Everytime we ship a new version of Flight Simulator, I torture our Art Director, Jason, about the Giza Plateau. I've spent a lot of time walking around the Pyramids at Giza, the temples, the Sphinx, and the thousands of associated Old Kingdom tombs. So, of course, when I fly over Cairo and the Giza Plateau in FS, I want them to look exactly like real life.
We're not quite there yet but that's not Jason's fault. Technology and FS chase each other all the time and most PCs would display a slide show if FS had the detail that I'd like to see at Giza. I want to see the dig site where my archaeological team works, the pyramid quarries, the modern Muslim cemetery, the Wall of the Crow, the mastaba tombs...and the KFC that sits about 100 meters from the Sphinx's face. (Yes, friends, it's true. The Pyramids are not out in the middle of the desert but, in fact, sit on the edge of Cairo.)
Similarly, I want to see the Nile Valley vegetation stop short of the Plateau. But the vegetation is determined by land-class code and it would be difficult, given that we model the entire world, to get that kind of precision everywhere. A third-party dev could do it with a custom scenery addon (hint hint).
All of us who love Flight Sim have their little part of the world that they want to see rendered with the greatest fidelity possible. Some of the third-party scenery just makes my jaw drop it's so incredibly realistic. Users and third-party devs are also doing wonderful stuff with custom airports.
That's actually something I greatly admire and enjoy about our customers. Your passion for FS is remarkable, and your creative talent and drive is what, to me, makes the Flight Simulator Community full of energy and fun.
I keep torturing Jason about scenery at Giza and he keeps humoring me. But he never asks me to stop being so passionate about my two intersecting interests: Egypt and FS. We'll never ask that of you either.
Excellent post, Brian! I agree that everyone has they're favorite locale in the world, thus will want it to be done well within the sim. We know you guys at ACES have to be jack of all trades, and master of none - there's just not enough resources to make highly detailed scenery of every area that exists. Hence, the 3rd party market exists for this very reason. The same for us in the aircraft add-on market. There's no way to make every aircraft that people request - tastes vary, and you guys do a really good job catering to those who have different tastes of flying default birds - but you can't do it all. Those of us who make 3rd party aircraft are thankful of that as well :-)