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Google PC Games (Games)

Google Earth Flight Simulator 187

Posted by kdawson
from the now-that's-an-easter-egg dept.
insidedesign writes "Blogger Marco has recently discovered that the newest version of Google Earth includes a flight simulator. Though simple in comparison to full-blown simulators, Google Earth's is fun and addictive. To get started, press Ctrl+Alt+A for the initial dialog (on OS X, Command+Option+A). Then choose your plane (F16 or SR22) and initial airport. Joysticks are supported; it has even been reported that force feedback works. The game's controls are sensitive so it takes some getting used to. Here are all the available controls. For a quick overview, check out this YouTube video."
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Google Earth Flight Simulator

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  • by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Saturday September 01, 2007 @08:54PM (#20437329)
    That is freaking AWESOME!
  • Re:Pentagon? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Saturday September 01, 2007 @10:00PM (#20437663)
    Flying close to the ground is pretty crappy anyway. Apparently there are 1500 foot rolling hills in central Arkansas. But flying from the whole-earth view in space down to little houses is awesome.
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Saturday September 01, 2007 @10:00PM (#20437665) Journal
    Not yet, it's not. Google Earth has a long way to go to become a good citizen on the Mac.

    -jcr

  • Re:Wise Guys! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Purity Of Essence (1007601) on Saturday September 01, 2007 @10:50PM (#20437899)
    Maybe that's a nod to subLOGIC's FS2, the first home flight sim to feature real locations and airports. Chicago's Meigs Field was the player's default starting point.
  • by cashman73 (855518) on Saturday September 01, 2007 @11:11PM (#20437991) Journal
    I wonder if this is one of those projects that came out of Google's "20% time" policy, where engineers are given 20% of their time (one day per week) to work on a project of "personal interest"? It's plausible, since this isn't exactly a main feature of google earth. Then again, Google Sky might have been a 20% time project, too?

    Bill Gates is probably going to be real pissed if this starts eating into his M$ Flight Sim profits, especially if (a) this remains free and (b) Google expands it to include more aircraft and options.

    On another note, I wonder if they could make this a network thing, so perhaps we could have dog fights with other users in the air? But the feds would probably put a stop to that, since that would also require Google to install live missiles and bombs in the simulator, allowing people to start bombing various structures in google earth,...

  • Re:Sweet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cathector (972646) on Saturday September 01, 2007 @11:16PM (#20438011)
    of course it shows hills and everything. have you used google earth ?
    imnsfho (keepin it retro) GE is one of the most significant application of computers since internet searching,
    and layering a flight-simulator on top of it is [just] a great extension of an awesome core technology.
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @01:14AM (#20438429) Journal
    I'm a private pilot, and the other simulators disappoint. They are good for practicing Instrument procedure, and to a certain extent, airplane maneuvers, but for just plane fun (pun intended) they are weak.

    Most of the joy of flying General Aviation (small) planes is the view - nothing like it anywhere else, including that commercial jet. (which rockets up to 45,000 feet in 10 minutes where you can't see jack) Flight simulators have typically given depictions of the landscape - patterns that are rough analogies of what you'd actually find out the window.

    But this is the real McCoy! Resolution is still weak, and the plane handling characteristics are lousy, but when I'm flying 5,500 VFR over the East Bay, it actually IS the East Bay. I noticed that once you've started the Easter Egg, you can re-launch from any view, which let me spin a few circles above local Oroville, CA.

    I recognized everything and had no trouble finding the local airport, and successfully landed the very first try in the SR-22. Since I've never flown an SR22, I had to stall it first in the air to figure out what my approach speed should be - about 70 knots seemed about right.

