Flight Simulator is getting closer to official takeoff, with Microsoft to begin a public closed beta on July 30 according to the latest reports.
The announcement itself is coming directly from the latest developer blog by Microsoft, after Alpha 5 was sent out to Flight Simulator testers. It arrived with a new slew of Flight Simulator alpha invitations for previous registrants, so if you've registered for the alpha -- you might want to check your inbox.
Microsoft explains in the blog post: "We are currently scheduled to release Closed Beta on 07.30. As a reminder, if you are currently an Alpha tester, you will be automatically granted access to the Closed Beta. If you are not currently an Alpha tester, we will be sending out new invitations for Closed Beta participation".
More reading on Microsoft Flight Simulator
What you need to run it: You will need at least 150GB of storage space to install Flight Simulator, with a 5Mbps internet connection as a bare minimum to take off. The "ideal spec" advised by Microsoft requires a 50Mbps internet connection and a much higher-end CPU and GPU to run it. Check the PC requirements for Flight Simulator here.
Adaptive Streaming: This is some of the cloud-based magic Microsoft is using on Flight Simulator, which teh company is doing special with the game. You can read more about that here.
Flight Simulator uses Bing Maps: Microsoft is tapping its in-house Bing Maps to provide Flight Simulator with real-world locations that don't just look out-of-this-world, but they are our world. More on that here.
Real-time weather, including lightning cracking inside of clouds: Yeah, I'm not kidding around -- Microsoft is injecting a gigantic 600km draw distance into Flight Simulator, so under the right weather conditions -- and granted you have the PC hardware to handle it, you're going to see storms hundreds of miles away. Not just that, but there will be lightning cracking inside of the clouds... yeah, I know.
Feature Discovery Series on Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft has an awesome 'Feature Discovery Series' that goes into detail about Flight Simulator, from aerodynamics and the soundscape of the game, right through to the cockpits and the multiplayer. Check them out below: