Microsoft has rolled out the latest in its ongoing series of free World Updates for Microsoft Flight Simulator, this time with a focus on Australia.
Microsoft Flight Simulator World Update VII: Australia adds four handcrafted airports (Longreach, Mount Beauty, Paraburdoo, and Shellharbour), and adds extra detail to 100 others, courtesy of Melbourne-based Orbx Simulation Systems. There are also 94 custom-made points of interest, and 16 new activities, including five bush trips, five landing challenges, and six discovery flights. Here’s a trailer showing a few of the highlights:
Microsoft Flight Simulator launched in 2020 with a 1:1 recreation of the world, built mostly through a combination of machine learning, map data, and satellite imagery (to grossly over-simplify the matter). That’s an impressive feat, without a doubt, but there’s a limit to how much accuracy and detail can be achieved that way—at launch, Buckingham Palace was rendered as an office block, in one memorable example.
Since then, Microsoft has been gradually rolling out world updates to enhance specific regions with handcrafted locations and other details, all in the name of making Microsoft Flight Simulator as lifelike as possible. Previous updates saw the same treatment given to Japan, the USA, and parts of Europe. There’s also a very active modding community, and an in-game marketplace where third-party creators can sell approved points of interest, add-ons, activities, and the like—many of which are dedicated to the same goal of authentically recreating the real world.
Free, official updates are always going to be the most convenient and have the highest visibility, though, so it’s great to see Australia getting the world update treatment. It just leaves one big question on the lips of everyone across the Tasman: when is New Zealand’s turn?