Training is required to correctly interpret NVG imagery. Training night operations with simulated intensified imagery has great potential. Compared to direct viewing with the naked eye, intensified imagery is relatively easy to simulate and the cost of real NVG training is high (logistics, risk, civilian sleep deprivation, pollution). On the surface NVG imagery appears to have a structure similar to daylight imagery. However, in actuality its characteristics differ significantly from those of daylight imagery. As a result, NVG imagery frequently induces visual illusions. To achieve realistic training, simulated NVG imagery should at least reproduce the essential visual limitations of real NVG imagery caused by reduced resolution, reduced contrast, limited field-of-view, the absence of color, and the systems sensitivity to nearby infrared radiation. It is particularly important that simulated NVG imagery represents essential NVG visual characteristics, such as the high reflection of chlorophyll and halos. Current real-time simulation software falls short for training purposes because of an incorrect representation of shadow effects. We argue that the development of shading and shadowing merits priority to close the gap between real and simulated NVG flight conditions. Visual conspicuity can be deployed as an efficient metric to measure the 'perceptual distance' between the real NVG and the simulated NVG image.