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We already knew based on what we'd seen so far that Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is going to be a game that really wows with its attention to detail. Unveiled at E3 last year, the flight sim looks set to be the definitive virtual plane-flying experience: a gorgeous, almost unbelievably realistic-looking game that promises players the chance to fly "anywhere on the planet".
If I'm being honest, I've never cared about flight sims - they're just not my cup of tea at all. But with that said, it's hard not to look at the amount of work developer Asobo Studios has put into this miracle of aviation and get excited. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 could well be the game that gets my blood pumping when it comes to virtual flying, and that's something I never thought I'd say.
In an exciting new development, Asobo recently shared a new video in which it said the game would feature "all the airports on Earth," including an incredible 37,000 airports that have been manually edited by the studio. Of those 37,000, 80 of the most-frequented and busiest airports on the planet will will be given extra attention to detail. Asobo explained that this extra layer of realism would extend to things like surface definition and more detailed signs around the airports, so that's pretty cool.
There's also a "top level category" which will feature some of the most "iconic" airports in the world, whatever that means. These airports have been given unique buildings, props and terrain, and will essentially look almost exactly like their real-life counterparts. Somehow I don't think East Midlands Airport - my nearest - will be making this category. A shame. It has a nice bar and a Greggs.
Lead game designer Sven Mestas explained how the team was making use of textures and topographical data from Bing Maps, as well as Microsoft's Azure cloud tech to generate terrain and buildings.
"In order to reach a new level of reality in flight simulation, we needed a new approach," he said. "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."
To be perfectly clear, I do hate airports with every fibre of my being. I quite like flying, and I obviously love me a holiday... but I think airports are - by and large - soulless hellholes where you're forced to wait around and drink endless pints just to feel something. Still, the promise of every airport in the world is awesome, and just another reminder of the amount of work Asobo has put into making Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 a thoroughly realistic experience.
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