An independent Australian developer is set to release an upgrade to Microsoft Flight Simulator that will replace 28,000 generic buildings in Sydney with more accurate versions – including the omitted Harbour Bridge.
Orbx’s update, Cityscape Sydney, will also recreate 100 points of interest including skyscrapers, sports stadiums and beaches in photorealistic detail.
In August, Australian Aviation revealed how the iconic bridge was omitted from the original version of the game and much of the NSW capital bared little resemblance to real life.
However, the computer giant has allowed third-party developers, such as Orbx Simulation Systems, permission to create and sell upgrades.
Cityscape Sydney, set to be released soon, showcases the city in eye-popping detail, including faithfully recreated versions of Bondi and Coogee beach; new versions of standout towers, residential blocks and commercial buildings; as well as new water colouring and detailing.
The developer has been able to make the huge improvements by drawing on information from 250 square kilometres of custom aerial imagery rather than the original Bing template.
You can view more screenshots on Orbx’s website, here.
The sim received gushing reviews from some of the world’s most prestigious computer game websites and newspapers, after its release in August.
Eurogamer rated the new version ‘Essential’ and said it was a “technical marvel” that demonstrated the “joys of flight”; IGN said it had “never seen anything close to this level of accuracy in a flight simulation before”; while The Guardian gave it five stars and said it “captures the wonder of flight, and the spiritual and emotional rush of seeing the world in a different way”.
Previously, Microsoft confirmed to Australian Aviation that the game allows players to take off and land at 613 airports in Australia and 37,000 globally.
It features a special “hand-crafted” replica of Sydney Airport, shown in a video below, including animated windsocks reacting to real-life weather; staff going about their work and accurate signs and taxiways.
Players can fly around this world in up to 30 aircraft ranging from the A320neo to a Cessna 152 and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. All feature accurate cockpits with realistic controls and instrumentation.
The sim comes in three versions, ranging from US$60–US$120, with the Deluxe and Premium editions including more planes and airports.