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X-Plane 12 Beta: Experience the Most Realistic Flight Simulator Ever


X-Plane 12 vs Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020: Which One Should You Choose?




If you are a fan of flight simulation, you might be wondering which one of the latest releases from the two leading developers is the best choice for you. X-Plane 12 and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 are both impressive simulators that offer realistic and immersive experiences for virtual pilots. But how do they compare in terms of features, performance, graphics, aircraft, weather, add-ons, multiplayer, and pricing? In this article, we will provide a detailed comparison of these two simulators and help you decide which one suits your needs and preferences better.


Introduction




What are X-Plane 12 and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020?




X-Plane 12 is the latest version of the flight simulator from Laminar Research, a company that has been developing flight simulation software since 1995. X-Plane 12 features new graphical upgrades, brand-new included aircraft, a "4D" weather engine, seasons, and more. It is currently in Early Access, which means it is still undergoing development and testing. The latest beta version is 12.00b5, which was released on September 30, 2022.




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Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is the newest installment of the long-running flight simulator series from Microsoft, which dates back to 1982. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 boasts stunning visuals, realistic physics, dynamic weather, live traffic, and a huge variety of aircraft and locations. It was released on August 18, 2020 for Windows PC and on July 27, 2021 for Xbox Series X/S.


Why compare them?




Both X-Plane 12 and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 are popular choices among flight simulation enthusiasts, as they offer different strengths and weaknesses. Some users may prefer one over the other based on their personal preferences, expectations, and goals. Comparing them can help you understand the pros and cons of each simulator and make an informed decision based on your own criteria.


Features and Performance




Graphics and Scenery




X-Plane 12




X-Plane 12 has made significant improvements in its graphics engine compared to its previous versions. It uses Vulkan and Metal APIs to enhance rendering efficiency and optimize resource utilization. It also features HDR lighting through its new photometric engine, which calculates light brightness, intensity, spread, and more in real time with the laws of physics. Additionally, it has a revamped water system that includes waves in 3D, seasonal effects that change tree color and leaf coverage as well as snow accumulation, variable vegetation and water colors based on geography, and improved forests with different species, sizes, and wind effects.


Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020




Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is widely praised for its stunning graphics and scenery, which are powered by an overhauled graphics engine that leverages DirectX 12 (DX12). This technology allows for more efficient CPU and GPU usage, ensuring that the simulator can deliver high-quality visuals while maintaining optimal FPS. Moreover, the simulator uses Azure AI to intelligently optimize the use of system resources in real time, depending on the user's settings and location. Furthermore, the simulator uses Bing Maps data to create photorealistic landscapes and cities, covering the entire world with high-resolution satellite imagery, 3D buildings, bridges, landmarks, and more. The simulator also supports ray tracing, which adds realistic reflections, shadows, and lighting effects to the environment.


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As a result of these technologies, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 offers a breathtaking visual experience that is unmatched by any other flight simulator. However, this also comes at a cost of high system requirements and potential performance issues, especially for lower-end PCs or consoles. Some users may also experience glitches, bugs, or inaccuracies in the scenery due to the limitations of the data sources or the AI algorithms.


Aircraft and Flight Model




X-Plane 12




X-Plane 12 is known for its realistic and accurate flight model, which is based on a system called "blade element theory". This system simulates the airflow over each part of the aircraft and calculates the forces and moments that affect its motion. This means that the simulator can model any type of aircraft, from gliders to helicopters to rockets, and account for their aerodynamic properties and behaviors. X-Plane 12 also supports VR (virtual reality) devices, which can enhance the immersion and realism of flying.


X-Plane 12 comes with 25 default aircraft, ranging from light planes to airliners to military jets. Some of these aircraft are new additions to the simulator, such as the Boeing 737 MAX 8, the Airbus A220-300, the Cirrus Vision Jet SF50, and the Bell 206 JetRanger helicopter. The default aircraft are generally well-designed and detailed, but some users may find them lacking in features or functionality compared to third-party add-ons. X-Plane 12 also has a large and active community of developers and users who create and share thousands of free or paid add-ons for various aircraft, liveries, panels, sounds, and more.


Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020




Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 also has a realistic and accurate flight model, which is based on a system called "finite element analysis". This system divides the aircraft into small elements and calculates the forces and moments that affect each element. This allows the simulator to model complex aerodynamics and physics, such as stall, spin, wake turbulence, ground effect, and more. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 also supports VR devices, as well as TrackIR (head tracking) devices.


Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 comes with 30 default aircraft (20 for the Standard Edition, 25 for the Deluxe Edition, and 30 for the Premium Deluxe Edition), covering various categories such as general aviation, commercial aviation, business jets, vintage planes, and military planes. Some of these aircraft are iconic models such as the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, the Airbus A320neo, and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. The default aircraft are generally high-quality and detailed, but some users may find them inconsistent or incomplete in terms of features or functionality. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 also has a growing number of third-party add-ons for various aircraft, liveries, panels, sounds, and more. However, some of these add-ons may not be compatible with the latest updates or patches of the simulator.


Weather and Atmosphere




X-Plane 12




X-Plane 12 has a new weather engine that is designed to create realistic and dynamic weather conditions. The weather engine uses a "4D" system that simulates the weather at different altitudes, locations, times, and seasons. It also uses real-world data from sources such as METAR (meteorological aerodrome reports), NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and NEXRAD (Next-Generation Radar) to generate accurate and up-to-date weather information. The weather engine can produce various effects such as clouds, fog, rain, snow, thunderstorms, wind, turbulence, icing, and more.


X-Plane 12 also has a new atmosphere model that improves the appearance and behavior of the sky and the horizon. The atmosphere model uses a "physically based rendering" (PBR) technique that calculates how light interacts with the air molecules and particles in the atmosphere. This results in realistic colors, gradients, scattering, and refraction of the sky and the sun. The atmosphere model also supports celestial bodies such as the moon and the stars, as well as eclipses and other phenomena.


Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020




Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 also has a new weather engine that creates realistic and dynamic weather conditions. The weather engine uses real-world data from sources such as METEOBLUE (a Swiss company that provides global weather data) and FlightAware (a flight tracking service) to generate accurate and up-to-date weather information. The weather engine can produce various effects such as clouds, fog, rain, snow, thu


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