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Looking for Good Space Exploration/Simulation Games

post #1 of 3
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My mom is taking care of 3 young girls for a bit and they've developed a fascination for space stuff. They're only 5 or 7 or so, but I still want to encourage this healthy interest in a scientific field if I can. I remember my dad nurturing my sister's interest in dinosaurs and today she works in a museum building full-scale models of the dinos (among other things). At first I thought Space Engine or Celestia would be a good place to start, but those are too broad, and the UI is too mature for them. And to be quite honest I get very confused with the inverted-axis/field-of-view they use...

I remember seeing on a friend's iPad there were tons of neat solar system map apps. Most of them with nice UI and smooth transition when observing a planet vs observing the solar system at large. Those would be perfect, but I don't have an iPad. I do have an Android but the screen is a bit small. I'd love to show them this sort of thing on my mom's computer (which is connected to her big-screen TV), but I can't find anything like what I'm looking for. Are there no simple Windows 7 space sims that just provide a nice intuitive 3D map of the local neighbourhood?

This one looked promising, but the damn thing has gone iOS exclusive... http://www.explorethesolarsystem.com/Purchases_PC.html
Edited by PhilippeLemay - 5/20/13 at 8:19pm
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post #2 of 3
Being a fellow space buff I've accumulated a few space simulators / sandboxes. The first I'd recommend is "Orbiter", it's comprised of flying spacecraft called "delta-gliders". You can launch from the ground, dock with other delta's, eject from spacecraft, dock with the ISS, move the ISS, and have full realistic control the entire time. The best part is Orbiter is completely free and will run on anything from a underpowered netbook from 2010 to an amazingly over-powered gaming PC. The next sim I'd recommend takes a bit more experience to get used to but it has much more creative possibility, this sim is called Outerra "Anteworld". It's an Indy game engine who's key purpose is to model the earth and mars in 3d with real GIS data and have it run fast enough so you can fly around it. Let me put it this way, AnteWorld has a keystroke dedicated to rendering and placing a scale model of the ISS. The Outerra Engine based "AnteWorld" is $15 but it is SO worth it.

Links --> Orbiter Simulator ~ Outerra AnteWorld

- chmodlabs biggrin.gif
post #3 of 3
Universe Sandbox on Steam. Great little game for space fans.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/72200/
 
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