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RAF_Blackace
2010-Mar-10, 01:11 AM
Maybe there are and I just don't know.

But if there is a market for games that simulate submarines, why are there no games that simulate a space flight.

A nice Apollo mission would be nice.

Wouldn't you just love to make all the course corrections and burns and bring that sucker down ?

Not to mention the launch with all the possible alarm conditions.

Time is not a factor for sim enthusiasts. Just look at all the people who play flight sims and actually do a 12 hour flight in real time. But you could have a fast forward like many sims do anyway.

I have yet to see or even hear of a space flight sim. Why ?

Spoons
2010-Mar-10, 01:20 AM
I'm guessing you already googled to check for them, so maybe these aren't very good versions, I don't know, but the wiki pages throws up Orbiter and Microsoft Space Simulator.

The wiki page does say though, as you suggest, that it's a "dead" genre.

It would be very cool to mess around with one though. You could always set it up so you can make use of save points in case you have a job or something.

Orbiter is freeware, from as late as 2006 - maybe worth checking out. Linky dink (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbiter_(sim))

PetersCreek
2010-Mar-10, 01:20 AM
Orbiter (http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/) is a very nice sim at a great price...free.

My favorite has been Eagle Lander 3D (http://www.eaglelander3d.com). The latest release is still in a developmental state but it promises to be excellent.

The previous version is still pretty darn nice. The free download puts you in command of the Eagle during the terminal phase of the descent. The paid version lets you command other missions at various points in the descent, walk around on the surface 'til your heart's content, and take off again. You can also rendezvous and dock with the CSM.

I broke down and bought two 3-axis controllers: one for the attitude control and the other to use as the TTCA.

Spoons
2010-Mar-10, 01:27 AM
Peterscreek - how much do you think you actually need to spend in order to get decent quality controllers for flight sims? (I don't know whether it's kosher to mention model details, but if so...)

PetersCreek
2010-Mar-10, 01:39 AM
While I have a full set of Saitek yoke/throttle/rudder controls for conventional flight sims, I didn't spend so much on the sticks for EL3D. I already had a Saitek Aviator on hand and bought another brand (a Logitech, I think) to make the set.

Spoons
2010-Mar-10, 01:44 AM
Thanks for the details!

Siguy
2010-Mar-10, 01:58 AM
Personally I think just a plain numpad works best with Orbiter; I have a Logitech Attack 3 joystick and I just couldn't adapt the controls to it. The extra axis is hard to account for.

Keep in mind that Orbiter is a very hard simulation, and its basis is in simulating space physics. Without addons there is no sound, crash physics, very little planetary detail, and of course not much to see along the way. I got into it for a while but just got bored.

sarongsong
2010-Mar-10, 02:20 AM
Maybe there are and I just don't know...Why?
You didn't ask Google!

Results 1 - 10 of about 842,000 for space flight sims (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=opera&hs=I5B&rls=en&ei=mQGXS47fF5D4sQPH6KzCAQ&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&ved=0CAQQBSgA&q=space+flight+sims&spell=1).

Swift
2010-Mar-10, 02:48 AM
Alpha Centauri is sort of a space-based version of Civilization.

Dgennero
2010-Mar-10, 02:57 AM
Celestia (http://www.shatters.net/celestia/) I say :)
Look here e.g.: http://www.shatters.net/celestia/images/gallery/florida.jpg

01101001
2010-Mar-10, 03:19 AM
Certain super computers had simple lunar-lander simulators. After we all got good at landing, we turned our competition into getting to the surface the fastest with the least remaining fuel.

Power dive! Full throttle!

Invert. And... touchdown.

mugaliens
2010-Mar-10, 07:04 AM
I'm pretty sure there's a Shuttle Orbiter de-orbit to landing mod for X-Planes.

Oh, yes, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfMVU68NJiU

You'll have to watch it to the end, as the secret is only revealed in the end.

However, here's the link to X-plane's mention of Space Shuttle deorbit to landing, so it may actually be part of x-planes: http://www.x-plane.com/pg_Meet_X-Plane.html

Nicolas
2010-Mar-10, 09:23 AM
Eagle Lander 3D is the best if you're looking for Apollo sims.

High end graphics and realistic physics.

Glom
2010-Mar-10, 09:26 AM
I remember Microsoft had a space simulator decades ago. I tried to fly to Mars by pointing my spacecraft at Mars. Never did get there.

Nicolas
2010-Mar-10, 09:32 AM
Mr Hohmann eats you for breakfast. ;)

Provence
2010-Mar-10, 11:01 AM
I've got an interstellar space flight simulator. It has a static display of stars on the screen and no sound on the speakers.

