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Why Microsoft is right company to make a next gen flight sim

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So after learning about BeyondATC's pricing model, and finding out that SayIntentions.ai is using ChatGPT as part of its algorithm (I'm not sure if BeyondATC is also using ChatGPT but I don't think so), I think Microsoft is the right company to make the next gen civilian flightsim.  A lot of people are not happy that BeyondATC is charging for premium voices (FYI, I listened to the sample of the free voice tier for BeyondATC and I personally found it acceptable since it's free). But the reason BeyondATC is charging "transmission time" to use premium voices is because BeyondATC is using a 3rd party AI service to generate the premium voices.

Unless your company owns this technology and has the full rights to use stuff like this, it can get expensive.  And BeyondATC does not own the technology for generating various voice accents with AI.  At the same time, if SayIntentions.ai is also using technology that they don't own from other 3rd party companies (ie. does it cost SayIntentions.ai to use ChatGPT?), I can see why the costs add up for Sayintentions.ai too.  And also consider that Microsoft is providing the satellite data and photogrammetry streaming as free of charge, because that probably has value as well (I made a thread about this before, some people were willing to pay $5 USD to $10 USD for the satellite & photogrammetry streaming, provided the data was also treated and massaged by Blackshark AI).

And having this AI technology, and having the satellite and photogrammetry data, is critical, IMO, to developing the next generation civilian flight simulator at a cheap cost to the consumer.  Keywords here are "cheap cost." Because you can be a much smaller company developing a civilian flight simulator that doesn't own any of this technology, but you can always get access to the aforementioned technology at a price - and that price may not be that cheap, as some people are complaining about the cost of BeyondATC premium voices.   So off the top of my head, I think there are maybe only a handful of companies in the world that could develop a next generation civilian flight simulator with all these technologies and provide it to the consumer at a cheap cost: Microsoft, Google, and perhaps Apple. I believe Microsoft, Google, and Apple have the technology and data that the next generation flight simulator require - they have the AI technology and also the satellite and photogrammetry data.  I think Amazon also has the AI technology, but I didn't list Amazon because I am not sure how advanced their satellite & photogrammetry division is, even though I see Amazon does offer satellite data services.  If there are other companies that you think have the AI technology and satellite and photogrammetry data, feel free to add to the list.

Anyways, I see that Microsoft does offer text to speech for various accents for their Azure services: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/ai-azure-ai-services-blog/introducing-more-multilingual-ai-voices-optimized-for/ba-p/4012832.  While Microsoft does not fully own OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, Microsoft does own 49% of OpenAI and has a position on OpenAI's board: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/nov/30/microsoft-join-openai-board-altman.  Now I haven't really read any news that Google and Apple are really considering developing AAA games.  I know that Amazon does have a gaming division.

But I am not sure if Google, Apple, or Amazon would really consider doing a AAA flight simulator like MSFS.  Google did make a very simple flight simulator, but that project never really went anywhere afterwards.  So this is why I think, we are lucky that Microsoft is making the next generation flight simulator for us.  Now will the MSFS team have advanced ATC like BeyondATC one day, with regional accents for the ATC controllers? I don't know if MSFS will ever have that, although some people are hoping they do for MSFS 2024.  All I can say is, if having advanced ATC with regional accents and providing this for cheap to the customer is possible, Microsoft is one of the few companies that can do it because they already own the technology, and they even have a 49% stake in ChatGPT.

And once again, I stress that a smaller company that does not own the technology, probably cannot offer all this technology for a very cheap price (as BeyondATC has shown).  So I am thankful that Microsoft is behind MSFS and I do hope that Microsoft continues to use AI to make MSFS 2024 (and MSFS 2028 if there is a version after MSFS 2024) better.  Already, the MSFS team is using AI to make the terrain much better and more detailed in MSFS 2024.  The next generation civilian flight simulator will require the use of AI to take flight simulation to the next level, and I think MSFS is well positioned to take advantage of AI because it is backed by Microsoft.

 

 

Edited by abrams_tank
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Er, ok. 

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Yes, Microsoft’s Stapler budget is larger than the GDP of several nations. More succinct?

🙂

Edited by cavaricooper
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I was under the impression MSFS2020 is the next gen flight Sim already, MSFS2024 is merely an improvement over the current one so there's no next gen anytime soon nor any need for it IMO.

