Realistic space simulation?
July 20, 2007 10:03 AM Subscribe
I've recently been playing Freespace SCP and it's been making me think about realistic space simulation, and the lack thereof.
posted by RustyBrooks to Computers & Internet (26 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Freespace is a fun game, it's remniscent of X-Wing but somewhat more up-to-date. It's become an open source game so I encourage anyone who's interested to find it and check it out.
But, like X-Wing and every other space sim I've ever played, it's highly unrealistic. Problems include:
* it treats movement like an airplane in the atmosphere. There's a "thrust" control that sets your speed. In space, you would thrust to get up to a speed, then stop, then reverse thrust to slow down. In all space sims I've seen, you "step off the gas" to slow down.
* laser-like weapons don't move anywhere near the speed of light. They travel more like at the speed of projectiles.
* dogfight combat is all at close range, 1000 meters or less, at low speeds, generally something like 100m/s (about 220 miles per hour). This is RIDICIULOUSLY slow, I think. It seems to me that space dogfights would probably take place at ranges of thousands of km at very high speed. I have a feeling that the low speed and engagement range are so that you can use visual identification of enemy ships, if there were hundreds or thousands of miles away all you'd have would be computer readouts.
* There are lots of explosions and what not. I understand the need for this, because it's a game after all.
None of this stuff really bothers me, because it's all geared towards making the game fun, but it does make me wonder. Is it possible to make a space sim that's more realistic, that would be fun, or more importantly, even PLAYABLE? Are human reflexes just not up to the task? Is the concept of capital ships with fighter squadrons itself just a ridiculous idea?