Re: The games are all crap; let's make a decent one.

Date: Fri Jul 21 2000 - 17:56:15 MDT

In a message dated 7/19/00 10:20:43 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> I read a review of MS Space Simulator saying that it was very realistic; too
> realistic to be playable in the reviewer's opinion, although he did concede
> that hardened space-heads would lap it the punishment. You guys seen this
> game?

It was one of the last "games" I spent a LOT of time with and was, without a
doubt, the best over-all space simulator I ever encountered. It had some odd
characteristics that indicated that developing it had not been a high
priority in MS. It was a DOS-based game and was never happy in Windows. In
fact, I tried to run it in Win98 and it was a no-starter (probably good for
me). Even when it was new the graphics component wasn't that good -- not up
to then-current state of the art.

The basic ballistics algorithms were great, though, and I had a lot of fun
tweaking orbits. I can recall spending a frighteningly large amount of time
playing at lowering the perfectly circular orbit of a spacecraft around Luna
to the absolute LOWEST possible altitude. Unfortunately, the graphics engine
wasn't great, so you didn't get the images of craters and mountains zipping
past that would have been nice. Also, the aerodynamics simulation when you
were in the Earth's atmosphere was piss-poor, especially considering the
state of MS's Flight Sim in those days. Something that seems like it would
have been a natural to do would have been to marry the two with a good
interface, so you could shift back and forth between the two with the same
vehicles. No such luck: MS let Space Simulator die, with no upgrades.

Finally, there was no good ballistics analysis tool to help generate
rendezvous calculations -- you had to "cheat" or spend unreasonable amounts
of fuel guestimating to do a rendezvous.

I suspect that the market for a REALLY accurate space simulator must be
small, or someone would have done it . . .

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
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        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
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       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
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