Update: Changed the title a little to better reflect the article.
Without delving into speculation too much, we’re fairly confident official information from Lockheed Martin is just days away. We’re reported on rumours, facts, insider knowledge and even some accidental leaks over the past few months – giving as much information as we can to you from Lockheed Martin’s worst kept secret. But what should simmers expect when the announcement is made? I’m hoping to set some expectations here based on my knowledge, some fact-finding and other key pieces of information from various developers and resources around the web.
I would also like to point out, this article is based purely on the speculation of a 64-bit platform. If you don’t believe this will be the case for the next sim, I suggest you close the article now.
There, with that out of the way, let’s continue.
So 64-bit is certainly a bit of a marketing buzz-word for the flight sim community right now. X-Plane has been in the 64-bit era for some time now, and Dovetail have released their full-fledged sim, Flight Sim World, with a heavy emphasis on the fact it’s using 64-bit architecture. But what is 64-bit and why does the flight sim community care so much?
In the simplest of terms, a 64-bit application can use much more memory allocation than a 32-bit program can. In fact, 64-bit applications can in theory use 16 exabytes, which completely destroys the 4gb limit of a 32-bit piece of software. Of course, this is also limited by physical memory available. So if you have 16gb of RAM, your application won’t be able to exceed this limit. So yes, you would have “unlimited” memory space available, you’ll all always be limited by your hardware. Additionally, if a developer doesn’t optimise their software or has bugs which leads to memory leakage, then you’ll still eventually hit your “OOM” limit.
64-bit won’t fix all OOM issues, but it will certainly give a LOT more breathing space than a 32-bit program will.