Interesting Places To Visit In Flight Simulator
|While flying across southern Patagonia en route from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Cape Horn, I came across a strange airport sunken into a rectangular depression in the ground. On the map it was listed as Lago Fagnano North, which is in Argentina. I suspect that the weirdness is due to a conflict between the terrain elevation database and the airport elevation database. Somehow, Flight Simulator thinks that the airport runway should below the surface of the terrain, so it neatly excavates a huge pit and places the runway at the correct elevation.
||Flying past Monte Sarmiento in Tierra Del Fuego (Chile) at sunset (about S54*27, W70*50). Flight Simulator renders the mountain much more smoothly than the real mountain, which is intensely craggy and covered with snow and ice, without any trees on top (I found a picture of the real mountain on the internet, check it out.).|
|In this picture, I'm flying as far north as Flight Simulator will allow: 89 degrees 30.00 minutes (so you can't fly over the North Pole). Looking farther north, you can see that the scenery on the horizon starts to fall apart into funny polygons. You can also switch to top-down view and zoom out until you see the "seam" where the world scenery ends. When you reach the northern limit and keep trying to fly north, what happens instead is that the airplane slues sideways. The latitude doesn't get any bigger and the longitude keeps sluing around. In the arctic, Flight Simulator uses a weird repeating pattern as icecap scenery which isn't very convincing.
||This is the Oresund Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge between Copenhagen, Denmark, and Malmo, Sweden. I was actually looking for the Tivoli Gardens, a big amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark. The amusement park wasn't present, but while flying around, I found this bridge.|
Other Places You Can Visit
I don't have pictures for these places yet.
- Las Vegas, Nevada - This location has many special effects, especially at night. Fly a Piper Cub at low altitude right down the Strip and look at all the lit-up hotels. They also shoot off fireworks at night, which is a pretty neat special effect.
- Statue of Liberty - In New York Harbor.
- Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii - The volcano emits clouds of steam, and glows red at night. Fly out of Hilo; the crater is about N19* 23.93, W155* 16.89.
- Grand Canyon - Not nearly as spectacular as the real thing, since it doesn't show the many colorful layers of rock, but still interesting.
- Microsoft Campus - Many buildings, near Redmond, Washington.
- Oil Platform - In the Gulf of Mexico, south of Houston, Texas (about N28* 28.8, W095* 55.7).
- Old Faithful - I haven't seen this yet, but it's listed in one of the special effect files of the Flight Simulator 2004 installation. Old Faithful is a geyser in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming.
- Queen Mary - The old transatlantic liner is docked in Long Beach, California. The geodesic dome nearby used to house the airplane known as the "Spruce Goose", but when you penetrate the dome to look inside, it's empty—the Spruce Goose has been moved to an aviation museum in Oregon.
- Taj Mahal - A large shrine located near Agra, India.
- Red Square - A complex of buildings located in Moscow, Russia.
- Petronas Towers - These are two of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, within sight of Simpang Airport.
- Norwegian fiords - On the coast of Norway; try flying out of Tromso.
- Hudson River - between New Jersey and New York near New York City. If you fly low above the Hudson River and fly north under the George Washington Bridge, the river develops a pronouced hump on the western side—instead of the water level being horizontal, it tilts up to the left. This is because the scenery doesn't show any cliffs adjacent to the river, but the topography knows that there is a big cliff (the Palisades). As usual, the topography is rendered smoothly rather than sharply so the cliff becomes a hump and it affects the adjacent river level. The George Washington Bridge seems to have some rendering problems with its shadow—the eastern part of the shadow actually floats in space quite a distance above the river.
- Cape Hatteras - on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I didn't find the lighthouse; beaches were rendered as typical Flight Simulator shoreline, not convincing at all.
- Devil's Tower, Wyoming - Not there at all, just generic rolling high prarie. The nearby river and highway are displayed but not the tower. There's a suspicious looking bump but it's nothing like the tower; it might just be how the tower topography gets rendered in Flight Simulator.
