This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
The Microsoft Flight Simulator, touted as a hyper-realistic recreation of the entire Earth, had a rare incident in which a non-existent 212-story skyscraper tower appeared in Australia due to an error in the original data.
The player nicknamed it the "Melbourne Citadel". The bizarre sight turned it into a virtual tourist attraction, attracting reckless pilots plotting a landing challenge on the roof before it could be fixed.
Gallery: Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) | of 40 Photos
Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS), released on August 18, is the latest in a long-running series that has been around since 1982. After 14 years since its predecessor, this one does away with the serial numbers and years and becomes just "Flight Simulator," and the content has been redesigned.
The main feature is the hyper-realistic recreation of the entire planet, with vast amounts of data, including Microsoft Bing maps, aerial photos, satellite photos and 3D scans of streets, processed by Microsoft's Azure cloud for AI processing.
In addition to the 100GB of space required during installation alone, the actual flight will stream detailed terrain on demand from a total of two petabytes of data in the cloud to recreate buildings and terrain in even greater detail.
Gallery: Microsoft Flight Simulator 「メルボルンの巨塔」 | of 10 Photos
Such a realistic Earth is a feature of this game, but when a player flies over the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, he notices an unnatural skyscraper that doesn't exist in real life.
That's this building. In real life, Melbourne's tallest building is supposed to be the 92-storey, 300-metre high Eureka Tower in the heart of the city (you can see it in the screenshot above, around the horizon in the distance), but this mysterious black building appears unexpectedly in the Faulkner neighbourhood, a residential suburb that isn't even a skyscraper district, and is over 700 metres tall.
It's not as tall as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, known as the tallest building in the world, at over 800m, but that number includes the needle-like antennae and spires at the top, so it's a good match for the height of the building itself. The building in the virtual Melbourne does not have a huge substructure as one would expect of a skyscraper, and it looks as if a building with the same structure has been made to grow by hitting the "extend" button, giving it a surrealistic, sci-fi-like appearance.
The nickname given to it by the player who discovered it is "The Melbourne Citadel", after the Citadel, a super-sized fortress built on Earth by an interdimensional creature in the game Half-Life 2.
(As an unimportant aside, the Citadel in Half-Life 2 is over 2.5km in the setting, so it's three or four times longer.)
In Microsoft Flight Simulator a bizarrely eldritch, impossibly narrow skyscraper pierces the skies of Melbourne's North like a suburban Australian version of Half-Life 2's Citadel, and I am -all for it- pic.twitter.com/6AH4xgIAWg— Alexander Muscat (@alexandermuscat) August 19, 2020
What was discovered by the players who looked into how this happened was that a "212-story" building was at one point registered as a general residential building at this location on OpenStreetMap, one of the MSFS data sources, although the building doesn't exist in reality, of course.
As far as the other commits of the registered user are concerned, it's not a funeral, but probably a mistake that led to the "212" by typing two stories wrong with something else.
The OSM error has already been fixed, but it's believed that the Melbourne Citadel was created because Microsoft's Bing Maps was left behind when it imported data from OpenStreetMap, and the vaunted AI algorithm that was supposed to generate a composite of aerial photo data and other data also respected the map's data, perhaps because it made the building 212 stories as it was told to.
When an interesting bug is found in an online game that becomes popular, the management sometimes dares to save it in a clever way. However, MSFS is a simulator, and even has elements that reflect and reproduce real-world airplane operations in real time.
It's reasonable to assume that the Melbourne Citadel will be removed in the near future, not only because it deviates from the nature of a highly accurate recreation of the Earth, but also because it will be a non-existent landmark that confuses the original simulator with the visible flight system.
Although MSFS' multiplayer mode allows players from all over the world to share a single virtual globe to fly over *, players have gathered to take a memorial flight at least once before the "Melbourne Citadel" fix, turning it into a virtual tourist attraction in the game.
Not only do they take scenic flights nearby to take and distribute screenshots and videos, but also virtual super pilots who aim for a reckless landing on rooftops.
*Multi-player can be turned off or limited to groups. Even though it's shared, famous airports can be a disaster, so it's handled automatically, e.g., up to a few dozen planes in close proximity.
Melbourne Citadel Landing Challenge
……So I also tried the attention-grabbing Melbourne Citadel.
It's so high that if you look to the east just after taking off from Melbourne International Airport, you can see the drawing bug-like figure.
The length of the shadows are so realistic that it's surreal. First, you need to gain altitude to 2600 feet.
I made it halfway through the tutorial earlier, and I'm good at ACE COMBAT, so I should be able to do it well enough. Expand the flaps (?) and extend the landing gear properly by looking at the help (it was the "g" on the keyboard). The warning sound of something doesn't stop, but I don't care (I don't know).
There's no way I can lose to the 212th floor or so.
Well, I still couldn't beat the Citadel.
I'm really sorry.
Here's a video of the famous pilot who successfully landed on his 38th landing while changing the weather and aircraft. (Developer Conor O'Kane, who also sells his own flight games on Steam)
Bugs and challenges aside, Microsoft Flight Simulator is a recommended app that is infinitely fun to just fly, and the spectacular scenery is soothing.
It also comes complete with assistance, so if you just want to fly and do a messy takeoff and landing, you'll be able to do it in no time. The simulator is a blockbuster that's too good to be avoided as something difficult and scary only for "people who like" like train enthusiasts and aviation enthusiasts.
The bottleneck is that you need a certain amount of high-performance PC, but since it's included in the Xbox Game Pass for PC beta, you can play it for 425 yen per month. It's also available with Game Pass Ultimate, which also includes the console Xbox.
The Tokyo Sky Tree has been well recreated, but it's an incredible beauty, just flying vaguely over rural Japan.
We hope you will experience the thrill of flying through the clouds to see Mt. Fuji after relying on your hazy geographical knowledge and relying only on your direction.
I wonder if there will be an X-Wing or UNSC Pelican with additional aircraft...
Microsoft Flight Simulator is now available on the Microsoft Store and Steam. The Standard Edition is priced at 7,452 yen. The Xbox Game Pass for PC is included in the subscription price. 100 yen for the first month and 425 yen per month for the second month and beyond.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.