Latest update to Flight Sim World throws us out into the cold & dark, and that's a GOOD thing

by: Dave -
More On: Flight Sim World

One of the modern hallmarks of a good flight simulator is, somewhat counter-intuitively, the ability to arrive at an airplane that doesn't already have the engine(s) running and all of the switches correctly positioned for flight. This is known in the real world as a "cold and dark" airplane.

The latest update to Dovetail's Flight Sim World provides exactly that. It may sound trivial to implement until you consider the number of switches, knobs, levers, and buttons that need to have additional code behind them. Many pieces of modern avionics have start-up splash screens too, so all of that needed to be modeled as well.

Cold and dark also presents a challenge to the pilot. These things have a proper order to be done in, and picking the correct control from the plethora of similar-looking things on the panel and often spread throughout the cockpit takes a lot of study and practice. Dovetail has addressed this issue by creating virtual checklists that visibly highlight the item that needs to be set or activated next. Once the pilot is comfortable with doing the process unassisted, the highlights can be turned off. Very cool.

There's one more significant change that's part and parcel with the cold & dark starts: no pilot wants to sit at the departure end of a runway starting his engines. Having to do so in a sim would entirely negate the boost in realism incumbent with all of the switchology, so they have also added the ability to spawn your flight on a taxiway, parking spot, or even a passenger gate if they ever add airliners.