- Mt. Whitney - near Lone Pine, California. There is a mountain there about the right height, but it's softly rounded and not at all convincing. This is a very common problem with all Flight Simulator mountains—they are always greatly rounded and smoothed, and you never see any jagged or craggy scenery.
- Mt. Washington, New Hampshire - The mountain is there and also the TV antenna towers but no other structures, just a generic mountain. It's shown as all grass and trees, no bare rock.
- Meteor Crater - west of Winslow, Arizona. Missing, only generic scenery.
- Monument Valley - on the border between Arizona and Utah. Only bland generic scenery with minimal relief.
- Chimney Rock, Nebraska - Missing.
- Indiana Dunes - between Gary and Michigan City on Lake Michigan. Not present at all, just generic forest.
- Pittsburg - The Three Rivers area is only so-so, rather sparse and unconvincing.
- Mauna Kea, Hawaii - The astronomical observatories are not present at all, just generic mountaintop scenery.
- Tampa, Jacksonville, Florida - The cable-stayed bridges are not present.
- Dry Tortugas - off the coast of Florida, located 59 nm brg 271 from Key West VOR (113.5 EYW). The islands and a lighthouse are present but no fort.
- Harpers Ferry, West Virginia - The bridges are reasonably accurately placed (including the railroad bridge), but the town is completely missing, not even one house. Also, as usual, the topographic relief is much smoother than the real world.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Independence Hall is very small and cheesy looking, but I guess it must be a small building and it doesn't hold its own against all the other big buildings (both autogenerated and real Philly buildings).
- Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway - located along the east coast from Maryland to Florida. I have sailed my boat down the ICW, so I flew along the route to see if Flight Simulator maintains a waterway for the whole length. Just south of Norfolk, VA, the Elizabeth River narrows to the typical FS small waterway, which is a green line. The bridges on the Elizabeth River are all wrong. The ICW makes it all the way down to the Neuse River (in North Carolina), then there's no interconnecting canal between the creek off the Neuse that should connect with the creek going to Beaufort. It's perhaps not a coincidence that the Encarta World Atlas loses it at the same place.
- Cape Horn - at the tip of South America. The island is there and even the cape, but it's rendered as a flat snowy island with a few trees; very unimpressive (about S55* 58.4, W67 12.7). Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in general are very disappointing.
- Easter Island - part of Chile, in the South Pacific. The airport is there, but no land features at all, just generic trees on bumpy topography without any cliffs. There aren't any houses where Hanga Roa should be.
- Galapagos Islands - part of Ecuador, in the Pacific near the Equator. No towns at all, not even a single house; volcanos rendered as ordinary FS woodlands.
- Bermuda - an island in the Atlantic. Very poor scenery. Has the airport and a few roads, but no towns or houses.
- Ngorongoro Crater - in Tanzania, Africa. The lake is present, but the scenery is so-so, not very crater-like.
- Stonehenge - near Salisbury, England. Missing.
- Machu Picchu - Inca ruins in Peru. Not found; the scenery is unconvincingly bland and generic.
- Great Wall of China - I looked in a few places but didn't find it. Tiananmen Square is present in Bejing but is very crudely rendered.
- Russian Space Center - Baikonur Cosmodrome, north of Leninsk, Kazakhstan. Not present. The roads and railroads in the Flight Simulator scenery corresponded very closely to the roads and railroads in the Encarta World Atlas, however where Encarta indicated the space center was located, there was only generic scenery in Flight Simulator.
- Aswan Dam - on the Nile River in Egypt. The lake is there but the dam isn't, just a cheesy bridge (about 24N, 33E).
- Icebergs - I flew in the far north to northern Greenland, where there should be icebergs all year round, but didn't find any. Although Flight Simulator renders ice and snow on land, water seems to be always 100% water; there's never any floating ice, even immediately adjacent to ice fields and glaciers. Having said that, I did notice an entry for "icebergs" in a FS special effects file, so there may be icebergs someplace—I just haven't found them.
- North Pole, South Pole - You can't fly all the way to the poles. The artic scenery is not very convincing.