Jens
2010-Mar-10, 11:08 AM
Personally, I don't think a space shuttle launch simulator would be very interesting. You don't steer very much, just punch commands into a computer, and can't see very much out the window.

How about an elevator simulator?

Provence
2010-Mar-10, 11:09 AM
I've got one of those two.

NEOWatcher
2010-Mar-10, 02:07 PM
...I have yet to see or even hear of a space flight sim. Why ?
The White House cancelled them. :whistle:

HenrikOlsen
2010-Mar-10, 03:02 PM
I think this Pratchett quote is relevant:

Wobbler had written an actual computer game like this once. It was called Journey to Alpha Centauri. It was a screen with some dots on it. Because, he said, it happened in real time, which no-one had ever heard of until computers. He'd seen on TV that it took three thousand years to get to Alpha Centauri. He had written it so that if anyone kept their computer on for three thousand years, they'd be rewarded by a little dot appearing in the middle of the screen, and then a message saying. 'Welcome to Alpha Centauri. Now go home.'

PetersCreek
2010-Mar-10, 04:34 PM
A couple of videos I made of Eagle Lander 3D:

Apollo 11 descent to landing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O6pGrOeSdI), beginning at initiation of P64 (4:44)

LM/CSM rendezvous & docking (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1frq32WBEPQ), starting at about 150 feet RTT. (3:10)

Swift
2010-Mar-10, 07:47 PM
How about an elevator simulator?
Here (http://qw88nb88.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/elevator1.jpg) is a screenshot from mine.

DaveWilliamStar
2010-Mar-10, 07:54 PM
There are some sims out there that simulate the Space Shuttle and I think there are others. There are free trial versions and there are ones you have to pay for. You can find them by doing a search for something like "space flight simulations" on the Internet.

Siguy
2010-Mar-10, 08:29 PM
Eagle Lander 3D is the best if you're looking for Apollo sims.

High end graphics and realistic physics.

Er, hardly what I'd call "high end graphics". But then again the only high end space graphics you'll find are probably those in Shattered Horizon, which is hardly a sim.

rommel543
2010-Mar-10, 09:59 PM
There may be something like this out there, but what I think a good space flight simulator would be is one that you need to design the craft, test it, flight test it, etc.

Imagine building (in game) stuff like Armadillo, Virgin Galactic, etc are coming out with. Having to test out the thrust, fuel consumption, balance, vibrational effects, etc. The designer could build in realistic gravitational and environmental effects, etc. I'm envisioning the first level is to build a craft capable of making to space and back. Then LEO, and manned LEO. Ohhh the possibilities.

tofu
2010-Mar-10, 10:21 PM
Celestia (http://www.shatters.net/celestia/) I say :)
Look here e.g.: http://www.shatters.net/celestia/images/gallery/florida.jpg

How much have you played with Celestia? I'm wondering what the experience is like when you fly a ship from one planet to another.

For example, in Orbiter there are instruments
http://orbithangar.com/addonpics/NavMFD.jpg

that you use to plan the trip and to tell you how much your actual trajectory deviates from the plan so that you can make course corrections. A trip from Earth to Mars for example involves a prograde burn from Earth orbit, a normal burn en route to align your solar orbital plane, and probably a burn of some kind to capture into Mars orbit.

My impression of Celestia, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is that you can point a ship at a target and fly there - and that's about it. Maybe it's improved significantly since I looked at it years ago. But in my opinion, Orbiter's instrumentation is what makes it a simulator, and there is significant instrumentation.

Van Rijn
2010-Mar-10, 10:33 PM
I'm guessing you already googled to check for them, so maybe these aren't very good versions, I don't know, but the wiki pages throws up Orbiter and Microsoft Space Simulator.


I bought Microsoft Space Simulator when it came out - this would be back in the early '90s. After my initial excitement, I tired of it very quickly. I remember not being very impressed with the graphics, sound and detail (and this was on a 80386 class computer, so by today's standards would be very primitive). There were a couple of scenarios that were initially interesting, but it wasn't enough of a simulator to keep my interest.

grant hutchison
2010-Mar-10, 11:06 PM
My impression of Celestia, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is that you can point a ship at a target and fly there - and that's about it. Maybe it's improved significantly since I looked at it years ago. But in my opinion, Orbiter's instrumentation is what makes it a simulator, and there is significant instrumentation.Celestia isn't a spaceflight simulator; it's a space simulator. So the interface for moving from place to place is just as basic as you describe. There are add-ons and scripts which allow you to program all sorts of interesting trajectories and spacecraft manoeuvres, but you certainly can't take it out of the box and fly a space mission: if that's what you want, you don't want Celestia. :)

Grant Hutchison

slang
2010-Mar-11, 01:05 AM
This one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuttle_Training_Aircraft) seems to be pretty realistic for part of the mission.. but not very accessible to the average person.

