Feature Discovery Series Episode 6: Airports

Hi everyone and welcome to this new episode of the Feature Discovery Series, I am as Sven Mestas, Lead Game Designer at Asobo Studio. In this episode I’m going to talk about airports in the new Microsoft Flight Simulator. First I’ll begin by presenting how we are covering the various types of airports both geographically and by scale Then I’ll explain the work pipeline to treat each of these airports from Bing aerials to their final state in flight simulator Finally, I’ll present to you airport life and talk about services, ground traffic, and air traffic The previous version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, FSX, simulated more than 24,000 airports. The new flight simulator features all the apart in the world including 37,000 manually edited airports This coverage begins at small countryside bush airstrips all the way to huge international airports Geographically, you’ll find airports all over the world nestled on small islands adjacent to major cities, and perched on mountainsides. North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania are all represented. Before editing airports We needed to first create a database. We started from the FSX collection and decided to add more airports to give better coverage and a larger amount of locations to explore. After lots of triage and selection we edited 37,000 airports. In order to reach a new level of reality in flight simulation. We needed a new approach. That’s why we decided to innovate by editing airports from real aerials and satellites pictures. This technique involves editing each airport manually Which means particular attention to details has been given to every single one of them to bring them a step closer to reality This work has never been done at this scale. And that’s why we needed to create a specific tool for developers to handle airport editing Now I’ll take you through this addition process. This pipeline has been used for every single airport. Step one is to trace logical elements straight on the Bing Map aerial We begin by drawing the upper perimeter which refers the building type generation when it will occur Next we draw the runway with as much accuracy as available by defining into in length and width Its orientation will determine its numerical markings according to magnetic north After that, we define taxiways based on the real ones, which will be used for ground traffic, air traffic, ATC, and simmers We place the parking spots at the exact same place of the existing ones Finally we reproduce markings on the apron The second part is defining surfaces According to the observed material on Bing aerials we read surfaces. It can be grass Concrete Dirt, etc. This process allows us to capture the real identity of the runway and to apply accurate materials on to it Of course, it leads to different behaviors impacting the landing gear grip for instance If there are any visual artifacts on the grass such as planes we draw perimeters to remove them. The final part is the post-processing these steps are automatically performed by our algorithms The runway slope is applied for charts references Materials are applied on generated objects allowing us for instance to see reflections on runways, wet materials, tire marks Etc. The visual artifacts and concrete are automatically removed Contrast and colors are adjusted too match real-life Names are attributed to taxiways and signs are generating along them Animated wind socks are generated as well. These are even able to follow the wind direction when it changes. We also improved the light generation by having them spawning along the runways and taxiways Because some airports deserve more attention We made a selection of 80 airports based on the most played and busiest ones We gave these airports more realism by naming the taxiways and signs according to official IDs and providing them more accurate surface definition Beyond that in order to take things further. We created a top-level category We defined a final selection made of iconic airports and dressed them up to reach a new level of realism in flight simulation. We created and placed unique buildings and props matching reality. Transcribing the identity and their ambience and we even terraformed some landscapes to nest them in their real environment. Now let’s talk about airport life. Life is supported in every airport of the game according to the size. As in FSX, we kept the ambient ground traffic in airports, but we’ve made improvements We filled airport parking lots with vehicles to provide a more realistic look We tweaked vehicle behavior they come and go on taxiways, but now they stop at hold shorts even if the runways free. and they are able to turn on their lights at night. We included workers as well They move between various points bringing life to the apron Services are now accessible from the ATC on a specific ground frequency We kept services which were already set in fsx, but made various improvements Jetways have new visuals and a more realistic way to attach exit doors fitting more precisely with the fuselage Pushback vehicles now feature drivers. The baggage service has workers as well and we set a realistic trail behavior on baggage carts. Fuel services have been improved as well When a few trucks arise it plugs itself to the refueling hose it automatically opens the fuel panel Allowing you to tweak your fuel settings The same panel is open when you go to the fuel station with your aircraft We added some services in order to allow you to complete your running link in a more realistic way You can now call a ground power unit which will be plugged into the aircraft through a cable. A ramp trunk is now available when you are on the right parking spot type We added as well an animated catering truck All of these services are now exposed in XML and are customisable using the SDK tools It is possible as well to create small scripted behaviors with your own objects and animations and to place them where you want. As you may have noticed There are now park planes all over the apron. This aircrafts are actually part of the traffic They can be called by the ATC which means that they will perform some ground services on their own to get ready for flight They will then taxi to the hold short to queue before taking off We hope you enjoyed this look into Microsoft Flight Simulator Airport features and look forward to having you explore them in the future On behalf of the whole Airport team. Thank you for watching and see you soon

100 thoughts on “Feature Discovery Series Episode 6: Airports

  1. Make it run on Windows 7 and then it'll be worth all the hype. Until then, for 90% of flight sim enthusiasts, it's just a bunch of pretty pictures.

