Microsoft x Asobo: From video game to virtual 3D aviation innovations

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We’re getting better with Microsoft and Asobo Studio. Indeed, the two actors prepared 14 years after the last edition of the world-famous flight simulation game. The latter is Microsoft Flight Simulator. Since its release last August, the game has been at the top of sales. The success for the game is global. Indeed, the game now has more than 26 million unique flights and more than a million players. To stay true to reality, Microsoft used Asobo Studio to establish the environment for Asobo Studio. The studio has adapted with state-of-the-art technology to shape the game world, its graphics and the cockpits of aircraft.

Effective and innovative collaboration between Microsoft and Asobo

For example, Microsoft’s new flight simulator was introduced on August 18 in collaboration with the Asobo studio. Microsoft is the leader in productivity platforms and services in the territory. For more than 30 years it has been present in the French digital ecosystem. It provides solutions for each individual and organization so that they can achieve their ambitions, in a world based on cloud and mobility. It has more than 1,600 employees at its Campus in Issy-les-Moulineaux. It is through this place that he wishes to convey his openness, his creativity and his collaborations. The group is rich with more than 10,500 business, technology, public sector players, researchers or start-ups or responsible actors.

For this collaboration and in order to reproduce the environment of the game microsoft chose the studio Bordeaux Asobo. Founded in 2002 it has now become entirely independent. It is the origin of 24 video-game experiences all over the territory, whether on PC or console. Alongside Microsoft Flight Simulator it is rich in references such as the open-world car racing game FUEL , or A Plague Tale: Innocence. All three of these games have been hugely successful, critically acclaimed. In particular, they have made significant sales records. Asobo Studio has prestigious partners such as Disney Pixar, Codemasters, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Focus Home Interactive and it employs 220 developers. To realize the world of the game Flight Simulator in the most realistic way possible the studio used innovative techniques.

microsoft scans planes
3D scan of a real airplane cockpit for the making of the Microsoft Flight Simulator video game. Photograph: Artec 3D

From reality to gaming, 3D technology at the heart of creation

To design the game the Asobo studio used 3D scanning technologies. The aim is to precisely recreate the cockpits of different aircraft models. Indeed most players are expert pilots or gamers for whom flight simulation no longer has any secrets. In this sense the game accurately reports the details of its latest version.

To achieve this, the studio crews had to move through tarmacs to scan the planes on site, whether two-seater aerobatics or wide-body aircraft. Within a few weeks, the scanning operations were carried out using the Portable Artec 3D Leo scanner. Once the scans of the planes are processed on a computer to be optimized with the Artect Studio software. It is this software, which allows the scan to come to life and process 3D data. So for every plane scanned the studio spent about a day of computer processing.

Thanks to this technology Asobo was also able to save a significant amount of time. Indeed Artec 3D Leo can scan any type of objects. It is therefore faster to scan an existing object than to manually recreate it with modeling software.

We were able to capture a large amount of data in a very short time, while changing angles very quickly.

Nicolas Favre, Vehicle artist at Asobo Studio

In addition, beyond being fast the technique of scanning allows an identical return of objects. Thus, the landing gears and the different fuselages seem more true than life for an even more realistic gaming experience. Indeed for Artec 3D’s director of business development:

With this approach in the production of simulation games, anyone can take place in a cockpit that is, to the millimeter, identical to the original. It’s just amazing to see the results as Asobo gets to create the Flight Simulator planes. The Artec Leo scanner is used for aircraft design, as well as for quality control of their parts and it’s really exciting to see that everyone can now enjoy 3D models usually reserved for engineers in the aviation industry. This opens the door wide for many videogame productions, but also for virtual reality and augmented reality.

Andrei Vakulenko

The Asobo studio wants to be constantly at the forefront of the latest technologies. Through this project he also wants to set up a system of “idea lab” to develop future innovative projects and new and more realistic videos.

Thus, Microsoft manages to offer a re-edition of its simulation game Microsoft Flight Simulator even more accomplished. The simulation game is more realistic than ever. It is the result of a collaboration with the Bordeaux studio Asobo Studio. But also the introduction of new technologies to realistically transcribe the world of the game. A technology that allows us to approach reality almost to perfection while saving considerable time. Today we see the game evolve to become a way to take place in an immersive and playful experience. It is also an opportunity to see an openness and an interesting potential for virtual reality. Fans of the simulator are waiting for the virtual reality version scheduled for late October or early November (2).


(1) Press Communication – Asobo / Microsoft – Artec 3D Application Case

(2) Microsoft Flight Simulator: An upcoming update to the United States – Article of October 2, 2020 –


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