A recent review on Tech Crunch emphasized that the Bing Maps data scrubbing in Flight Simulator 2020 is beautiful when it is on target, but frequently is quite obviously off-target. This, combined with new leaks that show blatant artifacts in heavy traffic areas such as San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge, reinforces everything I’ve been saying all along about Flight Simulator’s relationship with Bing Maps and Azure AI for months.
Don’t get your hopes too high when Microsoft claims that they’ve modeled the entire world in 3D. We all know they’ve done a much poorer job than Google in this regard, and even Google has barely scratched the surface. In reality, what you’re buying is a fraction of what’s available on Google, some hand-crafted airports (40 of them in the Premium-Deluxe edition), a few models of landmarks (even Pyongyang’s May Day Stadium has a model), with a whole bunch of auto-gen scenery in between (which is how 99.99% of the world will be rendered by my estimation). The auto-gen techniques are probably just an evolution the same techniques you would have found in FSX, but clearly updated for the first time in 13 years.
The Tech Crunch review reported many bridges under water, missing and incorrect airports, missing air traffic, tons of sunken boats, and mangled Las Vegas scenery, just for starters.
Trolls barked at me for taking the time to dissect a leaked video of Pyongyang, North Korea, however I stand by my decision to do so, particularly because Pyongyang is a textbook example of how an AI engine can go completely off the rails when it has limited or unusual data. I am a Software Engineer, by trade, so when people try to tell me that their AI turned garbage data into a magical representation of the real world, I am naturally skeptical and prone to investigate that claim brutally.
Read Also: Microsoft Flight Simulator Pyongyang, How Bad can it Get?
Additional leaks I’ve found showed the Golden Gate Bridge with a second deck at sea level as the satellite image was projected beneath the deck, complete with a still shot of travelling cars suspended in animation. Additional videos showed this as a typical artifact, even in places like New York City.
With heavy reliance on Bing maps satellite images which are almost exclusively daytime, summer flyovers, I’m rather curious as to how well this will hold up as the time of day changes, or even the seasons!
Again… don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to try Flight Simulator 2020… but it is interesting that the marketing has shifted from “We’ve modeled the whole world, including 37,000 airports!”… to … “Here… have 30 Airports… for 2X the price we’ll throw in another 10.”
I think devs over there are finally admitting what I’ve been saying all along… that nobody in their right mind would hire enough people to model the entire world for a Flight Simulator… in fact, I read a quote somewhere where a dev admits that they don’t even have the resources to even look at the entire world generated by AI to validate that it is even remotely sane. They had better be prepared for a flood of complaints as people realize “I can’t find my house… you promised me that I could find my own house!”