Thursday, July 13, 2006

We gonna get busy ...

Flying in space with Orbiter is pretty cool ... but once you have reached orbit and that there is no burn to be performed ... what do you do? Sure it is nice to look at the earth zooming by down bellow your spacecraft ... or to perform an EVA, but .,. after a while it get a bit boring. This is not something that is only experienced by Orbinauts, even real astronauts experience boredom in space at time. Here's what Norman Thagard said about part of his trip to the Mir station back in 1995:

"... and I wound up not having enough to do, and that's not good, because what happens if you don't have enough to do, even though it's space flight and all of that, you still get bored. I mean, there's little by way of entertainment there, and you need to really be busy."

Now, there's a couple of way that one can deal with boredom in Orbiter, you can either use the time acceleration to skip to when something related to orbital mechanics, docking or reentry need to be performed ... or you can grab a good book and/or use an alarm clock to keep track of time while performing other tasks :-) A couple of 3rd party Orbiter's addon, like NASSP, have taken the route of trying to simulate the whole spaceflight experience with its hundred of complex tasks to be performed, enough to make you feel overworked :-) This is something that we're trying to implement in our addon, with the small variation that we would like to offer various level of player involvement in what can be seen by many as tedious and boring tasks (e.g: your virtual crew mates will cycle the cryo tanks when required).

Another thing we hoping to experience with, is adding some realism to the whole EVA business. Floating in space is cool, but there also boredom will creep in. Now, this will be tricky to do in Orbiter, but the idea is to simulate hand rails, safety tethers and interactions between the vessel body and the cosmonaut. Castorp and I have started talking about it, as we'll have an EVA to support for Soyuz 4&5, even so this is, by modern standard, a rather easy EVA. In any case, the whole point is to try to make it more fun (and more realistic we hope) ... we'll see if we succeed 9_9 ... (at least we'll have fun trying to implement it!)


Blogger Gary Williams said...

Sounds like a fun thing. Would be good to be able to do tasks on orbit.

3:30 AM  

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