Real world scenery - really?

I had been looking forward to MSFS2020. Now that I have it I am rather disappointed with the " real world scenery".
There is no doubt that the aircraft are every bit as good as expected. However, when it comes to scenery I suggest that the claims made have not lived up to expectations.
I agree that the overall “genetic” scenery is very nice e.g. the snowy mountains in Europe.
When it comes to specific locations it is not up to scratch. e.g Sydney- Australia where I live: Our world famous Opera house looks like it has been built with Lego looks ridiculously artificial. The equally famous Sydney Harbour Bridge is depicted as a simple deck that just floats in the air.
Compared to FSX the scenery presentation is RUBBISH. FSX shows fair representations of other Sydney landmarks such as the Olympic stadium and other major sporting stadiums. MSFS shows no other landmarks. he Sydney city scape is just about non-existent. FOR SHAME.
Amsterdam, where I was born has been similarly insulted. There were only two marked landmarks: the Central Railway Station - again poorly presented as described above for the Opera House and one church. Nothing showing for the royal Palace, a famous landmark of Amsterdam and the Museum, again a world famous building. The buildings look utterly awful as well. FOR SHAME
What are they thinking of? Obviously little or no research has gone into making these “real world” sceneries. FOR SHAME


You are suffering from the problem of knowing the area well, and thus see every tiny difference magnified. For me New York, and San Francisco look amazing. I might not say that if I lived there, as I might notice such, and such a building is not represented.

One take of this is perhaps curb your expectations, as it sounds like you were expecting to see Google Street view quality.

Instead, perhaps have a look at the technology involved, realise it’s limitations, then take another look. Within those limitations they have done an amazing job. Ortho for the entire world, at one level of quality or another, that you do not need to download, or create by hand.

Autogen cities that actually look like cities etc.

Another way to put it is your familiarity somewhat breaks the illusion.


When I can find both of my properties that show both my open air and covered arenas as well as representation of my out buildings I must admit the scenery is the best of any of the flight simulators out of the box. Granted some of the auto generated buildings are not exact, the fact they are there is amazing. To say the simulation scenery is rubbish is a bit disingenuous.


Your kidding me right? I think you got it backwards the planes are rubbish… the scenery is pretty good IMO


They’re the best default planes that ever existed… prove me wrong.


i think he was expecting at least FSX quality, when it comes to landmarks / bridges. in that respect, msfs is substandard, as hard as it is to believe.

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Overall I agree, but there are exceptions. For example, the X-Plane C172 G1000 is much better than the MSFS variant, especially as far as the G1000 is considered.

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Actually I’m more interested in flying over beautiful landscapes than over cities to see that specific building for a few seconds. Cities look really as such in MSFS, and were much worse in FSX

I used to fly a lot in FSX, and finally, got bored by the monotony and repetitivity of the landscapes

MSFS allows to fly VFR with beautiful incredible landscapes, and that gives to me a new real pleasure that I’ve never seen before, the whole planet is to be rediscovered

Frankly speaking, MSFS gives me now a much better user experience than FSX, although I used to fly more than 1,000 hours in FSX (mostly airlners) a while back


They may be the best default planes that ever existed but they are still rubbish. X-Planes default planes have functioning FMS and autopilot systems, and the Airbus doesn’t have rocket engines attached to it so there is that.

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Couldn’t disagree more! My city has NEVER looked more accurate in any other sim. I flew over my house, saw at least 20 very easily recognizable buildings that were shockingly accurate. It was incredible. Even the roads are accurate. This is miles ahead of any other sim. There’s no comparison. Remember that this is V1, the very start. Many areas will get updated etc…Report this to the devs!


I can see this from both sides.

With regards to Sydney - I still head-desk at the forgetting to include the Harbour bridge. The opera house looks pretty decent all things considered, but even since FS98, The harbour bridge and Sydney Tower was included. FS2002 added the Anzac bridge as well.

I think there’s a lot more landmarks around the globe that were in FSX but have been dropped in MSFS. I think that’s a backward step, unless the intention is to let third party developers swoop in, or let Photogrammetry take over later.

It almost feels like they’ve done a lot of the satellite mapping and just thought “eh. That should be good enough”

I will agree that the scenery is generally beyond anything we’ve had before — but I am a bit let down that some of the skylines we’ve had in the past have been replaced with Autogen now.


This was totally intended by the devs: if the vanilla version was too good nobody would fuel the multi million dollar aftermarket.


Agreed. There are examples such as Washington DC where they certainly would have at least made the White House or Washington Monument, but didn’t do so. And surprise… a week after release a third-party dev announced an upcoming DLC.

