Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Favorites: Driving, Sailing, Running, and Landing on the Moon!

Just like Ricky Bobby, I like going fast. Most of the time, though, going too fast in real life can be dangerous. That's why I also enjoy playing driving games and simulators—all from the comfort and safety of my own home!

The great thing is, thanks to the Earth API and Maps API for Flash, developers have built a flurry of simulator applications that are visually stunning, geographically realistic, and highly addictive. Below are some of my favorite simulators for driving, sailing, running, and even landing on the moon!

WARNING: I will not be held liable for any lost productivity resulting from these awesome apps!

Ships

Ships

Considered by most to be in the list of top Earth API apps, Ships is a highly polished simulator by New Zealand-based Dinther Product Design for a variety of sea vessels (and a blimp!). The visual effects (i.e. the ship's wake using animated ground overlays), camera angles, and detailed screen overlay-based dials make Ships an exceptionally fun and immersive simulator.

Primary API: Earth API

Race My Race

Race My Race

Although I don't have the endurance to run a marathon, I can still check out various marathon routes with the help of Race My Race! This app is a really fun way to explore the terrain along these difficult routes. And, if you're planning on running a marathon in the near future, this site can even help you prepare!

Primary API: Earth API

Sea-Seek Virtual Drive

Sea-Seek Virtual Dive

Ever want to explore the world's great bodies of water? Sea-Seek's Virtual Dive is perfect for just that! This app lets you commandeer a variety of air, ocean surface, and underwater vessels along coastlines and even in the deep blue sea! My favorite vessel is the 'Shark Sub,' equipped with a headlamp model.

Primary API: Earth API

Geoquake - Driving Simulator on Google Maps (Perspective)

Geoquake - Driving Simulator on Google Maps (Perspective)

The original, 2D version of this simulator was very impressive—it allowed you to drive a car or truck in a city of your choosing in a Grand Theft Auto-like perspective. This version, however, one-ups the original by utilizing the new 3D perspective in the Maps API for Flash with a 3D car model for a more realistic feel. A great game from a great developer in Japan!

Primary API: Maps API for Flash

Apollo 11 Moon Lander

Apollo 11 Moon Lander

Another gem from Dinther Product Design, this challenging, but very fun, minigame lets you attempt to land the Apollo 11 Moon Lander. I personally have never been able to land without crashing, but a few of my coworkers had no problem finishing with a successful 'Eagle Touchdown.' To them, I say: apply to NASA!

Primary API: Earth API

Gaiagi Driver

Gaiagi Driver

This is a super-mashup of a number of Google and non-Google APIs, allowing you to visualize—in every way imaginable—the driving route between two addresses. The demo really shows off what's possible with today's geo platforms. Very exciting stuff!

Primary API: Various

I hope you enjoyed trying out these simulators; maybe a few of you were inspired to write your own simulation apps! I bet we'll be seeing more and more of these types of apps in the future. 'Til next time, thanks for reading and drive safely!