I’ve been looking at flight simulator stuff recently, and honestly I’m a bit taken aback by how low quality the scenery is compared to Google Earth. X-Plane even features a comparison, which I guess is supposed to make you think “wow that’s getting pretty close to how it really is”, but I can’t help but think “wow why don’t they just use what Google uses”:

X-Plane 11:

Google Earth:

It seems like it should be possible to license the data sets used in Google Earth to make it work. The flight sim community might be small, but presumably that means lower licensing costs as well. The only issue might be if they are too small for anyone to even want to bother dealing with.

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The data might need to be streamed (as Google Earth does), either for licensing reasons, or simply because of the huge size of the data set, but I really doubt there are many people flying on 56k modem connections these days, so it seems like that part should not be a huge issue.

Seems like maybe the biggest problem is that for an existing player, you’d be throwing away your existing scenery system (for the most part, you might want to keep it for doing more detailed airports and the like) and having to do something new, which could be a huge bit of worth for a relatively low selling product.

Anyway, maybe it’s not really realistic, but I’m clearly just annoyed that the Google Earth flight simulator, while obviously unable to match the competition in planes or physics modeling is vastly superior in terms of terrain and scenery. I’m also annoyed that it doesn’t recognize my flight stick...