You may know that the new Microsoft Flight Simulator utilized satellite imaging to create a full rendition of Earth for players to fly over. But this digital Earth is also being constantly updated in real time thanks to the Microsoft Azure AI platform that the game uses. Taking realtime information from sources such as the Swiss meteorological service Meteoblue, Flight Simulator is able to feature real time weather patterns. Because of this, the game has for the last few days included renders of Hurricane Laura, and players have been showing their journeys into the storm.
Youtuber Flight Sim flew through the hurricane in Flight Simulator using maxed out settings. In this minimal-commentary 4k video, the level of detail that the game is able to render is really put on display.
For over five hours, ManAmal flew over and around Hurricane Laura, giving a full view of the storm and its sheer volume.
Acepilot2k7 managed to get some clips of the early formation of Hurricane Laura during his stream on Monday. The three hour video that resulted shows the hurricane as it begins to grow.
Games have long given players the ability to experience or witness horrific wars, plagues, and disasters. But never before have players been able to experience a real-time disaster from the comfort of their computer. Many streamers and Youtubers who took to the sky and recorded Flight Simulator footage for Hurricane Laura did so as they would any other game, cracking jokes and only giving passing thoughts as to the real impact that the devastation they were witnessing had on the actual people living in the areas they flew over. As games begin to reflect reality more clearly, the ways in which we experience the digital world may need to be rethought.
Nicolas Perez is an editorial intern at Paste and opinion co-editor for New University. He’s rambling on Twitter @Nic_Perez_.