The Flight team has been releasing a number of teasers as ‘webisodes’. In the latest one (2 – Lift) we see some game play footage, which reveals some hints of what might be new features:
1. Scenery casts shadows on aircraft
As the biplane taxis, you can see the shadows from some piece of scenery playing across the top wing quite clearly (you’ll also notice the wheels on this model are not animated!)
2. Improved self-shadowing for aircraft
The resolution of the self-shadow maps is much increased, giving better soft-edged shadows.
3. Shadow maps rather than volumetric shadows for aircraft
Notice the shadow cast by the aircraft is made up of ‘blobs’ (much more obvious on the video, where you can see some artifacts of the technique). Together with 1 and 2 above, this points to them having redone a big chunk of the lighting model, which may give us improved frame rates.
4. Improved ground handling model
You’ll notice the plane is leaning to the right as it turns left – on the video it is quite clear that ground handling is much more realistic now, with the plane showing rotational inertia on the ground. In this shot you can also see HDR effects around the sky, so hoping they have fixed the performance issues with bloom effects.
5. Mesh (3D part) gauge elements
Rather than the old texture based VC gauge elements, the video shows only 3D gauge needles and other elements. This probably means that they are exposing custom part names for all this in the SDK. This will be a big relief to 3rd party modelers who up to now have been having to write custom scripts to do 3D gauges.
6. Integration with Games for Windows Live
The Live brand (bottom right) is applied by Microsoft to products that connect to the cloud in some way, so expect a heavy shift towards multiplayer stuff – probably including connecting with your xbox live friends lists.