Interesting…as mentioned above an incredible read - great insights.
As the Mudspike staff curmudgeon…and seeing as how going into may 3rd week having to wear a C-colar and not being able to “fly” has made me extra grumpy…let be post a couple skeptical observations, that in no way disagree or argue with the other replies.
…many of the scenery areas boast a resolution of 3 centimeters per pixel, while the default in FSX was about 1 meter per pixel.
Throw in 1.5 trillion trees, individual blades of grass modeled in 3D, and a complete overhaul of lighting and shadows, and the result is an unprecedented level of detail …
Can you really tell the difference between 1 m and 3 cm form any altitude above about 1,000 ft to 2,000 ft AGL? Or put another way, at what altitude do you stop seeing two objects 3 cm apart as two objects and start seeing them as 1 object; then at what altitude do you stop seeing two objects 6 cm apart as two objects and start seeing them as 1 object; repeat until you get to 100 cm (1 m). From experience (not flying but something else - see “Spot Size” hidden section) that happens pretty fast even with a good, high fidelity monitor…in the current state of VR?
If I may, let me introduce the concept of “spot size”. No, this is not a laundry detergent thing. Spot Size is a concept used in photo reconnaissance and imagery interpretation. Essentially a spot size is the measure of resolution. It is the distance between two separate objects where, due to the resolution, they look the same; typically measured in inches or centimeters, feet, meters.
For example: If the visual difference between two variations of a class of armored vehicle is the placement of two exhaust ports–6 inches apart for vehicle variant A and 12 inches for vehicle variant B–then the spot size needed to determine which type of vehicle it is would be less than 12 inches…i.e. the resolution needed to see two distinct/separate objects (vent ports) on variant B as opposed to a single “blob” on variant A.
Different pieces of military hardware have different spot sizes for different purposes. If you just need to be able to determine aircraft type between transport and fighter, then your spot size is pretty big. Between Mig-21s and Mig-23s then your spot size is a bit smaller. However, if you need to be able to tell the differences between Mig-23 Es and Mig-23 Bs you have a much smaller spot size requirement. There used to be a big reference book of various military equipment and associated spot sizes for determine types, classes, versants, etc.
To achieve a desired spot size you have two main variables to work with: The focal length of your “camera” and the altitude of the aircraft. Some photo reconnaissance systems allow you to “swap out” lenses so you may have two or three focal Len Goths to work with. Other systems you only have one lens so you only have altitude.
There is an equation where you set spot size requited and focal length and kt will give you altitude in feet. Fortunately the Navy had little “Wiz Wheels” - circular slide rules - for figuring it all out…they probably stole them from the USAF but…anyway…
In the late 1980’s I worked in an F-14 squadron that flew the TARPS reconnaissance pod so I had some experience with determining minimum altitudes to get specific spot sizes. Even with a large format camera with a long focal length, getting a 3cm spot size would have driven the mission way down into the AAA treat…replace that with a monitor resolution and a Mark I Mod 0 human eyeball…I don’t have my Wiz Wheel but I’m thinking it is not that high…which is why I sort of roll my eyes when I see a 3 cm resolution touted as it is. Add in seeing individual blades of grass…which I can just barley do from my second story window (I just tried it)…you get the idea.
Microsoft is incorporating a legacy mode that it expects will provide near-complete backward compatibility, so those of us who have huge libraries of old favorites won’t be starting entirely from scratch.
OK…isn’t this one of the factors that killed the original MSFS line? The requirement to be backwards compatible with at least the last version meant they could not really change the engine?
Also missing from the build was ATC and AI traffic, …
…so essentially the same state as the current XP11.
Thanks to @PFunk for posting this. A very interesting piece!