Microsoft Flight Simulator Uses Real-World Data to Build Atmosphere

Microsoft Flight Simulator Uses Real-World Data to Build Atmosphere

Clouds, rain, and real-world data look to shaping Microsoft Flight Simulator into a beautiful experience.

In a new video from the Microsoft Flight Simulator YouTube, Creative Director David Dedeine from Asobo Studio has shared details surrounding the weather effects coming to the game. So, if you’re into fluffy, pretty clouds, prepare to feast your eyes.

The video kicks off talking about a new atmospheric simulation, which uses a scattering system that allows the engine to unify all sources of light and rendering them together. These light sources are also affected by air density, humidity, and pollution. He also goes into detail about how everything casts shadows on everything else, and essentially it looks like Microsoft Flight Simulator will be throwing around a lot of shade.

As for the weather effects, the game will introduce volumetric 3D rain along with volumetric rainbow scattering. Each raindrop is also affected by the speed of the plane adding to the realism. Fog is also present, and so is icing which forms on the plane depending on the temperatures outside of the cockpit.

The volumetric clouds are detailed with 32 layers looking at fuzziness, density, and shape, and can be seen from any angle. Players will also be able to choose from a selection of presets on the go through the game, allowing them to change to clear skies, broken skies, stormy skies, for example.

Microsoft Flight Simulator will also use real-world data to determine how the yearly-based day and night cycle affects the position of the sun and moon depending on the time of the year. So during the summer, the sun will be higher, in the winter, it’d be lower. The stars are also positioned accurately depending on the real-world data

There’s also a section in the video that shows off the ability to change the time of the day through a “Weather Panel”. However, if taking control of the skies isn’t your thing, the game will also make use of real-world weather from around the world, offering a more realistic representation of where you’re flying at the time. The data they use uses 60 different layers of real-time cloud data and 20 layers of other data such as humidity, pressure, temperature, and wind, which is then injected into the games engine.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is due to launch sometime in 2020 and while it seems like it’s only coming to PC so far, the E3 trailer ended stating that the game would be available on Games Pass.