11.8.2023 – 22:25z

Free Multiplayer Model Matching in MSFS is here from M3!

Multiplayer model matching is one of the most sought-after features that flyers in MSFS have been looking for. Here is a 3rd party solution from the developer, M3. They have a simple objective: “Eliminate or reduce the number of multiplayer generic aircraft you see in-game.” Multiplayer Model Matching (M3) is freeware and only available on flightsim.to.

What is Multiplayer Model Matching?

In Microsoft Flight Simulator, one of the most realism-busting scenarios is when other aircraft you see in the air do not look like the airplane they should be. In MSFS, if you don’t own the aircraft or you don’t own the livery of that airplane, MSFS will default to showing you a single-engine Bonanza airplane or an A330 airliner. This means a tall and mighty F4U Corsair trying to fly in formation off your wing will show up as a Bonanza and take all the fun out of it. Or a multiplayer flyer is approaching the aircraft carrier in an F15 Eagle military jet, and it looks like an airliner trying to do a short-field landing on that small runway.

This solution can reduce or eliminate frustration for the home flight sim pilot. Remember that individual add-ons like this can only be used on PC installations, not Xbox. Until Microsoft/Asobo find a solution for the whole simming community, the millions of Xbox flyers in MSFS will be shut out. 

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This is also frustrating for MSFS Twitch streamers, who have bought all the aircraft so their viewers will see them as they should be. This is a costly solution that individual flyers will not do. You shouldn’t have to buy aircraft for the sim that you will never fly just to be able to see them correctly. Furthermore, filling your community folder with a ton of airplanes and an ever-growing list of liveries for each plane slows your sim load-up time considerably. This is undesirable on a performance basis to see other airplanes correctly.

M3’s solution is to match the models of other people’s aircraft to those you have installed. This process is a manual one, and you will find yourself spending considerable time “matching” all source aircraft that have been made for the sim with the target aircraft that you have already. After this configuration, you drop the generated package into your Community folder for a better multiplayer experience in MSFS.

How Hard is This Process?

First, you download the free M3 app from flightsim.to and unzip it. There are then three easy steps that anyone can manage: 

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  1. Install and launch the M3 app.
  2. Perform aircraft model matching (time intensive)
  3. Generate the “Package” for installation into your Community folder. 

As more aircraft are added to MSFS, you can add them to your model-matching package. Then re-install the package in your community folder. As M3 quotes in their user manual, “Less than 50% of the aircraft models in MSFS use an official ICAO designator, so it’s no wonder why so many generic aircraft appear in the simulator. M3 attempts to address this issue.”

To understand how that process works with this utility from M3, reading the manual helps us learn what a livery and an ICAO aircraft designator are. Understanding these two elements is vital to model matching and using their utility to reduce or eliminate generic aircraft showing up in multiplayer. The manual contains all the necessary steps and has a “Tips and Tricks” section for summary help.

Now this utility will be highly desired for all PC MSFS flyers for two reasons: 

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  1. If a tail-dragger is within sighting distance in the sim, and you don’t have that aircraft, it will appear as your model-matched airplane. 
  2. If you have the aircraft, but you don’t have the livery (paint scheme), it will still show up as that airplane (instead of a generic bonanza)

The second part is even more critical to sim flyers because you own the aircraft. Still, you can’t own every available livery, including all the custom liveries users have made. This utility shines again in this configuration. 

M3 should solve 90% of the generic multiplayer aircraft seen while flying in MSFS. The remaining 10% is likely due to other MSFS multiplayer issues such as FSX ported airplanes, user internet connectivity, M3 not configured correctly, or MSFS not prioritizing livery matching over ICAO matching. 

f99mul, an MSFS flyer, says, “The best add-on of 2023!!! Game Changer!! Love it!!”

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Andrewj, a co-host on a Twitch channel, says, “I am using M3 to model match all possible helicopters to a stock Bell 407 or a Cabri. I no longer have hovering bonanzas!”

AceOfSpades, a solo airshow performer in MSFS says, “We could have an M3 folder that changes all airliners to a small GA plane for those times we are performing and want to reduce the clutter of airliners all around us, then use a different M3 folder when we want to see those airliners flying along with us.”

Imagine the new sim flyer in MSFS who hasn’t bought a bunch of airplanes yet, steps up and joins a group flying session in a Twitch stream. As they assemble at the airport and take off to explore the world, generic bonanzas are swarming all around him. He would have to buy a lot of aircraft and download a lot of liveries to see them all more accurately and make them more realistic. M3 will solve all that going forward with this free model matching utility. You can watch the YouTube trailer for the utility here.

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Model matching is a function that MSFS sim flyers have been requesting since MSFS was introduced in 2020. Microsoft may solve model-matching in the new MSFS 2024 next year. Still, this solution will resonate well with the current sim community, and we can all see planes in the sky as they should be without buying every aircraft available and without trying to own every livery available for the sim. Realism just soared to a new level. 

FSNews recently reported on worldwide scenery fixes for MSFS in this article. Now M3 is addressing the second-biggest request for MSFS, model matching and it will be interesting to hear the reaction from the millions of flyers in MSFS.

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