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PC Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Orbiter Sim Gets You Spaced 24

stinky wizzleteats writes "Ever wondered why a space flight simulator never really got off the ground in the PC simulation scene? The answer is that it needed to be free. Dr. Martin Schweiger started the ball rolling a few years ago with Orbiter, a freeware Win32 DirectX based space flight simulator, in which you can fly orbital rendezvous, lunar landing, and even interplanetary missions. The current version has excellent graphics, including atmospheric descent and re-entry effects. There's also a burgeoning community of add-on developers, creating everything from sound add-ons and interplanetary navigation aids to complete working Apollo/Saturn 5 spacecraft. Virtual space agencies have even sprung up, using Roger Wilco and remote telemetry software (virtual mission control) to do Orbiter missions online. You can find the basic Orbiter files at Avsim or Sourceforge."
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Orbiter Sim Gets You Spaced

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  • Amazing Simulator (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dirtyhank ( 135909 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @06:12AM (#6159464) Homepage
    I've been "playing" Orbiter for over a year and it's an amazing piece of software. Beware it's nothing like those space combats games, this is a simulator with real physics. That's why it's very tough to control the first times you "play" it. But believe me, once you know the basic controls, how to read the different HUD, how to use the on-board computer and some basic space travel physics you'll be blown away by this simulator. BTW, print the manual, you'll need it.

    Launching the Shuttle into a low orbit is pretty easy, things get interesting when you try to recreate a Lunar landing mission, very cool. I still remember my first Mars landing, boy, that was tough :-).

    There're a few projects using Orbiter, one of my favourites is SimNASA [simnasa.org]. As you may guess it's a virtual NASA, you can join the agency and start being trained for future missions.
    • Oops, forget the SimNASA paragrah. I should read the stories more carefully.

      Sorry
    • How are the large timeframes of interplanetary travel handled in the simulation?

    • Launching the Shuttle into a low orbit is pretty easy

      Not really, atleast the manual doesn't seem to think so, and I've found in practice that it was fairly tricky until I understood the characteristics of that particular vehicle (part of the problem I had is that I've been studying kerosene/LOX vehicles, it turns out that the Shuttle behaves rather differently). Anyway, once I figured out the differences I managed a highly eccentric orbit, just, perigee turned out to be 90 km, by some miracle I didn't ree

    • This sounds really incredible. I have heard how amazing it is and you just reassured its appeal. Can you tell me more about it?
  • WINE (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hummassa ( 157160 )
    Does it run under WINE or can it be compiled under WINElib?
  • I always thought ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by torpor ( 458 ) <ibisum@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @06:40AM (#6159527) Homepage Journal
    ... that a NASA MMOPRG/FlightSim combo would be kind of cool.

    Imagine if you could join in an existing Space Program to build ISS, online, and participate in it somehow ... sort of an entire virtual NASA. 20 guys in Mission Control, 12 guys in Space, 8 on the ISS already, etc... that'd be fun, if the tech was right and well presented.

    Seems to me this would be a bit more intellectually stimulating than "Sims" or "Quake", anyway. I know for sure I'd be playing it, anyway...
    • ... that a NASA MMOPRG/FlightSim combo would be kind of cool.

      Imagine if you could join in an existing Space Program to build ISS, online, and participate in it somehow ... sort of an entire virtual NASA. 20 guys in Mission Control, 12 guys in Space, 8 on the ISS already, etc... that'd be fun, if the tech was right and well presented.


      Really? Why? Have you ever watched NASA-TV? It's incredibly boring and tedious. Why would you want that? Why would you want to be one of the 20 that sit in mission cont
      • Dude the whole point of MMORPG's is to give Geeks something boring to do in the name of 'fun'.

        Sheesh. Where do you get your Geek Pride?
      • Really? Why? Have you ever watched NASA-TV? It's incredibly boring and tedious. Why would you want that? Why would you want to be one of the 20 that sit in mission control and monitor telemetry. There's no science. Nothing new. Nothing exciting.

        Orbiter does have time acceleration, and most sim-missions have only a handful of people involved. The real fun comes in when something goes wrong. In fact, most of the really fun missions start with that premise - e.g. - we have to rendezvous and dock with a di

  • Hypersleep? (Score:3, Funny)

    by SaintElmo ( 661370 ) <psychohistorian_seldon@yahoo.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:16AM (#6159985) Homepage
    Just what I always wanted! A simulated flight to Alpha Centauri. Only 43092850943275209384709632 days left to go!
  • by kalidasa ( 577403 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @09:00AM (#6160380) Journal
    It will only run on Windows. And works best on Win98. It's like if the bare ceiling of the Sistine chapel had been made out of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese packets, and Michelangelo had painted his masterpiece on that.
  • I was scanning through the articles really fast and I just saw the link labeled "Roger Wilco" (didn't see the headline) and the first thing I thought was "w00h00 Space Quest!" but then I remembered that other bit of software that involves that name. Ahhh.. Space Quest ... how I miss thee.
  • Originally I was going to say something along the lines of "interplanetary missions? In a SHUTTLE?", but then I checked out some of the graphics, and came across something amazing.

    Anything game that uses this spacecraft [ucl.ac.uk] in it HAS to be good! Freaking awesome! Too bad it's only an 'add-on'. But _still_. The 2001 add-on is pretty great-looking, too.
    • Yeah, I like the Eagle. I made a version where the nose section can undock and land. You can find it at www.mciann.com/orbiter. It's Eagle version 1.02.

  • by PjSunray ( 193535 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @01:05PM (#6162905) Homepage
    I'd think a program like this would offer a great opportunity for high school AP physics/math classes to get some hands on experience with the nitty-gritty details of orbital flight. You could setup a stepped curriculum of increasingly challenging missions/milestones, encourage teamwork to solve the problems, etc. I wouldâ(TM)ve loved something like this back in the dayâ¦

    Oh yes, and Iâ(TM)ve been running Orbiter on and off for the past couple of years. Very steep learning curve, but itâ(TM)s well worth it. Iâ(TM)ve spent hours tinkeringâ¦trying to get really good at establishing precise orbits, finding the ISS, docking (unsuccessfully).

    Finally, WRT WINEâ¦I did try it (a while ago), and it seemed to work like most of the other semi successful games Iâ(TM)ve triedâ¦i.e. it kinda worked, but was missing some functionality. Oh, FWIW, I was using WINEX 3.0.

    no sig :(
  • Somewhat related; while space flight simulation seems to be quite covered by the free software, plenty of folks might find the Space Station Simulator [mistaril.com] by Mistaril pretty compelling. It's not open source, but at $19.95, it's a steal.

    Support the shareware game development. :-)

    Cheers,

    Jouni

  • Karma Whoring (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:00PM (#6165417) Homepage Journal
    If you dig the Shuttle Simulator, you also need to try Celestia [shatters.net] (solar system/outer space simulator)

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