Dartmouth from above: New game offers pilot's perspective

Sep 10, 2020

Ever wondered what Faunce Corner looks like from hundreds of feet in the air?

 The most recent installment of Microsoft Flight Simulator — a video game that allows players to fly airplanes anywhere in the world — lets you do just that. 

The game features photorealistic views of terrain, plants, and buildings from all over the planet, drawn from more than two petabytes of satellite data.

Players start from an airport — 37,000 of them are included in the game — and can choose to fly anywhere on Earth, even Dartmouth. 

"Geographically, I'd say the virtual version of Dartmouth is pretty accurate," said resident and former Dartmouth Week editor Douglas McCulloch, who posted screenshots of a recent flight over the town on Facebook.

From the air, he said, many of the town’s natural landmarks are easily recognizable — especially the coastline, village centers like Padanaram, and large buildings like schools.

The game does get some things wrong, McCulloch noted. 

Boats appear to be absent from Padanaram harbor, leaving the village rather empty. And the iconic Gulf Hill Bucket isn’t visible at Apponegansett Park.

But despite the flaws, McCulloch said it was fun seeing a virtual Dartmouth from above.