Give 'Microsoft Flight Simulator' Time, It's Trying to Give You the World

For those wondering how the buildings are generated, as a GIS person to me it looks like there are at least four different approaches - For areas like GoldenJoel’s apartment it looks like the building models are being generated by photogrammetry from low to medium altitude aerial imagery. You can tell this is probably the approach they used if the buildings look a little blobby but have accurate textures. This technique requires a lot of overlapping images of an area though, so might not work for areas where all they have is satellite, or high altitude aerial, imagery. For places like North Korea, where the imagery quality is probably lower, they might be using an AI based technique to recognize buildings and then generate them procedurally. This looks like what they are using for the trees too.

Photogrammetry would not produce good results on cities with tall buildings however - either the resulting geometry would be too high poly to be rendered decently, or the results might just be too strange. So my guess is that for the bigger cities they are using local building footprint data to generate simple buildings, and then procedurally generating the textures based on building typology and location. A lot of cities and jurisdictions have databases of building footprint data. They are probably using shapefile data that also contains things like building height. This is really simple to do actually, you just extrude the footprint to the height stated in the data…but it’s why you get things like the office block Buckingham Palace and Washington Monument.

Then there are also some more important landmarks which are obviously hand modeled!


My city is not in the game despite all surrounding smaller cities being in the game.
Its just generic city instead of a pretty noticeable but sparse landscape

I forgot how huge Tokyo is…

And yes, I wish AO GOKU the best.

Hoo boy, this game needs some SERIOUS optimization. I just flew from a local ATL airport to Hartsfield because it’s storming outside, and I wanted to see how that was reflected in the game.

The game did not stop stuttering the entire flight. I think I got about max 5 FPS.

This is with a 2070 Super, 16 gb of Ram, and an i7.

I managed to get it all installed. I’ve had no technical issues with it yet. It’s running on high settings, I recently purchases a new rig, which operated on a ryzen 7 3700X core with an AMD GPU 5700 XT and 16gb of RAM. All my drives are SSD too which I think helps.

Completed most of the flight training in Arizona, the takeoff and landing and the loop round the airfield. Felt awesome learning how to do that and how all the different dials work. I couldn’t believe how janky my plane felt as I moved the steering wheel all over the place.

I’ve been flying around my home town of Nottingham. I don’t think they’ve got the imagery of Nottingham all correct. But I found my apartment, and flew into it. Also found my place of work and flew my plane into that as well. It was really low res satellite imagery from Bing Maps but I think I could make out my car in the car park.

Tried some of the other planes out, one of the biplanes, thought I was flying it fine but I veered off left too hard and broke my plane somehow. Guess I’ll stick with the basic ones for now.

Overall, I’m impressed with it so far. Being able to figure out where you are and recognise the ground below you is really cool. A couple of years, who knows what they could do with this kind of technology.

Never have I wanted a pc more ugh. I actually have a ~ flight request ~ if anyone is interested. Could someone put up some screen grabs of what Baku Azerbaijan looks like in game? Specifically the down town areas. My PhD research is centered on mapping and virtual representation of cities and how both interact with the archive with Baku as a focus and this game is such an interesting new lens for that, especially now when all the kinks haven’t quite been ironed out.

1 Like

Sure thing!

I’m not sure where the downtown is, I came from a single runway airport south of the city, but I grabbed some screens. Unfortunately, it seems like hey’re using generated map data instead of legitimate scans of Baku:

This is supposed to be the Palace of Shirvanshahs. It doesn’t look like the pictures.

And here are where the Flame Towers are supposed to be. It’s just a auto generated building.

Here are some pics of the city tho:

I’m curious what this massive building is… Is this a glitched building like that massive tower on Twitter?

Edit: Apparently its a massive mall and shopping market.


@GoldenJoel beat me to it, but here are some higher altitude screenshots from a jet!

Took off from Heydar Aliyev and (crash) landed at Zabrat.


I crashed too lol

Stalled out when wanting to get elevated shots of the city.


Y’know, I’m starting to think we need to start a screenshot thread, unless mods are cool with us turning this one into a pic repository.

1 Like

I’m down!

Speaking of, seeing as how Genghis Khan was recently cancelled on Twitter for being a Medieval Warlord, I decided to find his big statue in Mongolia:

So, after suffering through Mongolia’s INSANE winds, (Seriously, you want a flying challenge, fly under 10,000 in Mongolia’s airspace.) I found it… And uhhh… I think the Khan would be displeased:


Speaking outside of mod capacity, I think it could be beneficial to have a screenshot thread for microsoft flight, and if it were tagged as “(Image Intensive)” that could be a good warning for folks who have data caps, are on their phone, or have slower connections.

One thing I’d also be aware of considering this is a public space, to be careful when sharing local areas. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot especially in regards to streaming as I worry about streamers accidentally doxing themselves.


Thank you both so much! I’m absolutely grinning looking through these. They are … deeply inaccurate in a way that’s really haunting. The shirvanshahs palace and old city around it is hilarious as the area is filled with two to three story houses mostly, what’s in the game it almost looks like those same houses dressed up as skyscrapers. I love it haha. Thank you both again if you have the time / inclination could you check out the Central Park:

This area used to be all oil boom era housing and has been torn down over the past few years to build the new park. My research is all around how that project played out and how the people living there fought back and lived through the displacement. Thanks again so much!


the fact that my PC can’t come close to running this is killing me.

Real talk, depending on how quickly they can port this, Flight Simulator could very well be the Series X’s launch killer app, especially given the fact that the game is bringing otherwise viable gaming PCs to their knees.


I’ll check it out when I’m off work!

1 Like

Just wanted to let everybody know I made us a Flight Sim photo thread here:


As someone without a gaming PC, if this game gets ported to Series X anywhere near launch, MS can take my money. They can take my whole wallet, honestly.


Hello, I am not able to play this game but I am super curious how my home town looks like, if it’s even there. If anyone feels like doing me a solid, let me know!

I am really starting to butt up against the system they use to generate the ground/cities. I was really excited to explore the world and see the sights, but a lot of sights have been quite disappointing. Outside of a few hand rendered structures most cities are populated with a tiny variety of generic houses, apartment buildings, office blocks and trees.

No matter I thought, I will explore natural wonders, monuments and ancient ruins, surely that will be cool. Some are great others though didnt even get cursory care. Machu Picu has office blocks instead of stone structures. Stonehenge is a flat photo. Victoria Falls was a glitchy mess, as was Niagara. The Grand Canyon is a big canyon with quite ugly textures stretched down its sides. The Amazon looks like any other forest in the game.

I know its a flying game, and maybe I should only look at things from 10,000 feet and up, but I felt like the promise of an AI generated world is still a long way off.

Here is whatever the heck was going on with the river leading away from Victoria Falls. As I flew closer the raised bit would drop down to the correct level, then pop back up behind me.