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11

Peculiarly Vehicular

Microsoft’s ACES Studio are lovely people, but they’ve yet to see the wisdom in my regular ‘You know what would be great? An integrated MS Transport Simulator combining Flight Simulator, Train Simulator and Midtown Madness!’ interview interjections. They just don’t seem to realise how spiffing it would be to fly a Spitfire, drive a Spitfire, sail a Spitfire and fire a Spitfire all within the same seamless virtual World.

Ilan Papini, however, is a man that understands. He’s been talking about crafting a combo sim for years, and this summer finally got around to constructing the chassis. At present Vehicle Simulator feels a bit like Micro Flight (his ultralight-focused plane sim) gaffer-taped to Virtual Sailor (his saltier-than-narwhal-tears nautical sim). Even so, in the maddeningly brief 5 minute sessions permitted by the beta, the potential is visible. Don’t expect the realism or polish of an MSFS or X-Plane. Do expect intuitive mouse steering, luscious sunsets, and lots of opportunities for acting the giddy goat.

After the jump, some pics of me acting the giddy goat.

VS might not have the high-fidelity avionics, superlative weapon realism, or awesome dynamic campaigns of Falcon 4.0, but in far more important areas like sunlight modelling and poplar and swaying grass simulation, it’s leagues ahead.

The vehicle file format is close to the one used in Virtual Sailor so the lone Ranger should soon be joined by the flotilla of user-created tubs moored here.

Sophisticated swell simulation + a fairly accurate flight model + an improbable hook key assignment = messy carrier landings.

What Ilan’s sims lack in rigour they make up for in mood. Throw away your aromatherapy oils and your Little Book Of Calm and try ‘Hang gliding with a friend’ or ‘Sightseeing in Monterey’.

Oh, and here’s some useful keys:

F1 – cockpit view

F2 – external view

z – zoom in

x – zoom out

 

e – engine start/stop

5 – throttle down

6 – throttle up

c – hook toggle

g – launch hang glider

Page Up – add altitude

Tab – switch vehicle

k – full key list

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Tim Stone

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