Looking Forward

Stuff that matters

That big ol’ ‘simulator’ in Flight Simulator’s name certainly suggests a grasp for authenticity, but just how accurate is it really? That’s what one enterprising soul attempted to discover by playing the game while on a passenger plane, and piloting the exact same route they were travelling in real-life. Turns out it’s pretty damn accurate indeed.

The (admittedly wholly unscientific) experiment was conducted by Rami Ismail – formerly one half of celebrated indie studio Vlambeer – on a recent journey from Montreal, Canada, to Amsterdam, with Ismail documenting Flight Simulator’s progress versus the real thing over on Twitter as the journey continued.

Following a minor directional mishap on the runway during a drizzly evening takeoff, Ismail excitedly reported in to confirm that cloud entry had been mere seconds apart between the game and real-life once airborne, with a slighter larger window of difference, of approximately 30 seconds, when leaving the clouds.

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A few updates and one nap later (with Flight Simulator’s auto-pilot taking over for the duration), Ismail popped back up again to share word that his aeroplane was currently two hours and 25 minutes away from Amsterdam, while Flight Simulator was just a touch out at two hours and 29 minutes. “This game is wild,” he wrote, “The clouds look the same”.

Both planes reached Ireland en route to Amsterdam with Flight Simulator ahead by around six minutes, and eventually started their descent at “almost the exact same time”, just as the sun began to peek over the horizon in both the game and outside Ismail’s passenger seat window.

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In the end, Flight Simulator managed to touch down in Amsterdam around four minutes ahead of Ismail’s actual plane, at which point he exclaimed, “Weather matched, light matched, stars matched. Wild. Absolutely staggering.”

It’s a fun thread, filled with videos comparing reality with Flight Simulator’s digital recreation (I’ll readily admit I mistook the latter for the real thing on more than one occasion, such is the staggering quality of developer Asobo’s work) and well worth a gander.

Of course, as impressive as Flight Simulator might currently be, Asobo has pledged constant improvements to the experience over the next ten years, with regular updates promised for both the simulation itself and its already gorgeous recreation of the world.

So far, the developer has given Japan and the United States a massive post-launch makeover utilising handcrafted landmarks and enhanced mapping data, with the United Kingdom set to be next in line as part of January’s update.