2020 has been a year full of unwelcome surprises with home confinements being the number (at least for us). Many are trying to cope up with cabin-fever by looking for all the ways they can get past these difficult times. Fortunately, some of us just got an ideal escape.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 – New Doorway to the Sky
With Microsoft’s new virtual doorway to the skies, you can now fly from home to any place you desire in the world. Microsoft flight simulator 2020 is the ultimate dream come true for those who have a passion for flying planes and touch the heights of skies reaching out for new purview’s. Here is our experience escapade with the latest pilot-role video game.
The famous flight simulator is back with its first major update since 2006. This time they promised you can fly anywhere because they have modeled the entire planet. That is not an easy task. So, I spent our weekend exploring the world finding big landmarks to see what they look like from the skies.
As I zipped past by Eifel Tower, Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, and Statue of Liberty fast and close in a tiny plane that I could really never do in real life, it felt surreal and a great way to take in the beautiful sights. But the question remained twitching in our heads, how did they pull it off?
After all, the time and energy it will take to precisely sketch every single landmark in every nook and cranny of the Earth seem nearly impossible. Ill, thanks to the power of artificial intelligence and connectivity of the world. The majority of the work is done by machine learning incorporated in the game with AI drawing most of the planet from satellite photos.
The developers also gave it a helping hand by defining locations of the airports and runways. However, it was all AI processing that figures out where all the trees, roads, and buildings are, that two in 3D on top of flat images. This is what makes the virtual world look like the real one.
Like most people who have played the game, the first thing I did when I pressed the start button was to fly over my hometown just like I would be coming back for a holiday and it looks great! It looks exactly like when I’m on a real plane going home. Still, like everything else, the game is not perfect.
During my aerial visit to London, AI would put a lot of bridges under the river and although the bird’s eye view is satellite accurate, sometimes it has to guess at the building textures. To be fair, the buildings are supposed to be seen thousands of feet in the air so I will let my OCD for tiny details in videogames slip away for once. Some landmarks are completely missing as well, like the Gherkin Tower in London. But there is a marketplace for third-party developers to sell the extra building for a few pounds.
Fly anywhere in the World:
Now, Microsoft says you can fly anywhere in the world, so I had to go look for some places that you just might never be able to see in real life. My spirit of inquiry took me to North Korea, where I found nothing much except a detailed model of a stadium.
I also flew over Area 51 and sorry to disappoint, but there were no aliens or UFO’s facing cruel human experiments and the friendly air traffic control was much nicer than they would be in actual.
In all fairness, this game is an acquired taste. It is not for everyone. The first hour or two you will only spend on learning how to fly a plane. You can fail these training missions and that can be frustrating at times. But the first time you finally land your tiny two-seater successfully without booming into a patch of grass of the airport lounge, it feels genuinely rewarding.
It actually gives you a sense of achievement that maybe you can now even do this in real life (God forbid the opportunity). Once you are done learning how to fly a plane like a trained pilot, there no other goal really. You just select a destination, hop on the plane, and fly.
This is pretty much what the game is all about. There are some challenges you can do like landing at famous airports successfully and unfriendly landing conditions but generally, this game is just about taking to the skies and relaxing as you explore breath-taking horizons.
Also, keep in mind that enjoying this game at its full potential can be an expensive hobby. My PC can run most things fine but it is struggling a bit with simulating some cities. You can run it at low-end hardware but it will not look as pretty as it does on its maximized graphics setting glory.
Microsoft is also working on an Xbox version of the game if you don’t have a high-end PC. The size of the game is 100 GB and it does not even include everything. It streams the city data from the cloud so you need a pretty good internet connection to make it possible. So, if you have the required hardware and a good internet connection, the world is all yours to explore.