Stregone
2010-Mar-11, 04:09 AM
X-plane can handle earth orbit, but nothing beyond that. Unless something has changed recently, I haven't played it in a while.

Glom
2010-Mar-11, 07:30 AM
How about an elevator simulator?

That's called SimTower isn't it?

Nicolas
2010-Mar-12, 01:32 PM
Er, hardly what I'd call "high end graphics". But then again the only high end space graphics you'll find are probably those in Shattered Horizon, which is hardly a sim.

That was my point. OK, it's not that much compared to, say, Crysis. But as far as space simulators (not just games) go, it's got high end graphics. The fact that it has 3D graphics at all already makes it high end in the genre. ;)

But seriously, the new (upcoming) version has nice 3D graphics, especially of the LM interior.

http://eaglelander3d.com/images/newversion/virtual2.jpg
http://eaglelander3d.com/images/newversion/virtual3.jpg
(note that this is a 3D cockpit, no static 2D render)

http://eaglelander3d.com/images/newversion/moon1.jpg

TrAI
2010-Mar-12, 02:56 PM
As I see it, the real problem with space flight simulators is the market is rather limited, they require quite a bit of knowledge to use, and very few people are interested in sitting there for months or years playing at getting to mars, so you probably have to break the simulation by using some sort of time compression, either by speeding up the time flow, or jumping to the more interesting events..

If it is a sci-fi game with space flight, you might make the time compression a part of the game setting, like in Frontier, where ships are equiped with a slowed animation system, the Stardreamer, or use in system FTL, like the SPEC drive in Vega Strike (http://vegastrike.sourceforge.net/)(the later versions, the early ones had in system jump drives) or the Local vimana flight in Noctis (http://anynowhere.com/). The problem is of course that these are mostly games, with rather soft science aspect. Though Frontier had several simulation aspects, and a system like the Stardreamer might be possible, though I expect that one would hardly wake up into normal awareness instantly in the real world, like the player of Frontier is when his/her ship is attacked.

Anyway, real space flight does not seem very action filled in average, especially in a simulation where you do not do all the routine and science stuff that a real mission is likely to do, so most people will not find it very appealing, and therefore the space flight simulation scene is a rather specialized one, not very big, and is unlikely to appeal to the big developers with the cutting edge resources as an area to invest in.

The focus of current stuff with a space setting seems to be action(often the good old "lone survivor/fighter standing against the horde of aliens that somehow overcame the entire ships company or all the inhabitants but fails to take out one person that only has a limited armament of personal offensive and defensive gear"-genre or just flying missions for some reason or other), RPG(trade, fighting, piracy.), adventure(puzzle solving in a space environment) or a combination of these. Also, multiplayer or MMO games of these are popular. Though, of course, there may be more focus on realistic physics simulation for these types of games in the future, total realism is unlikely.

This really did turn out to be a long post for saying essentialy nothing much, so I think I'll stop here...:shifty:

RAF_Blackace
2010-Mar-15, 02:07 AM
Actually. I really appreciate that link to Orbiter. I am running the whole of the Apollo 11 mission and am currently trying to figure out how to un-dock from the service module and re enter. The help files have been absolutely hopeless which is half the fun. The docking has been fun though. There is a lot of Auto this and that in it, but looking at the displays I am quite happy about not having to calculate every orbit parameter. If it was not for the LEM auto program for takeoff from the moon and rendezvous with the CMD I would never have survived. As it was I was lucky to even land, one of the pads was about 4 feet from the edge of little west crater, and that sucker is a big crater.

What has been even more fun is the real time radio recordings of conversations on the real Apollo 11 mission. The sound of the telemetry makes it really realistic, when he said picking up some dust I actually was !!. The whole flight recording plays in time with you as you progress through the mission.

Not bad, not bad at all.

billy2
2010-Mar-17, 03:26 PM
If it was not for the LEM auto program for takeoff from the moon and rendezvous with the CMD I would never have survived. As it was I was lucky to even land, one of the pads was about 4 feet from the edge of little west crater, and that sucker is a big crater.


Not bad, not bad at all.

Yeah, I've been stuggling with this. Apparently you can't land at the Historic site on auto pilot as Neil Armstrong had to adjust to put the LM down 'forward' of the west crater. I imagine it's been programmed this way as a challenge.