Microsoft starts taking ‘Flight Simulator’ VR beta sign-ups

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The Daily Beast

Sen. Thom Tillis’ Opponent Confirms Extramarital Sexting

The U.S. Senate race in North Carolina has been thrown into turmoil: The incumbent, Thom Tillis, has COVID-19 and his opponent, Cal Cunningham, has been caught sending extramarital texts.The Democrat’s romantic messages to public relations strategist Arlene Guzman Todd were initially exposed by the National File, a right-wing website.But in a statement to the Raleigh News & Observer, Cunningham confirmed their accuracy.“I have hurt my family, disappointed my friends, and am deeply sorry. The first step in repairing those relationships is taking complete responsibility, which I do. I ask that my family’s privacy be respected in this personal matter,” he said.He also said he has no intention of dropping out of the race, where he has been leading Tillis in the polls.“I remain grateful and humbled by the ongoing support that North Carolinians have extended in this campaign, and in the remaining weeks before this election I will continue to work to earn the opportunity to fight for the people of our state,” he said.At Least 7 Who Attended Rose Garden Event Have COVIDMeanwhile, Tillis’ campaign has been upended by Friday night’s news that he has contracted the coronavirus. He is one of seven people who tested positive after attending last weekend’s Rose Garden ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. The others are President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former adviser Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the president of Notre Dame University, and a White House journalist.Cunningham said that because he recently shared a debate stage with Tillis, he planned to get tested for the virus, too.National File did not say how it obtained the text messages between Cunningham, a married father of two, and Guzman Todd, who is also married.By the standards of recent scandals, they

You can now sign up to test Microsoft Flight Simulator in VR

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The new Microsoft Flight Simulator is an immersive beast of a PC game, and we can only imagine how immersive it might get in VR — but you might not have to imagine much longer, because Microsoft has just opened signups (via Eurogamer) for a closed beta of the virtual reality experience.

There are quite a few requirements if you want to be considered, though. Not only do you have to own the game, have a Windows Mixed Reality headset, be a registered Microsoft Flight Simulator “Insider” and sign an NDA, you’ll need a slightly beefier PC than the base game — with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 or better sporting 8GB of VRAM, as well as 16GB of system memory.

And, you’ll need to prove your PC qualifies by submitting your DxDiag (press your Windows start button, type “dxdiag”, hit Enter) so Microsoft can confirm those specs and that your system isn’t prone to BSODs or other major system errors.

(The DxDiag file is basically just an inventory of your system, but it does also list recent application crashes.)

Intriguingly, it doesn’t look like you’ll need the HP Reverb G2, the specific headset that Microsoft originally said would get first dibs on the game. Any Windows Mixed Reality headset will apparently do to start, which should be neat for those who got deep discounts on items like the Lenovo Explorer and Samsung Odyssey over the past couple of years.

The company isn’t saying when the closed beta will begin, but it had previously promised a free VR update this fall, so it probably won’t be long. If you’ve got an Oculus, HTC, or other VR headset, there’ll be a second wave of closed beta for other devices as well.

It’s not surprising Microsoft might want to be cautious

Big scary chasm opens up in Microsoft Flight Simulator reboot

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(CNN) — Microsoft released its rebooted Flight Simulator program in August 2020, immediately wowing gamers with its hyper-realistic scenery, digitally distilled from satellite imagery.

The sim gives its users the ability to fly anywhere in the world, with our planet reconstructed with real-time weather conditions using Microsoft Bing mapping technology.

So it’s a little surprising that a huge terrifying abyss has opened up in the middle of Brazil.

Reddit user ReversedWindow appears to have been the first to report the freaky discovery and was brave enough to pilot an airplane down it.
Turns out it gets stranger: There’s a whole airport down there. The above YouTube video by Kwad Damage shows this remarkable journey to the center of the Earth, while the screengrab at the top is from PC Gamer’s Christopher Livingston’s adventure.

The airport in question is Lagoa Nova, which in the real world is a little airstrip in Rio Grande de Norte and not an actual hellmouth.

To get to the chasm in the sim, you just need to set Lagoa Nova as your destination.

PC Gamer magazine speculates that the glitch is most likely due to a typo and that the airfield’s elevation above sea level may be mis-entered in a spreadsheet somewhere.

It’s already been noted that the program has some quirky dimensions.

CNN Travel reported last month that if you chart a route over the North Pole, you can fly beyond the realm of Bing Maps.

“As we flew over the North Pole we were looking at different weird map structures that may have just been glitches or may have been the video game filling in, but we didn’t know where we were,” content creator and streaming host Bruce Greene told CNN.

It’s said that when Alexander the Great saw the breadth of his domain,

How ‘Microsoft Flight Simulator’ became a ‘living game’ with Azure AI

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After a bit of investigation, Neumann realized that Bing Maps’ data set essentially covered the entire planet. The only problem? It was all in 2D. After using some of that data to build a flyable 3D version of Seattle, Neumann turned to the Azure team to craft a machine learning method for converting the entire planet into a giant 3D model.

“AI has just tremendously grown in the last few years,” said Eric Boyd, CVP of Azure AI, in an interview. “It’s really driven by the massive amounts of data that are now available, combined with the massive amounts of compute that exist in the cloud … The results you can see are really pretty spectacular where you can come up with algorithms that now look at literally every square kilometer of the planet to identify the individual trees, grass and water, and then use that to build 3D models.”

Azure’s integration goes beyond the shape of the world. It also powers the flight controller voices using AI Speech Generation technology, which sound almost indistinguishable from humans. It’s so natural that many players may think Microsoft is relying solely on voice actors.

Since the company began exploring ways to bring Azure AI into the game in 2016, the capabilities of machine learning have also evolved dramatically, according to Boyd. ”The AI algorithm space has really grown in the last several years,” he said. “And so vision algorithms, which is what’s heavily used to identify all these different trees and buildings and classify them exactly, those have come a tremendous way.”

Since it leans so heavily on the cloud, Flight Simulator is a “living game” in the truest sense, Neumann said. All of the machine learning algorithms the game relies on will steadily improve over time, as the company irons out

Best HOTAS Flight Stick For Use With Star Wars Squadrons And Microsoft Flight Simulator

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The one-two punch of Star Wars: Squadrons and Microsoft Flight Simulator are making flight sticks a surprisingly hot market in 2020. HOTAS controllers on both PC and consoles are selling out, including the Thrustmaster Warthog stick-and-throttle combo. Some controllers are available through preorders or backorders, though, so if you’re okay with waiting for your new flight controller, that’s definitely a good option.

Thankfully, Star Wars Squadrons creative director Ian S. Frazier has said the Star Wars flight game should work with “any” HOTAS setup. However, it can still be hard to find a quality flight stick and even harder to find one that you can put your money down on. That’s why we’ve collected the best flight sticks you can order right now. We’ve also curated a selection of gaming headsets that feature excellent audio quality for better immersion as well as comfortable headbands and ear pads.

Also, if you’re planning on installing the game to your Xbox One, you may not have enough room. That’s where external hard drives come in handy, so check out our guide to the best external hard drives you can buy right now to make sure you have enough space for Microsoft Flight Simulator’s incredibly huge file size.

Note: The prices shown below indicate a product’s standard list price and may not reflect any current discounts or other fluctuations.

Flight sticks

There are many different options for flight sticks, and right now, Logitech’s popular X52 and X52 Pro models are available for back-order. These are most commonly seen in military aircraft as well as Airbus planes. Some sticks come with throttles as well, making for a more complete experience without the need to buy anything extra.