Tech

Have fun launching rockets with Orbiter 2016, which goes open source

Orbiter Space Flight Simulator is a free video game that has gone open source. Its goal ? Allow you to launch rockets all day long and travel in space realistically. In short, it’s a bit of the Flight Simulator of space.

You’ve traveled the world wide and wide with the new Flight Simulator and now you want to see new horizons? Maybe it’s on the side ofOrbiter Space Flight Simulator that you have to turn. Because with this video game, you will not be piloting aircraft, but spaceships – rockets, shuttles, capsules, including the most futuristic.

Let’s say it up front: Other than their love for simulation and the closeness of their name, the two games don’t have much to do with it. One takes place in the atmosphere, the other aims at space. They did not come out at the same time (the last Flight Simulator date of 2020, Orbit released in 2016). They are not the same people behind. As for the graphics… let’s not talk about it.

A space simulator that aims to be realistic

For those who follow video games a bit, Orbit remember Kerbal Space Program. The simulator is based on Newtonian mechanics and seeks to be realistic. This is also what it was designed for, because there was nothing satisfactory on the market. ” Tired of space games that insult your intelligence and violate all the laws of physics? “, Tackles the official site.

This bias is assumed even in the gameplay: do not expect to face aliens of all colors and shapes, or to trade with galactic civilizations. There aren’t really any missions to accomplish or stories to uncover. The challenge lies in the success of an orbit, re-entry into the atmosphere or a journey to another world.

Uh… Cabin crew at the doors and arming the slides? // Source: Zeewala

It’s a bit like the game proposed by SpaceX to simulate an approach to dock with the International Space Station: there is no particular mission, just pure simulation. It may lack fun, but it gives a good idea of ​​what a space flight is, from planning to execution. You don’t necessarily leave Earth as easily as sci-fi movies show.

Orbit however, allows itself to put a foot in science fiction: there are certainly in the game historical and current space vehicles, but also potential and even very futuristic ships. We can also travel to different places in the solar system: the Earth, the Moon, Titan, the Sun, Mars are some of the points of interest that we can approach, virtually at least.

Already free, the game is now open source

Why talk about it now, then? Because the game has gone to open source, with a dedicated license: a message to this effect has been published by the manager ofOrbit July 27 on the forum to announce the news and the source code is available on GitHub. Clearly, anyone with both the time and the expertise can contribute to improving the game.

Martin Schweiger, the game’s designer, admits that it has not been able to evolve as it should in recent years, because it has been monopolized by the vagaries of life. Also, for the purpose of ” keep Orbiter alive and allow others to work on it », The person concerned chose to entrust it to the community. There is no question for him to give up his title, but he is not sure of his level of commitment for the future.

I still hope to work on future Orbiter improvements, but I can’t make any promises or commitments. One of the more pressing issues is getting the code to be 64-bit, but that requires getting rid of the DirectX 7 dependency (and ideally replacing it with DirectX 11), but it’s a major undertaking that I can do. succeed or not) », He explains.

The game was already free before the announcement of the switch to open source. If you don’t necessarily want to dive into the source code of the game, you can go grab Orbit via this download page. It takes at least 3 GB of disk space to download it, even more if you decide to take texture packs in high definition. Furthermore, Orbit is open to expansions and mods.

Have a nice trip and Godspeed.

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