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3 minutes ago, MarcG said:

I was under the impression MSFS2020 is the next gen flight Sim already, MSFS2024 is merely an improvement over the current one so there's no next gen anytime soon nor any need for it IMO.

I would say MSFS 2020 was the next generation flight simulator for what was possible in 2020? I don't know that MSFS 2020 is the next generation flight simulator for what is possible in 2024, especially with the advance in AI technology.

There wasn't a ChatGPT back in 2020. So what ATC AI can do today in 2024, is much more advanced than what it could do back in 2020.

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You won't get a next gen every time a new release comes out, the next sim is exactly what I said it's just an improvement over the current one. If it were next gen it would have  completely new graphical & physical engines which we all know it won't.

As for ATC mods then yeah AI is taking them next gen, that's a fair point, but whether we get that as default in MSFS2024 who knows but either way of it fits that still doesn't mean the whole sim will be next gen, just a small portion of it, next gen takes everything forward not a piece at a time.

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22 minutes ago, cavaricooper said:

Yes, Microsoft’s Stapler budget is larger than the GDP of several nations. More succinct?

🙂

Lockheed Martin overall has a huge budget. But as big as Lockheed Martin's budget is, I am not aware that Lockheed Martin has technology like ChatGPT that isn't classified and is usable by the public. And would Lockheed Martin be able to offer a flight simulator with all the latest technology and bells and whistles, at a cheap price for the average consumer? (actually, LM doesn't even target the home consumer market, so any flight simulator with all the bells and whistles using the latest AI technology would be way to expensive for the average consumer to use)

Edited by abrams_tank
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Of all the significant players out there with the budget/$, know-how and skilled workforce in modern/next-gen technology stacks like AI (particularly generative AI and LLMs), cloud tech and infrastructure, other services like Bing, etc.. only one company out of those also currently are in the business of entertainment/simulation software and that's MS 🙂 As they started to with MSFS 2020 and now pushing further ahead with MSFS 2024, I hope they continue to leverage all these tech stacks and infrastructure to the max for the benefit of MSFS, and hopefully also build out a common "twin earth simulation" platform to enable other simulations like trains, driving, etc.

As to whether MSFS 2024 is "next gen" enough compared to 2020, that's very subjective I suppose. But given all what we know about what's planned for 2024, especially around the core sim which Seb starts talking about here: https://youtu.be/VPhScg_FINE?t=508 

  • new aerodynamics/physics engine
  • new/re-architected thinner client
  • new graphics engine and terrain rendering with further use of AI for scenarios such as 2D->3D transformations and much more surface/ground details
  • activities/missions
  • performance improvements and reworked multi-threading
  • new/rewritten atmospheric engine
  • new/rewritten ground handling
  • new/improved systems electrical/hydraulic/pneumatic, failures/wear+tear systems, avionics already deeply simulated to be even further improved, etc
  • seasons, enhanced tree diversity, etc
  • new/better weather simulations such as storms & t-cells, tornadoes, etc
  • improved AI & live aircraft traffic, also worldwide ship/road traffic, etc


From these high level points and teasers, I'd say it's far more than incremental changes/improvements to v2020, but whether all these in totality classifies as "next gen" to v2020, who knows 🤷‍♂️
 

Edited by lwt1971
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28 minutes ago, lwt1971 said:

Of all the significant players out there with the budget/$, know-how, and skilled workforce in modern/next-gen technology stacks like AI (particularly generative AI and LLMs), cloud tech and infrastructure, other services like Bing, etc.. only one company out of those also currently are in the business of entertainment/simulation software and that's MS 🙂 As they started to with MSFS 2020 and now pushing further ahead with MSFS 2024, I hope they continue to leverage all these tech stacks and infrastructure to the max for the benefit of MSFS, and hopefully also build out a common "twin earth simulation" platform to enable other simulations like trains, driving, etc.

