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Microsoft Flight Simulator will use live, real-world data for in-game weather

We Brits like nothing more than to talk about the weather. It is the great equaliser in queues, taxis, and the Brexit-related tea riots currently swarming the nation. So I am thrilled—thrilled—to show present this latest look at Flight Simulator, a game that’s going to have so much weather that they need to build the planet to contain it all. If they didn’t, you’d need to take an umbrella into Destiny 2. Fold your seats upright and stow your babies, we’re coming in.

Despite having something to shout about, Microsoft have published this video unlisted. So please promise me you won’t tell. I had to share it because it looks astonishing.

Here’s the good stuff. Developer Asobo Studio’s creative director David Dedeine says:

“The architecture of the rendering of the weather has been made in order to also be able to receive real-world data and to inject [that] data directly in the engine, to represent the real-world as close as the data we collect all around the world.

“It gives as a result exactly what we would observe in real life. If there is a cold front in real life, or a hot front in real life, or a storm, or if it rains somewhere, all of that will be directly injected into the engine and will reflect what happens in real life.”

It’s starting to sound impossible, but that lovely French man is doing a wonderful job of convincing me. And he at least has visual proof. The sun, stars, and city light will drape across clouds, each affected by humidity and pollution. Clouds will cast shadows across the landscape, and themselves. The clouds are crafted from 32 layers, including “fuzziness”, and are as volumetric as your dad. They’ll be affected by updrafts, and form and dissolve. All this extends 600km into the distance. And clouds mean rain. Each drop of water stretches across the windshield, affected by the speed of the plane. This is getting dangerously close to making weather sound sexy.

It’ll be out sometime in 2020. After that, I won’t need a weatherman. If I want to know what it’s like outside, I’ll just load up Flight Simulator and take a flight over Dundee until I find my house. What’s that? I could just look out the window? Shut up.

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Craig Pearson

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I love square sausage, cats, and climbing pretend rocks.

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