Flight School – Dovetail Games Interview
GlitchFreeGaming were able to speak with Stephen Hood, Creative Director at Dovetail Games, about their announcement of Flight Simulator and the upcoming release of Flight School.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions Stephen, It’s an exciting time for Dovetail Games and flight sim fans alike. As mentioned in our previous article about the announcement of two titles coming from Dovetail Games this year, what’s the general buzz about these titles within Dovetail Games, and how does it feel developing your own take on this niche genre after taking on the rights to Microsoft’s Flight Sim?
It’s both incredibly exciting and somewhat frightening! We’re entering what is, for us, a new space and we want to do the existing community proud. At the same time we’re setting out to encourage more people to try flight simulation. It’s become relatively niche, but when you realise how much enjoyment there is to be had in the world of flight simulation it’s bizarre that so few people are aware of it these days. Our goal is to change that.
With this niche in mind, what kind of style will we see Flight School taking? Will there be a sense of reminiscence with a progressive difficulty style found in the tutorial missions within Microsoft Flight Sim X?
Our aim with Flight School is to create an experience that makes flight simming accessible to anyone who wants to try it. We recommend new pilots start off with the LAPL lessons at White Waltham. These lessons teach the very basics of flying such as taking off and landing.
After you master the LAPL curriculum, head off to Prescott Arizona for your PPL training, which is more advanced and provides more situation-based challenges.
Paul Jackson mentions in the previous article also that Flight School will be realistic, yet accessible to those who have never touched a flight sim before, how does it feel tackling this challenge head on?
Easing those new to the world of aviation into a fully-fledged flight simulation is a real challenge. It’s very easy to confuse newcomers to this space and so we’ve often had to retrace our steps in order to break down what it means to be a student pilot, and finding ways to help those new to flight simulation into the cockpit. It’s not about just taking control of an aircraft, it’s about knowing what you are doing with it and why.
What aircraft will we be looking forward to seeing, and will there be a level of interactivity with the cockpit themselves? Perhaps fully clickable controls?
The two aircraft offered in Flight School, the Piper Super Cub and the Piper Cherokee, are commonly found in flight schools around the world. These training aircraft are great for first time flyers, while also providing different enough experiences from each other to be interesting in their own right.
All of the controls, which are necessary for completing the lessons and missions, will be interactive.
With flight sims generally, at least for myself, it’s about exploration of not just the aircraft themselves, but the areas we can fly within and reaching out to the big blue, what kinds of locations can we explore in Flight School?
The main locations, White Waltham in the UK and Prescott Arizona in the US, are linked to the two aircraft and act as the base of operations for the flight lessons offered in Flight School. The whole world, including over 24,000 airports, is also available to explore in Free Flight mode.
With graphic capability having improved to the level they are now since the release of Flight Sim X, can we expect to see higher detailed plane models within Flight School?
Yes. These aircraft are highly detailed, using the latest in high dynamic range rendering (HDR), atmospheric light scattering and physically based rendering (PBR) technologies, which makes for an accurate and lifelike simulation experience. It’s important to feel as though you are flying an aircraft.
The recent Euro Fishing was made with the Unreal Engine, and it’s been announced that the next Train Simulator will have moved over to Unreal also. Has the Unreal Engine become Dovetail Games’ engine of choice, and has Flight School been developed in it also?
No, Dovetail Games Flight School uses an updated version of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X engine. We are building out from the foundations of FSX’s original flight sim technology, because FSX was the last simulator from Microsoft that had many of the components we feel are fundamental, for example, radio, ATC, and the entire world to explore.
2016 is the year of VR with Oculus and HTC Vive headsets making their way to consumers as we speak. Will Flight School and Flight Simulator have VR support?
Flight School will not have VR support, however we are exploring several possibilities, which would see Dovetail Games Flight Simulator brought into that space.
Finally, how soon can we get our hands on Flight School, and just why should we be excited for its release? From your own personal view, what’s making you excited about the release of this sim?
I’m excited about us all, Dovetail Games and the community, taking this first step in building a new Flight Simulation experience. We’ve been hard at work bringing the genre up to speed and the concepts utilised in this first release will provide the foundations for what we do in the near future. Flying has very quickly become something I’ve fallen in love with. Hopefully we’ll get a few more people immersed in the world of flight simulation once Flight School is out.
Dovetail Games Flight School will be released on 24th May, and is currently available for pre-order on Steam.
GlitchFreeGaming thanks Stephen for answering our questions. Look out for our preview of Flight School on the site in the next few days.