back to article Geeks seek cubits for Battlestar flight sim

A group of students plan to build a motion-controlled flight simulator based on the Viper fighter from the TV series Battlestar Galactica, in an ambitious project to mount a real plane's fuselage on a platform capable of complete rotation. Five high schoolers and various mentors from the US have taken to Kickstarter to raise …

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Bah

"a motion-control platform with total 360-degree rotation on both the pitch and roll axes, creating a simulator more advanced than any commercial entertainment systems currently available."

So exactly like the 20-year-old R360 arcade machine then, just with the sides blocked in?

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Re: exactly like the 20-year-old R360 arcade machine then

That, but rubbish, and with a bit more 'Crane of Death' thrown in.

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Re: Bah

Pretty much. For those not in the know, see here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meYx9RuCAQY

That man is my hero.

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Happy

Re: Bah

But being penniless students, I'm guessing that they are going to be building this thing for much less than the $125K SEGA were selling the R360 for back in the day.

The R360 pretty much signed the death warrant for the Arcade industry. Arcades simply couldn't recover the costs of the machines that Sega were knocking out at the time. At 25c per play, it would be 500000 plays before the arcade broke even, even at 50c per play (still realistic 20 years ago) it would be 250000 plays before the arcade started making cash from the machine. And this doesn't take into account the 3 phase electrical requirements, nor the maintenance these machines required. I remember seeing these things in arcades just sitting there rotting with 2, 3 and 5$ per go signs above them, that kids (the target market) simply couldn't afford.

As an aside, the Space Harrier game in it's full motion cabinet is still my all time favorite game, and I've been attending arcade auctions now for several years to try and pick up enough working parts to get my own. An R360 would be nice, but I just dont' have the space :)

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Stop

TOS Viper would be easier...

...IIRC they "flew" just like aircraft anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Elite

A Viper police ship would be better, although what'd probably happen is that you launch from the space station and immediately get blasted to atoms by some cock with a Military laser.

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Devil

Re: Elite

And we all know how easy it was to "acquire" military lasers.

/hides disk editor

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"creating a simulator more advanced than any commercial entertainment systems currently available"

And more expensive. And more bulky. And horribly impractical. And outdone by any number of commercial non-entertainment systems and/or systems that *aren't* currently available any more. And not, actually, very realistic at all (you still can't fly upside-down without gravity making you feel like your feet have just pushed all the blood into your skull, for example).

As others have pointed out, these systems already exist. There's no reason to replicate them unless you can do something new. I don't see them being able to do anything new - in fact, I imagine the problems of reliably powering and talking to a system that's capable of 360 degree movement without tangled cables or dodgy connections would take longer to solve than they have.

Have fun, guys, but seriously - throwing a few hundred kilos of electrically-powered and electronic equipment around in 3D space without killing someone or breaking something is not as simple as you think.

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Alien

Huh?

I'm interested to know how they'll create zero G.

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Go

Nice project, but...

You'd only need the equipment to roll upside down if you were simulating a flight where gravity is a factor, presumably in the atmosphere of a planet. In space, all you need are visuals which tell you where everything is, plus some kind of mechanism to convince your body that it is experiencing acceleration/deceleration. Simulating something like a tight loop or roll is going to be extremely difficult - how are they going to force the pilot into his seat with some extra G forces? The cage can spin, yes, but it will need some serious forward motion if you want to simulate acceleration in a straight line. Even if all this is possible, it's going to take some heavy-duty physics number-crunching to produce something anywhere near realistic.

On the plus side, it's a high school project so perhaps their expectations aren't for 100% realism.

They can certainly expect to produce something capable of delivering a fun experience, so good luck to them. So say we all!

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Re: Nice project, but...

"You'd only need the equipment to roll upside down if you were simulating a flight where gravity is a factor, presumably in the atmosphere of a planet"

Incorrect.

An outside loop (ie nose down not nose up) causes negative G.

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WTF?

You guys are way too cynical

These are school kids, guys!

They have a dream to build something cool and it looks like they might actually achieve it.

So what if it has been done before? I wish them well.

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Re: You guys are way too cynical

Perhaps so, but the first lesson they need to learn is where to start, and they started at the wrong place. They built a huge whopping rig before having a working prototype -- they said that they've still to develop the Arduino code, but they should have got that up and running with a Lego or plywood prototype before getting the welding equipment out. I can't see how they're going to manage to retrofit the actuators into the bearings -- they might have to dismantle it and start again.

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