Steve Lacey, my boss, mentor and the man at the core of Flight Simulator graphics is leaving the team to attempt his own long-due venture. Here is his post:

Well, the time has finally come for me to say adios to Microsoft and hit the startup road. This has nothing to do with Microsoft or the Flight Simulator team/product and everything to do with my insane desire to try something new.

In fact, this was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make - Microsoft and in particular the Flight Simulator team is a wonderful and stimulating place to work and it is hard to walk away from eleven years of history.

What have I worked on in that time? Well in summary, back in January 1995 I joined some friends at a small 3D graphics startup in London, UK. One month later we were acquired by Microsoft and shortly joined the fledgling DirectX (then Games SDK) team. Our product, Reality Lab, became the basis for Direct3D and shipped in June 1996 as the key feature for DirectX 2. After that I worked on DirectX 3, VRML, IE4, DirectX 5 in Windows Multimedia and then moved onto Chrome (who remembers that?) and DirectX 6.

In 1997 we relocated to Redmond.

In 1998 it was time for something different, and I led feature teams on Flight Simulator 2000, Combat Flight Simulator 2, Flight Simulator 2004 and FSX, found time along the way to run the development team at a new studio, work on a bunch of Xbox stuff, build a game engine and scriping engine/language completely from scratch and general get my fingers into a lot of incredibly interesting pies.

And now it’s time for something completely different.

For the Flight Simulator fans in the audience, let me tell you that the product is in a great place. It’ll ship on time and look astounding - I’ve made sure of that!

Anyhow, stay subscribed - my blogging will continue (does it ever stop?) and in fact I will continue to post about Flight Simulator as long as my value-add is still relevant (and the team puts up with me :-)

Although I can claim to be the first Flight Simulator Team blogger, I’m really happy that Mike, Jason, Adrian, Hal, Susan and others are now on board, and delivering a really compelling and insightful look into the world under the hood of Flight Simulator. The conversation rocks. Long may it continue.

That being said, no worries as most of the major graphical featuers for FSX are already in place and we have been preparing for his departure. By the way, I do promise to start posting more often on the graphical features of FSX.