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Simulation video games

Vehicle simulation games are a genre of video games which attempt to provide the player with a realistic interpretation of operating various kinds of vehicles.[1] Rollings and Adams note that "the vast majority of vehicle simulators are flight simulators and driving (usually car-racing) simulators"[1]. This genre also includes simulations of driving trains, spacecraft, boats, tanks, and other combat vehicles[1].

Mastery of vehicle control is the element which encourages players to continue playing, even after the game's goals have been completed.[2]

Contents

Game design

The market for vehicle simulators is "divided between the purists and the casual players".[1] A variety of vehicle simulators have been created to serve both markets. Purists demand total accuracy, whereas casual players are less concerned with such details. This level of accuracy depends on how damage, physics, environment, weather, and controls are implemented.[1] In both driving games and flight simulators, players have come to expect a high degree of verisimilitude where vehicles are scaled to realistic sizes.[3] Games usually take place in a highly accurate time scale, although flight simulators allow players to speed things up for parts of the flight where there is nothing of interest.[3]

These games test the player with physical and tactical challenges.[3] Most vehicle simulations involve some form of competition or race, with a clear winner and loser. However, "some vehicle simulations aren't games at all"[1] in that players are not competing for victory.

Sub genres

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Flight simulator

Flight simulators "tend to fall into military or civilian categories".[1] Military flight simulators demand that players "achieve the mission's objectives, usually attacking enemy aircraft and ground installations".[1] Civilian flight simulators "seldom have any victory conditions, unless they implement racing or specific challenges, such as tests of speed and accuracy".[1] Some notable flight simulators include FlightGear, Microsoft Flight Simulator and X-Plane and other military simulators such as Lock-On

Racing games

Racing games "tend to fall into organized racing and imaginary racing categories".[1] Organized racing simulators attempt to "reproduce the experience of driving a racing car or motorcycle in an existing racing class: Indycar, NASCAR, Formula 1, and so on."[1] On the other hand, imaginary racing games involve "imaginary situations, driving madly through cities or the countryside or even fantasy environments".[1] A more serious car racing simulation will treat fuel as a resource, or wear out the car's brakes. But other vehicle simulations do not bother simulating these factors.[3]

Rollings and Adams note that "racing games are often sold in the sports category," but "from a design standpoint, they really belong in ... vehicle simulations".[1]

Spacecraft simulator

Spacecraft simulation games are almost always science fiction games.[1] Realistic space flight simulators are more rare, because "spacecraft behave far too slowly and delibately to make for an interesting game".[1] The Wing Commander series is a popular example of this type of game. There exist few realistic simulators, however, such examples include Orbiter, Microsoft Space Simulator, and Space Shuttle Mission 2007.

Train simulator

A train simulator is a computer program that simulates rail transport operations. This includes other kinds of railborne vehicles, such as a tram.

Vehicular combat simulator

Vehicular combat simulators include tank simulations and mecha simulations. These simulations are seldom fully accurate[1], improving speed, visibility, and weapons to appeal to a wider audience.

Watercraft simulator

Most watercraft simulations are of "powerboats or jet skis"[1], but also includes simulations of submarines and sailing ships. Examples include Ship Simulator and Virtual Sailor.

Trucking simulator

In a trucking simulator, the player is put in the position of the driver of either a freelance or employed truck driver. The goal is often simply to upgrade trucks, explore, and amass wealth and fame. One such example is 18 Wheels of Steel or Euro Truck Simulator.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Rollings, Andrew; Ernest Adams (2003). Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design. New Riders Publishing. pp. 395–415. ISBN 1592730019. http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com/1592730019/ch13. 
  2. ^ Howland, Geoff (1999-07-09). "Game Design: The Addiction Element". GameDev.net. http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/article263.asp. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  3. ^ a b c d Rollings, Andrew; Ernest Adams (2006). Fundamentals of Game Design. Prentice Hall. http://wps.prenhall.com/bp_gamedev_1/54/14053/3597646.cw/index.html. 

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