Microsoft Flight Simulator has some pretty bonkers geometry. Chief amongst misplaced planes and anti-monarchist architecture, however, has to be the Melbourne citadel – a 200-storey piece of Combine architecture transplanted into the Australian city. It’s proper weird, sure. But with a bit of digging, pilots have discovered that a simple typo may be the root of Flight Sim’s mysterious down-under obelisk.
Microsoft Flight Sim offers the world, and it’s a damn pretty world at that. But due to the way it sources map data from Bing maps, there are certain oddities in its map. Sometimes, that means turning planes into buildings, or Buckingham Palace into apartments. Other times, you get a colossal pillar of office space erupting out of an Australian city.
In Microsoft Flight Simulator a bizarrely eldritch, impossibly narrow skyscraper pierces the skies of Melbourne's North like a suburban Australian version of Half-Life 2's Citadel, and I am -all for it- pic.twitter.com/6AH4xgIAWg
— Alexander Muscat (@alexandermuscat) August 19, 2020
But while many of these errors are a result of the game misreading a structure, it turns out Flight Sim might be entirely correct in rendering Half-Life 2‘s Citadel in Melbourne. According to this thread from hacker Liam O, the foundations of the spire were laid roughly a year ago by OpenStreetMap contributor nathanwright120.
See, Bing maps takes its data from numerous sources, including the open-source mapping tool. But in this case, it appears Wright erroneously wrote that this suburban Melbourne house had 212 floors instead of, well, 2. While that info was eventually amended on OpenStreetMap, Microsoft had already scraped the data for use in MSFS, resulting in the unsettling pillar breaching the Melbourne skyline.
Case closed, then. I’d put money on Asobo eventually patching up this erroneous hell-geometry, but not before this daredevil managed to land a plane on top of it. At that point, you’re just making the rest of us look bad.