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People Are Flying Into Hurricane Laura in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Hurricane Laura in Microsoft Flight Simulator
(Image credit: Petri Levälahti (posted with permission))

Here’s a use for Microsoft Flight Simulator that I didn’t anticipate- amateur storm chasers are using it to fly into Hurricane Laura.

So far, plenty of buzz has been made about Microsoft Flight Simulator’s accurate controls and 1:1 scale recreation of the Earth. Critics are hailing the game’s Bing Maps powered geography as the “first true next gen” feature, while real pilots are coming away impressed by how true-to-life the game’s airplanes feel when flying. But perhaps more impressive is the game’s real-time live weather, which also uses Bing to recreate actual weather conditions across the whole globe as they happen.

While Microsoft Flight Simulator’s world map is static and based on data that’s a few years old- some skyscrapers near my apartment aren’t there in the game- its weather updates in sync with real life. That means that, while I can’t buzz over some of New York’s more recent construction sites, I can fly through thunderstorms as they rain down on my building’s roof.

For the most part, I’ve mostly brushed this feature off. I like flying in clear weather, both so I can sight see more easily and because I’m not very good at flying. But I hadn’t considered the weather itself as a potential sightseeing destination...until now.

Enter Hurricane Laura. The storm, which made contact in Louisiana early this morning as a Category 4 hurricane before weakening into a Category 1 as it worked its way through the state, is the strongest storm the region has faced in over a century. And you can fly into it in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Searching for “Hurricane Laura Microsoft Flight Simulator” on YouTube brings up pages of results, while impressive screenshots of players flying into the storm are already starting to hit Twitter. And, while I'm not a weather reporter, the game seems to depict it accurately.

 

While Hurricane Laura has been weakening as it makes its way inland and local governments are starting to lift evacuation orders, the damage has already been severe enough to knock out power for more than 600,000 people. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards warns that the storm’s threat is “far from over” and that “Now is not the time to go sightseeing.”

That’s assuming, of course, that you don’t have Microsoft Flight Simulator. Storm chasing has never been so safe. 

  • spentshells
    That looks amazing!
    Reply
  • ThatMouse
    Shouldn't you see more of an "eye" though? It just looks like more clouds...
    Reply
  • RyzenNoob
    It's a resource hogg though
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    ThatMouse said:
    Shouldn't you see more of an "eye" though? It just looks like more clouds...
    That probably looks about right.
    To have an actual circle, fully devoid of clouds down to the surface, is pretty rare.
    Reply
  • nofanneeded
    hmmmm , okay I am buying it .. any one please tell me which package to get? Standard/Deluxe/Premium ?
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    nofanneeded said:
    hmmmm , okay I am buying it .. any one please tell me which package to get? Standard/Deluxe/Premium ?
    I bought the premium From what I read, the basic difference between the Premium and standard is you get 10 more airports and 10 more planes. Deluxe, you actually get 5 more of each than of Standard, thus it increments in 5 for each tier.

    I haven't been successful at flying at all, the game is very difficult to control and takes a lot of patience to learn. I'm starting to feel like really good Flight Simulator players are much more skilled than Call of Duty players, a game which I abandoned early on because I'm just not good with the controls in general.

    With FS, it's a little like learning a new car to drive. In otherwords, you know where the controls are for each plane, but they look totally different in another. I'm still trying to learn the basics of one plane, as I barely learned how to take off.

    The most important thing about this game, is your PC. It looks amazing, but not on my PC. It runs pretty well, I must say, but I've had to turn my graphics on medium. My system specs are:
    CPU: 5960X (at 3.3 GHz, not sure how that happened, stock is 3.0 GHz)
    MOBO: ASUS Rampage V Extreme
    RAM: 16GB of DDR4 @ 2800 MHz
    GPU: EVGA GTX 980 ACX SC (4GB of GPU)
    Monitor: ASUS VS278Q-P (1ms response time, refresh rate: 60 Hz, 1080p)

    Looking at gaming specs, I imagine my processor would be just fine, IF I overclocked it to 3.8 GHz. I'm not an overclocker, so if I were to do that, I'd be at the mercy of my motherboard's presets. GPU on the other hand, only handles MS FS 2000 at medium settings. In fact, from what I've read, the "Ultra" settings could be so intense that even a RTX 2080 Ti might still cause problems at Max settings. I won't upgrade my PC just for one game. I've also read that the game can use up to 24 GB of RAM.

    I've been watching a lot of YouTubers on this game this whole week. It looks like cars either their wheels bleed onto the ground or they're floating. That is, if you'd actually get close enough to observe. I was watching a video where the person looked at different animals, like elephants, flamingos and bears. For a game that looks pretty real, these objects (or animals?) did not. Then again, maybe it could be a graphics setting that could be tweaked.

    If I was seriously considering upgrading my GPU for this game, I would wait until the 3080 or 3090 comes out and see what those benchmarks for this game end up being, but only if I were needing a new monitor, as well.

    I'm also dying to see a multi-monitor setup with this game. I saw an 8 monitor setup with Flight Simulator X, not with 2020, yet. If you can do multi-monitors on this game, you have the resources, I would definitely look into it, as it's really difficult to see everything you need on the screen and keep switching to and from it with one screen, at least, for me.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    JOSHSKORN said:
    I've been watching a lot of YouTubers on this game this whole week. It looks like cars either their wheels bleed onto the ground or they're floating. That is, if you'd actually get close enough to observe. I was watching a video where the person looked at different animals, like elephants, flamingos and bears. For a game that looks pretty real, these objects (or animals?) did not. Then again, maybe it could be a graphics setting that could be tweaked.
    Being a flight simulator, it's expected that you will typically be viewing these things from the air, not from a few meters away on the ground. Considering that, the amount of detail put into the animals actually seems quite high.

    JOSHSKORN said:
    I'm also dying to see a multi-monitor setup with this game. I saw an 8 monitor setup with Flight Simulator X, not with 2020, yet. If you can do multi-monitors on this game, you have the resources, I would definitely look into it, as it's really difficult to see everything you need on the screen and keep switching to and from it with one screen, at least, for me.
    VR would arguably be a better solution than a huge number of screens like that. It's a feature that's coming to the simulator, just not right at launch. Keeping frame rates up high enough to run it well in VR might be a challenge without lowering settings a fair amount though.
    Reply
  • ThatMouse
    nofanneeded said:
    hmmmm , okay I am buying it .. any one please tell me which package to get? Standard/Deluxe/Premium ?

    I got the game pass for $1. It's amazing, but there's really no game to it so I may not play it much.
    Reply