Microsoft announced plans for a new visual-simulation platform, Microsoft ESP, which will be available next month. ESP enables the use of visual simulation for immersive learning and decision-making and supports PC-based commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software. The initial version of the platform focuses on Microsoft's aviation capabilities and is targeted to military and commercial aviation audiences. Future versions of ESP will expand beyond aviation into ground and maritime operations, indoor and avatar-centric simulations for commercial, government and academic learning opportunities. As a platform technology, ESP provides a PC-based simulation engine, a comprehensive set of tools, applications programming interfaces, documentation to support code development, content integration and scenario-building capabilities, along with an extensive base of world content that can be tailored for custom solutions. Partners and developers can add structured experiences or missions, content such as terrain and scenery, scenarios, and hardware devices to augment existing solutions, or they can build and deploy new solutions that address the mission-critical requirements of their customers. Microsoft ESP
includes geographical, cultural, environmental and rich scenery data along with tools for placing objects, scenery and terrain customization, object activation, special effects, and environmental controls including adjustable weather. Realistic land, sea and air environments enable fully immersive experiences that can be used for flight training and rehearsal; preparedness and decision-making; and research and development modeling. Client licenses for Microsoft ESP 1.0 will have an estimated list price of $799 per machine, and the Microsoft ESP software development kit will have an estimated list price of $99.