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The Crash of Flight Sim World

Presented as the future of flight simulation, Flight Sim World was cancelled this month, putting an end to an agony that was starting to be visible everywhere, except by those who wanted to believe. Still, the future of flight simulation looks bright.

DTG announced yesterday that Flight Sim World is no more. I wrote here, back in September 2017, that Virtual Skies are Full of Real Idiots, because of the hate that many seemed to direct to an Early Access product, Flight Sim World, from Dovetail Games. The note about flying idiots continues to be true, and they are on both sides of the aisle. Those who made it their hobby to hate the simulation, and those who blindly believed everything they were told.

I must say the cancellation of Flight Sim World does not come as a surprise to me. Although I enjoyed the ride, and hoped for the best, the experience of recent months suggested me that something bad was lurking in the background, and, what’s worst, the team gathered around the simulation knew things were not going as many wished.

Having seen similar situations unfold, and having lived through the difficulty of seeing something you’ve invested time, passion and money in go down the drain, I think I understand what those most directly involved with the development feel right now. It’s always hard to say you can not continue. And you try to keep it a secret, both professionally, because many times you’re forced to, and because you try to make yourself believe it is not happening, and some magic potion will make things right again. Well, it usually does not.

The recent investments of the Flight Sim World team in a career mode, which so many praised, were, for me, a sign of the team losing focus, and not being able to get the core working properly. The continued “sales” of the program and some of the DLC modules, were another sign, for me, that DTG was desperately trying to get money any way they could. And the move out from Early Access suggests a marketing move, so those who backed the project could not ask Steam for a refund. That’s how it looks to me, although I believe this decision, as usual, was taken at management level.

So, Flight Sim World is cancelled, repeating a story that is a bit like Microsoft’s Flight. Now we’ve another simulation that crash-lands some months after being presented as the future of flight simulation. As expected, the same idiots that claimed the program was not going anywhere, and made of their claims a “religion”, are laughing, while those others that followed “religiously” every word of DTG are now silent. In the middle, there is, still, a lot of people that looked at FSW as yet another option, which I believe it could be, in a genre that seems to be back from the dead. In fact, as I’ve tried to show here in different articles, there is a bit for everyone in the different flight sims available. We should be glad we’ve so much to choose from, and regret when one promising new option fails to make it to the skies.

In recent months it seemed to me as if DTG believed that the mission modules and career mode would save the simulation (something I don’t believe, as most simmers want a sandbox to play with…), and I’ve kept myself away from the program, rarely opening it. I returned to Digital Combat Simulator, which with its new version, 2.5, is a joy to fly (and it’s FREE!) and invested in some of the airplanes there. Even preordered the F/A-18C Hornet which will be delivered, ready to fly, by the end of this Spring. Prepar3D has also occupied me, but not as much, as DCS takes a lot of time if you want to explore the aircraft and helicopters it offers.

The announcement by DTG, right after an update to the Career mode, represents the opening of a Pandora Box, and that is already reflected on the NEGATIVE reviews to the program, which are growing, as the way people have to say they feel cheated. Some surely will, as they invested in all the DLCs, that now will not be of much use, as FSW is a half-baked simulation with lots missing.

It’s a pity, really, because contrary to what many say, the program does offer some great scenery — in some areas -, and its aircraft are, graphically, some of the best you can find. So, we’re all at a loss, because the industry has had its first 2018 casualty, and the effect of this DTG decision may have effects further than they expect. Suddenly people are saying they will not buy anything else from DTG… and that may well mean that FSX, which continues to sell, both the core program and the DLCs, will also be affected.

What this means is that by canning FSW, DTG may also have put another nail on the coffin of FSX, meaning they will lose money both ways. I say this, because recently I wrote that buying FSX expansions through Steam/DTG was probably not a good idea, in one article entitled Made a bad choice: bought a DA40 on Steam. If the community still using FSX simply decides to drop it altogether as a way to say DTG they are angry, the company is going to suffer. I know I am not using FSX as much as before, and I may well drop it altogether, as some new promises come around, and the whole world moves to 64-bit.

I wish there was a way to keep FSW running. I tried to show, through different articles published here, that there were interesting aspects to the program. Did I religiously follow it? No. In fact, I wrote as a last note on my article about real idiots in virtual skies this:

One final note: FSW may never reach its potential, it is too early to say. But condemning the program while it is in Early Access and pointing to a lot of things that are not there makes no sense. DTG is aware of the features that are missing, or are not there yet because we’re at a very early Alpha, which we’ve all agreed to test and comment about. Comment in a logic way, pointing to bugs, suggesting things. Not complaining because your old planes don’t work there or the airliners you want HERE and NOW have not yet landed. They will, if FSW flies as long as the developers wish.

Eight months later, here we are: Flight Sim World is no more. And yet, still, the future of flight simulation looks bright as it probably never did in recent years.

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Outpost 2 is a “bridge” between the world of simulation and the real world, and the Universe around us. Sometimes, there will be no frontiers between reality and simulation. It’s an advanced scouting position from where, sometimes, a new view reveals hidden details.

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Jose Antunes

Jose Antunes

I am a writer and photographer based on the West coast of continental Europe, a place to see the Sun die on the Sea, every day.

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