A (Microsoft) Code Name a Day: Montauk

Montauk: The very tip of Long Island. And also the codename of a new commercial-simulation program under development by Microsoft, that will build on the Flight Simulator and Train Simulator gaming technologies.

I'm resuming my Microsoft Code Name a Day series that I started in December 2006. The goal: To provide the back story, each day in August, on one of Microsoft's myriad code names. Some of these code names might be familiar to Microsoft watchers; others (hopefully) will be brand-new.

Microsoft code names offer some great clues about the Redmondians’ development priorities, not to mention a better understanding of which future Microsoft products fit together, from a strategy standpoint. And not every product group is moving to boring, numbered codenames (like Windows 7 and Office 14).

Without further ado, let the codename games begin.

Microsoft code name of the day: Montauk

Microsoft code name of the day: Montauk

Best guess on what it is: A commercial simulation platform under development by Microsoft

Meaning/context of the code name: Montauk is a town on the south shore of Long Island, New York. Is the gaming group at Microsoft on a beach or lighthouse codename kick? Or maybe it's yet another instance of Microsoft moving to use place names as codenames for many of its future products.

Back story: Microsoft's Game Studios unit is taking core technologies from its Flight Simulator and Train Simulator products and is expanding them into a new simulation platform for business use, sources say. (The next version of Train Simulator game will be built on top of the Flight Simulator core, Microsoft has said.)

Microsoft's more detailed description: Commercial simulation is big business. Just ask the military, which is a prime customer. The transportation industry, too, is a potential buyer of this kind of platform.

Microsoft and other gaming vendors have all been looking at the potential of this space. From a report by market researchers at Frost & Sullivan:

"The gaming sector has come up with some remarkable developments in simulation graphics while reducing development and production costs. By incorporating these innovations into their systems, commercial and military flight simulators can deliver increasingly realistic and technologically advanced experiences. These devices can also be operated as stand-alone units or in conjunction with others in the vicinity or remotely situated.

"The flight simulator industry is interconnected with the aircraft manufacturing industry and simulator manufacturers have been working with specific aircraft manufacturers, and operating systems or component providers. 'However, being too specialized can hamper market growth and manufacturers that can provide interoperable and adaptable devices can succeed and expand market share,' concludes the analyst."

Additional info: I don't have any info yet on when Microsoft plans to field this platform. Anyone out there got more?

Got a Microsoft code name you’ve been wondering about? Send it my way and I’ll do my best to track down some leads on what it might be.

And if you want to keep track of the full month's worth of Microsoft code names I end up posting, bookmark this "Microsoft Codenames" page. You can also check out this video-whiteboard I did recently on Microsoft codenames.