or some bugs were unintentionally added. Robert Randazzo on the PMDG forums alludes to this when he said that Asobo had turned off a rendering channel as it needed more development time. This clearly indicates there is still a lot of moving pieces and that something simply slipped between development and pushing out the build to millions of people.