The developer revealed it has chosen 80 airports, based on the most played and busiest ones, which will be given “extra attention”. They’ll be more realistic than others thanks to more detailed signage and surface definition, it said.
Finally, the developer defined a “top level category” containing an unknown number of “iconic” airports. These airports have been given unique buildings, props and terrain.
Environments in the new Flight Simulator use textures and topographical data from Bing Maps, as well as 3D world features such as terrain and buildings generated using Microsoft’s Azure cloud tech.
Explaining its approach to building airports, lead game designer Sven Mestas said:
“In order to reach a new level of reality in flight simulation, we needed a new approach. That’s why we decided to innovate by editing airports from real satellite pictures.
“This technique involves editing each airport manually, which means particular attention to detail has been given to every single one of them, to bring them a step closer to reality.”
The airport mapping process involves tracing elements using the Bing Maps aerial, Mestas said. The developer then marks important elements such as taxiways and parking spots, before defining surfaces like grass and concrete.
“This work has never been done at this scale and that’s why we needed to build a specific tool for developers to handle airport editing.”
Flight Simulator 2020 airports
Microsoft Flight Simulator is set to release on PC and Xbox One this year.
Microsoft has claimed that the game’s terrain is so accurate that players can apply Visual Flight Rules to navigate using known roads, rivers and lakes.
It’s claimed that the game’s machine learning tech will detect elements like the location of trees in the world, add missing buildings and account for rooftop colour, all by examining data from Bing and streaming the data in real-time into the game.
Microsoft has said the feature will adapt to the player’s available bandwidth, so those with a fast internet connection will stream data and update much faster and closer to real-time.