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Thread: New Microsoft Flight Simulator technology for a new train sim?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Günzburg, Bayern, Germany

    Default New Microsoft Flight Simulator technology for a new train sim?


    Apart from being a railroad enthusiast, my life long hobby has been aviation. Virtual aviation, that is. A couple of days ago I was taken away in the most positive way when I found out that Microsoft is getting back into flight simulators. The new MSFS is breathtaking! I have no idea what kind of a computer will be needed to run it in ultra-high details, but watching these screenshots and gameplay videos almost made me cry.

    What has specifically drawn my attention is this new technology that has been implemented in MSFS. I don't pretend to understand how it works, but what I did understand is that they have used real satellite maps to make the simulator populate areas all around the world with 3d objects based on those maps and satellite imagery. They claim that VFR is now possible absolutely anywhere in the world - you pick a spot and the game basically creates a real lifelike world for you withing the sim.

    A thought immediately came into my mind, and this is what I would like to ask - do you think it would be possible to use the same technology to create railroad tracks based on the satellite maps, and therefore create a new train simulator that would enable us to operate trains anywhere in the world with 3d rendered objects that exist around the tracks?

    I know this is just wishful thinking, but maybe someone at Microsoft is also looking into getting back to train simulators.

    You can see this new, incredible sim here:

  2. #2


    My thoughts exactly!

    I even went back and looked up all the info about the Train Simulator they were developing back in 2007-2009. Those were exciting times. I sure hope they eventually pick up the idea again, especially with this promising new technology.

    Also, I've never been into virtual aviation but I wouldn't mind giving this a spin actually.

  3. #3


    i am looking forward to the release of this new flight simulator.........


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Hanover Park, Il., USA.


    Been FS'iming since FS98, and I am all in for this one if/when released. May need to break down and beef up a new rig to handle it, and improve my OR experience as well.

    Here are a few shots from this week from my HIGHLY modified FS2004/FS9:

    BTW, that is Otto (rip) on the right, ready to board the Beaver. I'll drop him and the family off for a week of enjoyable remote fishing in Manitoba

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by qballbandit; 10-03-2019 at 01:41 PM.

    Here at home, in the railroad mayhem capital of the world.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    north of United States


    Wow Neil with your heavy modified FS2004/F59 and really like your screenshots. I have been thinking about Flight Simulator for a long time like on and off but I don't think that I will ever want to get one for myself but anyway yours are really sharp.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    New England


    I've been watching the new MSFS announcements with a lot of interest. Even signed up for the public beta testing, so we'll see if anything comes of that. (Though just signing up comes with an NDA, so even if I do get a chance to put my hands on it, I'll be stuck to a vow of silence about what I see until MS decrees otherwise... )

    Technology has come a long way since FS9, FSX and even X-Plane 11. None of them are optimized for modern hardware.

    ACES Studios' effort on MSTS 2 was based on the FSX platform... it was supposed to be able to map rail lines onto the FSX globe model as a "World of Rails" which would have used an offshoot of the FSX scenery autogen system to create low-detail areas wherever there wasn't a hand-detailed route. Pretty ambitious and impressive idea.

    The new MSFS is, apparently using FSX's architecture (but not much, if any code) as a starting point. So there's still autogen, but it's now tied to Bing Maps and satellite/aerial data to create a data-driven "world" representation in the sim that's made on-the fly by the sim engine on your computer. The footage from the alpha looks pretty impressive even as it gets down close to ground level. Could it be used to generate a sim for ground transport like trains? I don't know. The physics system would have to be different. And signalling would have to be modeled. None of that is trivial. it depends on how modular the new sim is, and if MS is even interested in extending it beyond their flightsim goals.

    Of course, MS did license the ESP engine to Lockheed-Martin for Prepar3d, and L-M does leverage it for some land and surface water / submarine sim capabilities. And charges a fairly steep price for it for government/professional use. I can only imagine that the new sim could make that look like a toy if it were truly modular / extensible.


    With Open Rails and ZDSimulator

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Wareham, Dorset, U.K.


    Impressive Eye Candy! Real World scenery really does enhance the sim for GA, Military and Bush Pilots but the Wannabe airline pilots will still be looking at clouds! The one thing that FSX had in common with MSTS is that the Trains/Aircraft were nearly all produced by third party publishers and they actually got better and better. I've FSX GA/Bush aircraft that look, sound and fly like the real thing. Only the smell was missing! Recently the 3D scenery for the UK has been completed but obviously that cannot compete with this. It would be great if the best of the FSX aircraft add-ons will work in the new sim. Some of the FSX add-ons I have made the stock 172 in the video look really unconvincing. No wear and tear, dents and scratches etc.

    I have to say I bailed out of FSX having spent a small fortune on add-ons. Why? Well frankly I thought it was beginning to effect my REAL life with the time I was spending on it.

    Watching the videos reminded me how easy it is to get hooked

    One thing immediately springs to mind. What kind of spec machine is REALLY going to be needed to use this? M$ always gave BS minimum specs for their Sims. They might have worked but only with so much detail turned off the software was rendered pointless.
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Brockville, ON, CA


    Just out of curiosity. Do aircraft from a few years ago that were made for MS Flight Sim work on later versions? While snooping around Nel's flightsim site I downloaded an L-19 an never got around to buying the flight sim from the same year (too busy making routes!). Flightsim 2020 looks pretty nice. Just wondering if the 2012 L-19 would work on it or not.

    Paul :-)

  9. #9


    MS probably needs to negotiate licenses with railroads and public carriers. Certain railroads aren’t too keen on sim players wrecking their trains.
    But perhaps MS has more leverage?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Swindon, England


    It would be nice if they revived the World Of Trains concept that MSTS 2 (2) was supposed to have been, but I'm not holding my breath.

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