The crazily detailed Microsoft Flight Simulator cuts its file size in half

The crazily detailed Microsoft Flight Simulator cuts its file size in half

This story about the extremely large file size epidemic, boiled down, in 2:18 minutes.

What's the fuss?

The acclaimed flight simulator just got a little lighter with an update that cut its storage burden on PCs. If other large games followed suit, maybe gamers could actually store all they games they've wanted to on their systems.

The situation

If you or someone you love has ever dreamed of becoming a pilot, Microsoft Flight Simulator may just be for you (or them). The game has been lauded by critics and gamers alike for its realism of both its controls of the aircraft and the graphical accuracy of the scenery. In fact, the flight simulator is so accurate that its has been used to formally train real-life commercial pilots.

At launch, the game required 170 gb (gigabytes) of a computer's storage space - which is equivalent to about 65 standard definition movies. This large file size was due to the game using insanely detailed topographic data from satellite imagery, which then is translated into 3D using machine-learning. Thanks to a recent update, optimizations to the game have cut down its size requirement to a more forgiving 83 gb, giving gamers the luxury of having free space to download more games.

Boiling it down

Although the issue seems like a petty one, insanely large game sizes have been a topical bane for many gamers. In the modern age, games must be fully downloaded to a device's hard drive, which is limited in size. Installing these large games reduces the drive's capacity for storing other potentially essential programs. Thus, gamers are either forced to delete other programs or purchase additional storage space to compensate - both pathways being an inconvenience.

Gamers have certainly made their qualms public. The resulting outcry has led to other developers attempting to find ways to reduce the file sizes of their own game, such as the infamous Call of Duty: Warzone. However, with textures and graphics becoming larger due to enhanced detail to take advantage of evolving technology, this initiative may become a more difficult task.

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