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Asobo Studio manually edited 37,000 airports for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator already looks wildly ambitious. Asobo Studio previously explained that you can fly anywhere in the world in their flight simulation. Anywhere? Anywhere. Naturally then they need to have airports everywhere. All the airports, even. So Microsoft Flight Simulator apparently features every airport in the world. A modest 37,000 of those have been manually edited by Asobo, they say in a new developer video.

The previous Microsoft Flight Simulator X game had only—and I promise I say “only” as a joke—24,000 airports. Asobo has vastly expanded that number and specifically chose 37,000 of them to edit individually with satellite images as references. Some are small rural landing strips and others are on top of mountains.

For each airport, Asobo trace all of the runways from a Bing aerial map (suppose they weren’t allowed to use Google satellite images, eh?), and then define each of the taxiways. They then place parking spots in the same locations as the real world version and reproduce all the ground markings. After that, they define the materials of the runway—whether it be concrete or grass or dirt. Runways can be grass? I’m learning so much today. The material of the runway affects things like grip of the landing gear as well.

Just from the video, the configurations of each set of runways are pretty fascinating as a person who knows not a wink about how airports are designed. I spotted at least one in there that looks like its runways are arranged in a triangle. Is that odd? I don’t even know. Maybe it’s totally normal but it stuck out to me.

Asobo gave even greater attention to 80 specific airports that would be highest traffic and most played. Presumably the major international ones with high traffic in real life. Even fewer “iconic” airports Asobo decided to recreate props and nearby architecture for based on the actual surroundings of the locations in real life. There’s even more to hear about simulated ground traffic on runways, human workers, and other simulated elements in Asobo’s video above.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is planned to release sometime this year though we’ve not heard a firm date yet. You can keep up with development videos like these on the game’s YouTube channel.

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Lauren Morton

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