If you enjoy roaming among the clouds at high altitudes, you should also like to do it virtually. Playing Microsoft’s Flight Simulator is a good way of doing so, and the game received its next-generation version last month.
Flight Simulator from Microsoft allows the player to travel virtually across two million cities and various environments such as rivers, mountains, traffic, animals, and so on. But while you’re wondering how on Earth was Microsoft able to create such an amazing and huge simulation, you should dig a little deeper for answers.
Microsoft’s Azure AI was the key to success
By creating the vast virtual world of the Flight Simulator, Microsoft had to push 2.5 petabytes of Bing Maps satellite photo data through the Azure AI machine. One petabyte is equal to one million gigabytes. Otherwise, it would have been impossible for Microsoft and the developer Asobo Studio, although the graphics engine is pretty powerful.
Eric Boyd, who is the CVP of Azure AI, said during an interview:
“AI has just tremendously grown in the last few years,
“It’s really driven by the massive amounts of data that are now available, combined with the massive amounts of compute that exist in the cloud … The results you can see are really pretty spectacular where you can come up with algorithms that now look at literally every square kilometer of the planet to identify the individual trees, grass and water, and then use that to build 3D models.”
Jorg Neumann, the Microsoft head of Flight Simulator, was determined to make the game’s environment as close as possible to reality. We think he did it with the 2020 version of the simulator!
Although Bing Maps’ data set was covering the entire planet, being only in 2D was a significant shortcoming. Neumann used some of that data for building a flyable 3D version of the city of Seattle, and he turned to the Azure team for coming up with a machine learning method to convert the whole planet into a 3D model.
If you still haven’t played Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can get that chance by pre-ordering the game on Windows 10 or pre-installing it by using Xbox Game Pass.