Gamers playing the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator have stumbled across a huge black monolith in Melbourne, accidentally created by a typo.
The next generation of the simulator was launched on Tuesday, giving users the opportunity to fly across the world from the comfort of their homes.
Players who took to the skies in Melbourne quickly noticed the giant 212-level building towering over a quiet suburb in the city’s north.
The narrow pillar was built into the program after developer Asobo Studio used data from Bing Maps, which pulls information from OpenStreetMap, a free service which can be edited by the public.
A year ago, a user named ‘nathanwright120’ edited a house in Fawkner, accidentally adding 212 levels to the building.
Players have suggested the change was a typo, as the user’s other edits appeared to be to scale.
The error has been a popular sight among simulator users, with one managing to land their aircraft on the giant pole after 38 attempts.
Another person tweeted: ‘In Microsoft Flight Simulator a bizarrely eldritch, impossibly narrow skyscraper pierces the skies of Melbourne’s North like a suburban Australian version of Half-Life 2’s Citadel, and I am all for it.’
Gizmodo tracked down the man responsible for the Fawkner monolith – a 25-year-old architecture student.
Nathan Wright had been contributing to OpenStreetMap for a university task that wasn’t assessed, expressing his amusement that the error had gotten so much attention.
‘We had to go in and put data about the suburbs into OSM. It was very monotonous and I made a few mistakes but I was like ‘f***it, I don’t care,” he said.
Fawkner and the whole city of Melbourne remains in Stage 4 lockdown amid a second wave of coronavirus infections.
In Sydney, Microsoft Flight Simulator players also noticed the iconic Harbour Bridge linking the city to the north was just a road over the water.
The game features a ‘hand-crafted’ replica of Sydney Airport. It is one of 40 airports created in high detail.
Microsoft’s 2020 version of Flight Simulator gives players control of everything from a Pitts Special S2S biplane to an Airbus A320 Neo or widebody Boeing Dreamliner.
Software advances since 2006, and the onset of artificial intelligence, gave the designers the ability to map out much of the world with startling clarity, from the azure seas of the Caribbean to the graceful peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The realism is heightened by real-time weather data derived from Microsoft’s Bing servers, which gives armchair aviators the actual conditions in their area of flight such as turbulence from thunderstorms, rather than generic clouds.