Microsoft’s newly-revamped Flight Simulator game enables would-be pilots to explore a photorealistic digital world from the skies.
However, thanks to a partnership with a meteorological service, gamers can also experience weather systems around the world as they happen. Case in point, Hurricane Laura, the devastating Category 4 hurricane that blasted parts of Texas and Louisiana with wind gusts measured at 150mph.
Thanks to the tie-in with the Meteoblue service, weather data can be imported into the game in real time. You won’t see the actual weather, but a pretty effective simulation based upon the available data. That has enabled Flight Simulator pilots get up close and personal with Laura.
Here are some great examples of how it looks from YouTube and Twitter:
“Yesterday’s hurricane was very beautiful to look at and was accurately predicted by our models even days ahead,” Meteoblue co-founder Mathias Müller told The Verge. “We are very happy that real-time weather is now part of Flight Simulator. It was a long journey as integrating these massive amounts of data required the solution of many problems. From our end, we would like to have even more details and weather parameters we already compute for our customers and the meteoblue.com website inside the game, but the development on the game side is extremely complex and takes time.”
Flight Simulator is a massive game by any metric, with a 150GB install size. The physical version comes on 10 (count ’em) discs. However, that colossal space requirement does provide a staggeringly realistic portrayal of the world.
Our reviewer Jade King writes: “Microsoft Flight Simulator is a triumphantly ambitious venture which pushes the boundaries of photorealism in the gaming medium. It requires a lot of horsepower and the support of Azure technology to accomplish such a feat, but these barriers are washed away when you’re staring down at endless cities and thick jungles from thousands of feet in the air. It’s breathtaking, and I hope it brings such simulators further into the mainstream.”