As to whether MSFS 2024 is "next gen" enough compared to 2020, that's very subjective I suppose. But given all what we know about what's planned for 2024, especially around the core sim which Seb starts talking about here: https://youtu.be/VPhScg_FINE?t=508 

  • new aerodynamics/physics engine
  • new/re-architected thinner client
  • new graphics engine and terrain rendering with further use of AI for scenarios such as 2D->3D transformations and much more surface/ground details
  • activities/missions
  • performance improvements and reworked multi-threading
  • new/rewritten atmospheric engine
  • new/rewritten ground handling
  • new/improved systems electrical/hydraulic/pneumatic, failures/wear+tear systems, avionics already deeply simulated to be even further improved, etc
  • seasons, enhanced tree diversity, etc
  • new/better weather simulations such as storms & t-cells, tornadoes, etc
  • improved AI & live aircraft traffic, also worldwide ship/road traffic, etc


From these high level points and teasers, I'd say it's far more than incremental changes/improvements to v2020, but whether all these in totality classifies as "next gen" to v2020, who knows 🤷‍♂️
 

Yup, absolutely agree. I am curious to see how detailed the ground is, after Jorg said they are using AI to make the ground much more detailed in MSFS 2024. If the ground is as detailed as say, Forza Horizon 5 for the entire world, then that would be a huge achievement with MSFS 2024 (I think the Forza Horizon 5 team was using some sort of special mapping technology to generate the terrain for their game and ironically, Forza Horizon 5 is also a Microsoft game).  I also wonder if there will be a revamped ATC, something like BeyondATC, for MSFS 2024.

If MSFS 2024 can have terrain that looks as detailed and good as Forza Horizon 5 for the entire world, that would be a huge, huge, achievement.  And if it had a new ATC system like BeyondATC, that would also be a huge achievement.  Just these two things put together, if the MSFS team could achieve this for MSFS 2024, would make MSFS 2024 a truly next generation flight simulator (which is amazing, considering that MSFS 2020 was already a next generation flight simulator when it came out in 2020).  Even if this cannot be achieved this year, I wouldn't be surprised if it can be achieved in a few more years, say around 2027, when perhaps MSFS 2028 may come out.

Edited by abrams_tank
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8 hours ago, abrams_tank said:

So after learning about BeyondATC's pricing model, and finding out that SayIntentions.ai is using ChatGPT as part of its algorithm (I'm not sure if BeyondATC is also using ChatGPT but I don't think so), I think Microsoft is the right company to make the next gen civilian flightsim.  A lot of people are not happy that BeyondATC is charging for premium voices (FYI, I listened to the sample of the free voice tier for BeyondATC and I personally found it acceptable since it's free). But the reason BeyondATC is charging "transmission time" to use premium voices is because BeyondATC is using a 3rd party AI service to generate the premium voices.

Unless your company owns this technology and has the full rights to use stuff like this, it can get expensive.  And BeyondATC does not own the technology for generating various voice accents with AI.  At the same time, if SayIntentions.ai is also using technology that they don't own from other 3rd party companies (ie. does it cost SayIntentions.ai to use ChatGPT?), I can see why the costs add up for Sayintentions.ai too.  And also consider that Microsoft is providing the satellite data and photogrammetry streaming as free of charge, because that probably has value as well (I made a thread about this before, some people were willing to pay $5 USD to $10 USD for the satellite & photogrammetry streaming, provided the data was also treated and massaged by Blackshark AI).

But I am not sure if Google, Apple, or Amazon would really consider doing a AAA flight simulator like MSFS.  Google did make a very simple flight simulator, but that project never really went anywhere afterwards.  So this is why I think, we are lucky that Microsoft is making the next generation flight simulator for us.  Now will the MSFS team have advanced ATC like BeyondATC one day, with regional accents for the ATC controllers? I don't know if MSFS will ever have that, although some people are hoping they do for MSFS 2024.  All I can say is, if having advanced ATC with regional accents and providing this for cheap to the customer is possible, Microsoft is one of the few companies that can do it because they already own the technology, and they even have a 49% stake in ChatGPT.

And once again, I stress that a smaller company that does not own the technology, probably cannot offer all this technology for a very cheap price (as BeyondATC has shown).  So I am thankful that Microsoft is behind MSFS and I do hope that Microsoft continues to use AI to make MSFS 2024 (and MSFS 2028 if there is a version after MSFS 2024) better.  Already, the MSFS team is using AI to make the terrain much better and more detailed in MSFS 2024.  The next generation civilian flight simulator will require the use of AI to take flight simulation to the next level, and I think MSFS is well positioned to take advantage of AI because it is backed by Microsoft.

