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Highmike

A Tribute to Greatness

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In the aftermath of the sad news that most of the ACES team has been fired, and while it remains unclear what the future holds for the FS franchise, I'd just like to express my gratitude to the team but also to Microsoft for providing us with such a comprehensive simulation of the world we live in, and the aircraft we love to fly.FSX is not just an aircraft simulation. It is also a world simulation which may explain why Microsoft had such high hopes for the future development of ESP, their Enterprise Simulation Platform. It is the model of our world which really impresses me about FSX and which I feel deserves recognition.Before the release of FSX in '06 I was feeling vaguely disappointed with FS9. The world we had to fly in was virtually deserted, and flying in it felt kinda lonely. I live in Australia and I never used to fly around my home in FS9 because when I looked out the window what I saw looked nothing like the landscape with which I was familiar, so I concentrated on improving my flight skills and forgot about what was going on outside. I used to fly around the US mostly because I had no idea what to expect from this country, and I was less likely to be disappointed.But all this has changed with the advent of FSX. Now I can't stop flying around the country I know so well. I can look out the window and say "Oh look, there's the hill behind my place," or I can follow a road and know that before too long I will come to the town I used to live in. I don't want to fly anywhere else now because I don't know what to expect, and I feel overwhelmed by so much which is unfamiliar.FSX is ground breaking, not only because of the huge improvement in features such as VCs, terrain tiles and specular mapping. It is ground breaking because it models the world we love in such detail. It allows us to remember places we've left behind us, and it allows us to dream of places we've never been to. Good luck and thanks to the team as they re-organise their lives and make plans for the future. But good luck to Microsoft also. It can't be easy steering a monumental corporate vessel, and we should be grateful that they've been able to bring us this far. I hope they won't forget about us because world simulation has a future. The world we love is vast and unknowable, and every excursion into our beloved model of it is an adventure to remember.

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