Home News Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 – Airports – Episode #6 [Video]

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 – Airports – Episode #6 [Video]

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Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 – Airports – Episode #6 [Video]


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



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