Microsoft ESP

I know this is old new, and I guess you must have read about this multiple times already by now. But as I think it is still very interesting I am writing this blog post about ESP. ESP is a new simulation platform that Microsoft has recently announced and it is based on the same simulation engine as FSX. Or to quote the description from Microsoft themself: 

“Microsoft ESP is a
visual simulation platform that brings powerful, high-fidelity simulations to
widely available, low-cost Microsoft Windows®-based PCs. Organizations that
rely on Microsoft ESP can improve their workforce readiness more efficiently
and cost-effectively than with traditional computer-based animation or
simulation tools. Combined with its developer-friendly Software Development Kit
(SDK), Microsoft ESP provides government and commercial entities and modeling
and simulation specialists with an affordable, portable, and highly extensible
platform for training and learning, decision support, and research and
development modeling.

Simulations built on
Microsoft ESP can engage users in immersive experiences with very realistic
land, sea, and air environments—making them ideal tools for training. With a
high-speed Internet connection, up to 30 users, including students, instructors,
and support personnel, can participate simultaneously in Microsoft ESP
simulations from any location in the world. In addition, the platform’s
built-in analysis and full playback capabilities facilitate evaluations of crew
performance, mission planning, and decision-making.”

I find this a very interesting product, as the use of the FSX engine can also have great benefits for non-entertainment use. For example at work we sometimes already use FS2004 as a quick visual for our simulations, simply because it covers the entire world by default. That is not something that can be said about any image generator. This can save us a lot of time in having to design or update visual database to include a certain area. And also with the FS SDK tools it is possible to add new data faster to FS than for most other image generators. And another interesting reason to use FS is that because it has been designed for entertainment usage, the resulting graphical image is a lot better in general.

So the fact that Microsoft has now announced a professional version of FS sounds very interesting, given the benefits I mentioned above. I have also written before about my efforts to convert between FS and OpenFlight (the format used in most other image generators). Now with ESP I see a lot more connections between the FS and the “professional” world and I am certainly looking forward to explore those new options. So hopefully I can report some more interesting things later on.

11 thoughts on “Microsoft ESP

  1. I have mixed feelings about ESP I have to admit. It looks like a cool concept, but from some remarks from MS it seems like this is the same as FSX just with a commercial license. And since one needs to buy 5 licenses as a minimum it’s quite an investment for small companies.

    On the other hand I recently read that the ESP team is building a link to Virtual Earth, so maybe this is more than FSX in which case this could be exciting.

    I guess time will tell…

  2. I forgot to mention I saw ESP at the IITSEC convention this year and it looks GREAT! The scenery blows fs 2004 out of the water and like ARNO said, for a lab it’ll be great for recreating flying scenarios not to mention low cost flight sims. thanx

  3. The ESP website, that is linked from the blog post, has a section on how to buy it. It is done through the MS volume licensing program as far as I know.

  4. I try to get this informations since begin of December. If you have a look to the offered volume licensing program, you will find nothing…
    Even the product list does not contain anything about ESP.
    Therefore, if somone finds the way to buy, please make it public.

  5. Although the product was announced, I don’t think it was already available for purchase in December. I thought that should happen around new year, so maybe it is worth a try to look again.

    Else, try to send me an email. I can probably bring you in contact with someone at the ACES team who can help you further.

  6. Hey I managed to buy it
    I am from Germany and contacted the dealer and was able to purchase it. You should contact the authorzized dealers and tell them to look for it. They didnt even know it existed but now we ordered the SDK and client.

    Greetings

  7. Hi Arno,

    I think it is truthfully more than a new concept, it is a clever marketing idea. Now it looks like a professional think not only like a game. We are getting now based on Microsoft ESP request for our sim from the military too.

  8. Hi Arno and others!
    For those working with ESP already, I have the following question. Is ESP suitable for other simulation purposes than aviation? For example, I am looking for simulation software where (a) you can build up your own city, (b) simulate traffic, pedestrians (innercity), environment, economic flows (exchange of products and services between companies). Would ESP be the right platform for that? Thanks for your reaction!

  9. Hi,

    The current version of ESP can not simulate all those things you mention. It is quite a lot focused at aviation still, although you could also use it to visualize other things already.

    If you know FSX, than you have a good idea of what is contained in ESP as well at the moment. So you can make a city and with the living world features you can have traffic driving around. But economic flows and pedestrians (that behave a bit realistic) are a step to far at the moment I think.

    Future version of ESP should bring the simulation more to the ground level, so maybe than this will be possible as well.

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