  2. I feel like MS FS has finally become "adult", the amount of details and realism is just too much for my brain to wrap around the fact it is still a game . They finally added everything I could ever ask for by default that once required loads of costly add-ons.

  3. They flashed the small airport in Peoria IL where I learned to fly. It's Mt Hawley airport (3MY). What were the odds? If that's not a good sign I'm not sure what is! lol

  4. What about the ATC itself, which is one of the most important aspect of flying from and to an airport? Will it be realistic now, and allow VFR as well?

  5. Looks like it is definitely pre alpha still. A very generous estimate of a release candidate would be 2 to 3 years. Yes, years. Even then 99% of you will not have the hardware to run it. You can even see stuttering on the bloody wind sock!. Very little of what they show is realtime as it would be unbearable in the stittering department. Dont hold your breath to play this game / pseudo 'sim'. It could even be up to 5 years before release and still no suitable hardware. Entry level for this with sliders down would be 2080ti with 9900k at 5ghz on all cores. 32GB ram and at least 100Mb net access with low latency. Preferably gigabit up and down. SERIOUSLY. DO NOT EXPECT THIS SOON, AND DO NOT EXPECT IT TO RUN WELL ON ANY CURRENT HARDWARE.

  6. I really like how open they are on how they developed the game. Almost like that even if they give competitors insights on how they make the game they won’t be able to out do them

  7. What I reckon would of been a cool idea for the ai traffic is base it off the real world traffic that is happening when you load into the game. For example, when your taxiing for take off at Heathrow around the time the Qantas 787 is coming into land in the real world, it is also coming into land in the simulator

  8. I look forward to Microsoft releasing the Airport Editing Tool with this new release so user can edit and enhance airports in non mainstream regions and share them just like aircraft paints.

  9. 37,000 manually edited airports.
    At 100 edited airports a day that would take more than 10 years!!
    Also i have never seen detail like this in any video game ever.

  10. duno but these guys go faster with development then Star Citizen lol with this speed we dont need Star Citizen anymore as they will make a space version also im sure haha I know where ill be spending my money … not on Star Citizen picture ships anymore….

  11. Just imagine for a second if every time you logged in it was all on one server and every plane you saw was another person. It’s possible. Each airport or state could be a separate server and when you cross the line while flying transfer from one server to the other. Fairly simple and would be amazing.

  12. Wow! I will use this to practice navigation and approaches at new and unfamiliar airports. I will improve my skills when flying my RV-12 to my next vacation destination.

  13. Will we be able to have actual passengers in the plane? It always feels so lonely just flying by yourself. And it would be cool if there was intercom that your pilot could talk through. Super excited for this game!

  14. All of this will be ridiculously expensive. Pay per flight maybe? For sure some kind of subscription. And finally the pc specs will be very challenging – for sure. Nevertheless – the new flight simulator looks nice. Looking forward to the publication.

  15. This is beyond phenomenal in so many ways but what’s going on with those jetways wheels at 6:37 which seem to get dragged into position and don’t turn realistically to move in the right direction?

  16. As this has been touted as a release on the next X Box and we've just heard the new console will have 12 Teraflops of GPU compute power (between a 2080 Super and Ti) is MSFS2020 going to look anything like this on the average flight simmers PC, I doubt it. will the new X Box allow us to use our yokes and switches? again doubt it. Looks like GPU manufacturers are going to do well from this release……

  17. i'm wondering if the Airstrip in DisneyWorld will be accessible, or if there will be junk (trailers/caravans) on it like in real life :p

  18. Hi! I have a question about the airlines when the game is out can fly people with real airlines or not.
    Thank you for the nice game I hope it comes in a few months

  19. 2006: fsx has join the chat
    2008: fsx deluxe has join the chat
    2016: xplane 11 has join the chat

    all flight simulators android/pc has join the chat

    2020: Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has join the chat

    fsx, fsx deluxe, xplane 11 and more has left the chat

  20. … you still can't believe it. But he really comes. At 64, I have now worked with all civil flight simulations that have ever appeared … this will probably be my last but by far the best flight simulator.
    Fantastic work guys and thanks for that. Best regards from old Germany


  21. GUYS, I HOPE we will have VR + multiplayer in the SAME plane. For example, I want to be the pilot and my friend to be the co-pilot. It's a fucking dream 😐 Just imagine…

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