    Really, if they put some spit and polish on this, it could give FS X a real run for its money - for just plane fun, it already rivals FS X!
  • Re:Pentagon? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MassiveForces (991813) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @02:05AM (#20438589)
    Actually I think all this talk of aiding terrorisim is arse backwards since flight sims are everywhere anyway. I expected the plane to bounce off the ground and just be arcade style at first, but it actually crashes and then places you far enough away from where you crashed to do a rerun of navigation... to your 'target'. So since you have to be connected the whole time to use it properly won't this just tip off the people at google HQ that somethings up if say people in certain locales start crashing into the Pentagon a bit too much all of a sudden?
  • by Raven737 (1084619) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @02:46AM (#20438769)
    I just wish there was a way i could pre-cache a certain area at the highest detail level.
    As it is now, it only starts to download when you are already in an area which means
    that you are always seeing sub optimal detail levels when you fly into new areas.

    For Google it should be easy to make a simple position prediction algorithem (including z) to prioritize
    map content area and detail level download. Especially in a flight sim it should be fairly easy to predict
    near future positions with a relative high degree of certainty.

    Oh well, i was still having more fun playing this then i was playing MS FlighSim X...
    Performance probably had a lot do to with that, but also the fact that high res.
    aerial pictures for everything is simply better then crappy generated (i should say composited)
    detail textures for most everything.

    Of course this is this and MS Fligh Sim is something totally different in terms of scope and realism.
    Nevertheless, this is free, fun, quick and simple and for me that simply wins :)
  • by bazorg (911295) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @04:28AM (#20439197) Homepage
    nah, it's pointless because Mac users are undeserving.

    When Google released Desktop Search for Mac, all I could read on Mac forums was "meh, nothing new compared to Spotlight" "meh, what do we need this for?" "spotlight is prettier", etc.

    The other day, Openoffice.org announced a release candidate native for OS X... all I could read on Mac forums was "this is nice, but it's not really Mac-like", "I'll just save £59 and wait for iWorks 2008", "meh, MS Office is better", etc.

    so, unless Google decides to charge £20 for all its betas as shareware, I don't think that the Mac users will really care. Good for everyone if the folks at google don't waste too much time with OS X native versions and just get the stuff working for those who look at what the software can do instead of what it looks like compared to Steve Jobs' Commandments for iApps.

  • by HAKdragon (193605) <hakdragonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday September 02, 2007 @09:50AM (#20441279)
    Now if only somebody could port this as a plug-in for X-Plane.
  • by 4D6963 (933028) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @10:56AM (#20442043)

    I'm a private pilot, and the other simulators disappoint.

    Even X-Plane [x-plane.com]?

  • by fm6 (162816) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @02:58PM (#20444705) Homepage Journal
    It pretty much has to be. I can't picture anybody getting an Easter egg like this as an assignment.

    I used to be blown away by the way impressive new features appear in Google products with little or no fanfare. Contrast this with the way most companies treat every little achievement as if it were the Second Coming. But now it seems obvious that these things are released so quietly because nobody knows about them, except the people working on them. And that much uncoordinated work in not a good sign in a software development org.

    You might wonder if I'm making too much of this. After all, it's only 20% of their engineering effort. But is it? It's hard to keep track of how developers spend their time even when you have good managers. And Google barely has any managers. People I've met who work there talk (and sometimes complain) about low manager/contributor ratios and almost almost no supervision. Which makes me suspect that many folks spend most of their time on their "20%" and only do enough of their official assignments to avoid pissing off their managers — managers they hardly ever see. Meanwhile, serious bugs go unfixed and major projects lag behind schedule.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @12:16AM (#20448567)
    > Now if only somebody could port this as a plug-in for X-Plane.

    http://www.chriskern.net/code/xplaneToGoogleEart h.html

  • by LKM (227954) on Monday September 03, 2007 @12:40AM (#20448731) Homepage
    As a user of all three major OSes, I would argue that it would do Windows and Linux users a lot of good to be a bit more critical. Looking at the apps available, there's a reason Mac apps are generally more polished: Mac users complain about stuff like that and will ignore (and thus eventually kill) crappy apps.

    Please, people, learn something from Mac users. Don't accept crap just because it's free.

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