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[Citation Needed]

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From where I stand it looks like Adobo and have made an incredible platform, especially regarding the scenery and lighting. Looking at some screenshots you need to zoom in to see that it’s not IRL, but all those screenshots have one thing in common: they have been taken in one of the very few locations where Bing have decent imagery. For the vast majority of the world this is unfortunately not the case and the result in the sim is accordingly. I really hope they will increase their efforts and amp up their game, because if they do we are in for a real treat! The technology is there, it just lacks proper data.

Edit: I think I’ll have to reconsider that statement. Over the area where I live (Swedish countryside) the imagery is at least 10 years old and the quality is poor. However I just did a fast sweep over some other areas in Sweden that look rather crappy in the sim, for instance Malmö with its famous Turning Torso, the tallest building in Sweden, and it turns out Bing has bird’s eye views there with very sharp imagery. I haven’t been there in the sim myself but I watched a guy on YouTube that flew there and that was a bit of a disappointment. Linkoping is a city with a population of just high of 100 000 that I mostly take off from in the sim since I work there doesn’t look particular nice either, but even that place have been covered by their Bird’s eye view. That makes me wonder how that AI is actually working or if they don’t get the latest data? On the other hand, isn’t AI a technology that is supposed to improve itself over time? Perhaps it’s still “learning” how to interpret the data from Bing and will improve over time. Let’s hope that’s the case


It really depends on what you’re looking at too. Stuff like landmark buildings are lacking in the non-featured areas, but lots of the landscape scenery is still spectacular. It’s so far ahead of what we had before that it’s not even comparable.

And, like you said, it’s only going to keep getting better! \o/


Get real… I’ll tell you what, if you can do a better job, then please feel free!!!


It’s worth noting as well, in such a thread… Microsoft generally don’t have their own satellites or planes taking the photographs.

They’ll usually buy it from a third party and implement it into their platform. There is a local mapping provider called NearMap that has absolutely fantastic and up to date imagery. It used to be free for a long time and was vastly superior to Apple, Google or Bing Maps however they reverted to paid access only, and the subscriptions were out of reach for an individual that just wanted to check if the bins were out that day the mapping got done.

I’m curious to see how third parties are going to better the base mapping as I can’t see it being economically feasible to purchase high quality satellite or aerial imagery and resell it for Flight Simmers.

I really quite liked ORBX Australia in P3D. It wasn’t photo-realistic but it definitely provided enough detail to work out when you were flying around towns, suburbs and cities that looked uniquely Australian.

I was thinking about this issue today. I was contrasting Dovetail Games’ solution to texturing the whole world in Flight Sim World (yes, I still fly that sim), with that of Asobo’s in MSFS 2020. Two technically and artistically different approaches to the same problem - both flawed. Then there’s XPlane and, of course, the original MSFS X.

In all cases, it’s a Herculean task - actually, I think the very definition of a never-ending job. I suspect Dovetail games were as relieved as they were disappointed that FSW went the way of the Dodo. Looking at their unfinished opus now it’s easy to see that the work which still lay ahead in fully rounding-out their partially-realized world was unimaginably immense, perhaps even potentially hopeless. I worry that with MSFS 2020 Asobo might be staring into the same bottomless abyss.

They’ve talked about ‘quarterly regional map updates’ using the latest Bing data… but it’s a bit vague (no promises) and I frankly suspect they are well-aware of the fool’s errand they’ve set themselves.

I hope they manage at least a few rounds of updates. I’ve seen plenty of very sorry-looking regions in this release version of MSFS 2020 (I spend most of my time flying around SE Asia) and I can see there’s - perhaps understandably - a great deal of remedial work to be done to get these often broken, visually and technically incomplete maps fixed. And that’s on top of maintaining the flight sim’s systems and aircraft and the million-and-one other things which either need fixing or people are requesting be included.

Think they’re gonna need a bigger dev team. Several teams.

Asobo were on a loss from the start when you consider people like the OP. Unless they handcrafted every single persons local hill, tree, house, pub and landmark they were always gonna have people whinge at them.

Asobo should have handcrafted all the things people have whined about on here and released the game in 2064 instead. An entire planet accurately (not perfectly) but accurately portrayed using nothing but AI and handcrafting where possible is just not enough for the eagle eyed local is it.

OP, i suggest going back to FSX, like you said - it just does a so much better job :+1:

On a side note i thought i was reading a Game of Thrones E-Book the number of times FOR SHAME was used.