 

 

Apple gets most of their "flight sim" related stuff from Google. Apple also stopped innovating a long time ago, turned themselves into a music and movie publisher, and then turned their back on their business customers by summarily ending their business services & product lines. So while they have metric tons of cash, they don't have the vision for new ventures (which is what you get with a guy like Cook).

Google's also highly focused on consumer entertainment like Apple, ad revenue, etc. And their biz services divisions are doing rather well, too. But they can't seem to find their a** with both hands when it comes to gaming, though they have all the other pieces/parts for flight sim, unlike Apple.

And Microsoft is SURELY billing Xbox & Asobo for ALL the services used by MSFS. There are still tremendous infrastructure costs and lots of salaries that don't work "at" MSFS, not to mention the still independent subcontractors like Blackshark AI, et al. I.e., in a company like MS, there is NO FREE LUNCH.

What makes Microsoft the "right" company is that they have an already well established AND successful gaming division (that heretofore had no interest in flight sim). That is, from FL30, more of a fortunate coincidence than anything.

Love what they're doing, but they have a looooooong history of screwing over their customers, vendors, partners, acquisitions, et al, as well as a string of unforced errors. All of which means we should enjoy what we're paying them for, but stop short of adulation.

 

 

Edited by UrgentSiesta
snips to shorten
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6 hours ago, lwt1971 said:

snipped


From these high level points and teasers, I'd say it's far more than incremental changes/improvements to v2020, but whether all these in totality classifies as "next gen" to v2020, who knows 🤷‍♂️
 

v2020 was, and remains, Next Gen. v2024 is a huge upgrade built on the next gen of v2020.

Kinda like Windows 11 is still NT at it's core 😉

Edited by UrgentSiesta

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The current advancement of flight simulators reminds me of the advancement of physics in the early twentieth century. Back then, a solitary individual (e.g., Einstein) -- or a small group working together (e.g., the Copenhagen School) -- could make revolutionary discoveries through pure genius and a pencil and paper. Billions of dollars were not required. Likewise, early flight simulators were the work of a relatively small, brilliant group of coders working on limited resources (e.g., Sublogic, LR). Considering these limited resources and technology of the time, their flight simulators were impressive.

Today, however, new discoveries in physics require equipment costing tens of billions of dollars (e.g., the CERN particle accelerator, the Webb Space Telescope). Likewise with flight simulation: Further advancement in flight simulation can only be achieved by companies with ten of billions of background assets for support and development (i.e., Microsoft).

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I am not certain what the objective of this discussion is all about (laud MS one more time?) but, there is one item that raises old boys eyebrows and sounds very unfair:

Where is Asobo mentioned  in your discussion and where is there any credit(s) for those who created the sim that we are using? Granted, MS is the financial and marketing strength that made this sim achievable, along with the Bing imagery (but we know of other equally good if not better data sources...).

MS hired Asobo, most likely, after intensively searching the market for a talented group of developers, and Asobo were chosen for a reason (actually many). So why not integrate into your brilliant demonstration some words of thanks to the people who for the past four years - and probably as many before the release -  developed and improved this superb technological undertaking that we all enjoy?

Yes, MS sells this product under its brand and financed research and pre-release expenses, and continues to do so today, but my old school of thoughts reminds me to give credit where credit is due.

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Please don’t quote someone’s post in its entirety when replying to them. If you want to respond to elements of one then highlight it and choose “Quote selection”.

Thanks!

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34 minutes ago, David Mills said:

Today, however, new discoveries in physics require equipment costing tens of billions of dollars (e.g., the CERN particle accelerator, the Webb Space Telescope). Likewise with flight simulation: Further advancement in flight simulation can only be achieved by companies with ten of billions of background assets for support and development (i.e., Microsoft).

Yes, very well said!  And you got to do it cheap too because the mass of people are expecting an entry price of ŕoughly $60 USD.

I honestly think there are oniy a handful of companies that have the technology (AI tech and satellite data & photogrammetry tech) that coule pull it off, mainly Microsoft, Google, Apple, and maybe Amazon.

Edited by abrams_tank
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