Australia has finally been recreated in full on the new Microsoft Flight Simulator after the release of its latest update today.
The game was originally released back in August 2020, but Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge was omitted and much of the country bared little resemblance to real life.
The poor imitation was due to most of Australia being artificially recreated from Microsoft’s rival to Google Maps, Bing, rather than being designed from scratch.
Now, however, the developer behind the game has recruited Melbourne-based Orbx Simulation Systems to overhaul Australia.
Orbx previously released its own, independent update that recreated a number of Australian cities, and reinstated the Harbour Bridge.
The Great Barrier Reef and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park are among more than 94 custom-made points of interest recreated, alongside four handcrafted airports and a further 100 airports recreated in additional detail.
“It’s the biggest update we’ve ever done,” head of Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann told Australian Aviation.
“We could probably say that we have had 100 people working on this for a year.”
Neumann said in a press release the simulator update presents “enhanced” graphic improvements of “jaw-dropping natural formations and modern man-made wonders”.
The key changes of the Microsoft Flight Simulator’s World Update VII: Australia include:
- YLRE – Longreach
- YMBT – Mount Beauty
- YPBO – Paraburdoo
- YSHL – Shellharbour
- Southeastern Australia
- Sea to desert
- Great Barrier Reef
- Northwestern Kimberly Coast
- Landing Challenges
- Mt Hotham
- Discovery Flights
- Gold Coast
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
New photogrammetry cites, added in collaboration with Bing Maps:
Neumann said on top of creating all of the states, the company then researched famous locations and landmarks, “like what really means something to Australia”.
“So, we looked for things like observatories, things like large towers, sports stadiums, bridges … We got input from people in Australia to make sure that we’re actually capturing everything,” he said.
The company also focused on the history of aviation in Australia, which transpired into recreating the famous nonstop Southern Cross Fokker F.Viib-3m flight from the US to Australia, flown by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith in 1928.
“We let ourselves be inspired with how the country was really discovered from the AI, and so we made missions to recreate that,” Neumann said.
In the upcoming Australian Aviation print magazine, Bella Richards will discuss all the ins and outs of the new update, including how it was created, why it is important and what the future holds.
The new Microsoft Flight Simulator was released in August 2020 and received gushing reviews from some of the world’s most prestigious computer game websites and newspapers.
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”.
The Microsoft Flight Simulator is now available for Xbox Series X|S and PC with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, Windows 10/11 and Steam.