Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rolling Out Version 0.2

I just released version 0.2. We are still talking about a beta version here, and I am still looking for help on reporting bugs and feature requests. But this version contains some great improvements:

- Animated aircraft parts
- The introduction of one of my favorite planes: the Douglas DC-3
- Revised physics engine and more robust collisions detection
- Tuned flight dynamics
- Moved to hosting on Google App Engine for faster response time
- Many bugs fixed

I'll start working on 0.3 right away as I have millions of ideas for making G.E. Flight Simulator even better.

Have a nice flight.


Friday, October 1, 2010

It's live!

GE Flight Simulator, the beta version of a new online Flight Simulator, based on Google Earth.

It's been years (6 I think) since I released the Sportstar Simulator. Overall, the game was running well and was fun to play. A lot of people enjoyed it very much: a fan even released a Youtube video of it :) Sadly, the big plans (more planes, worldwide scenery, etc.) I had in mind never came to exist, mostly due to lack of time and use of an outdated technology.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon "Ships" from PlanetInAction and realized how suitable the Google Earth plug-in would be to build a flight simulator, quickly, while enjoying the fantastic scenery it can provide.

So in the free time left to me between a full-time job and new dad responsibilities, I managed to put together a beta version for people to try out.

Here is a short list of the features already implemented:
- Worldwide scenery, thanks to Google Earth
- Three aircraft (The original Evektor Sportstar, a Piper J-3 Cub and a Cessna 172)
- Real-time physics
- Some (very) minimalistic weather simulation
- Sound and animated parts (trust me, this was non trivial using the GE plug-in)
- Joystick support, through this excellent browser extension
- (Basic) multiplayer

The GE-Flightsim will require a fast PC and a good graphic card in order to achieve comfortable performance: on my 2Ghz Dual Core + Gforce 9600 it runs a 60FPS but on my Celeron laptop with shared graphic chipset I only get 6FPS

Plenty of things still have to be fixed or improved:
- Collisions are not right and lead to jerky behavior of the plane on the ground (especially at low frame-rate). I am working on it.
- The model orientation runs into a gimbal lock situation under certain circumstances (90 degree tilt) hence the weird barrel roll the plane may do in that case.
- Building collisions are not realistic.
- and the list could go on forever...

I definitely need input from users in order to improve the GE Flight Sim and aim in the right direction: let me know what you think so I can improve it in future releases.

I am soon planning to open up the aircraft library to the public so people can create and add their own models. More to come on that subject in this blog.

Have a nice flight!