Flying doesn’t have to be a lonely pursuit. Microsoft Flight Simulator has all the tools to get the Spire Squad going, although it’s not so good about telling you precisely how you can do it. So here’s how you do it.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is built on the same back end Xbox networking that you’ll find in other Xbox games. So if you’ve played anything multiplayer over, say, Xbox Game Pass, then you’re off to a good start.
In the top-right of the main Microsoft Flight Simulator menu, you’ll find a sole icon with a tiny silhouette. This is basically your friends button, and it’s here you’ll be able to get multiplayer lobbies — or groups — together.
The usernames in this are based on whatever your Microsoft account is. Even if you bought Microsoft Flight Simulator through Steam, the game is still going through the Microsoft back-end and Xbox Live services, the same way the Master Chief Collection does.
There’s no user ID or separate identifier other than your account name, so once you and your S̬̦͗̀P̗̟͔̲͔̼̺̎̽͊͑̑͘͡Ȋ̘Ȓ̻͉̗̼̙͒͆̆̚͘ͅḘ̫̺̟͕͈̏̋̑̋͐͢͝͞ ̡̯͎̏͌͋Ẃ̧̜̠̣̲̺͙̗͚͐̐͐͋̾̓̔͝OR̥̮̝̣̘̠̻̆͗͋̐̀̀̕Ṡ̡̰͚͐̄H̡̘̠̜̩̠̻͓̯̀̄́̿̓͊͒͊̅̄̾͢͢͜͞I̤̲͈̪̹̮̒̄̔̒̏͐̏͜P̙̣̂͡P̨̮̮͚͈̈̌͂̓̍Ë̬̟͙͍̹̯̮̣̥̀̉̍́̂̐͘̕Ŗ̭͎̲͖̟̣͓͈̠͈̎́̏̀̃̽̀̓͑̒͗̉ͅS have gotten into the same group, you can start working out where to fly.
There’s a couple of things to note here. The party leader can’t set a flight path for everyone in the group, nor can they dictate what planes everyone can use.
Once you’re in a group, everyone in the group will be able to fly around with each other. But if you want to see all players flying around, or just those who are flying around with realistic settings plus those in your group, you can set that in the Flight Conditions tab:
If you just wanted to fly solo, but still see other players, then All Players or Live Players should be checked in the “Multiplayer” section.
From there, you can start flying! Everyone has to hit Fly individually, and everyone in the group pilots their own aircraft. There’s no collision in Microsoft Flight Simulator, so if you both try to take off from the same runway at once, your friend’s plane will phase out until you get a bit more distance.
But when you’re up in the air, you’ll be able to see your friends flying alongside. And if you have the requisite notifications enabled in options, it’ll let you keep track of them no matter what, even through the thickest fog:
There’s something fun about disabling the multiplayer notifications, too, and then just chatting over Discord and trying to work out where people are based off sight and navigation cues alone. But it doesn’t really matter how detailed or assisted you want the experience to be — it’s still a super chill way to hang out virtually.
Also, there’s the added bonus of the weather. Whoever is the group leader is effectively the “host” of the session, so they get to control the weather at any point during the flight. In the joyride I took with a friend above, I knew he was playing in a room with a TV and speakers — and, consequently, was not prepared for a beautifully orange, foggy morning to transition into a full blown thunderstorm. Then snow. Then rain. Then clear skies. Then a massive thunderstorm again. You can see what that looks like roughly below, in a clip from our Flight Simulator stream recently.
The party leader will be able to skip forward in the flight too, although you can only do that if you have a selected flight plan. The flight plan is basically the departure/arrival step you select in the menu before take off, although some planes will also have their internal dashboard that will let you add your own stops and waypoints into the flight plan as you go. Those flight plans can then be saved and exported as a small file, so you can share them online — or have a go at bush trips and journeys made by other pilots. It’s pretty neat.
So if you want to get your Flight Simulator squad to honour the spire, or maybe to do a bush trip or similar journey of your own, just follow the steps above. It’s also fun to just fly solo but keep an eye on other players as you’re flying, although in busy cities and airports the amount of HUD notifications can be a bit much.