Now that I’ve finally fought off jet-lag and the post-con blahs, I thought I’d spend a few days talking about stuff I saw at GDC that caught my interest. Hopefully this stuff will interest Tap’s community, too.
First up, a quick one: a video from software called Earthsim. Not a game exactly, but an engine and visualization project. Jump below the fold for more.
So it starts out all well and good, with mountains and water and so-on, and the detail is great, but – I’ll be honest – to me it was only okay. But if you jump to about 3:15 in the video, that’s where things get interesting. It also has the Moon! And Mars! And you can raise the water levels on Mars!
Apparently this project has been around for years, but these are the features that are new this year. Exploring a totally realistic solar system is kind of a childhood fantasy of mine. Remember that part in the first Mass Effect, where you go to the moon and it’s all cool because Earth is right there, but it won’t let you go there? (No, I haven’t played Mass Effect 3 yet. I hope it doesn’t spoil that moment.) I mean it’s like that, only you can go there. Or it’s like that one episode of the Magic School Bus, only without the buzzkill when the nerd kid gets his head frozen solid and dashes your hopes of space exploration for life.
Earthsim is a bit taxing on the graphics card, and requires DirectX 10, but it is a free download to view and play around with basic features. Obviously more of an educational tool than a game, but new tools can be fun.
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This looks cool, Amanda, I’ll have to try it out. Are there plans to license this engine? Any takers?
I don’t think there are games in it, but there is an interactive dinosaur sim.
You had me at “interactive dinosaur sim”.
How the hell is all that topographical detail put into the sim? It’s just staggering. By 2:00 I was in full ‘Oooo!’ mode but after 3:15 I was pretty much speechless. Amazing.