My first completed (or thereabout) pico-8 cartridge. As you might guess, I have a soft spot for "2001, A Space Odyssey", and this work is my tribute to it (and other "optimistic" Hard Sci-Fi, a sadly endangered genre).
The gameplay is admittedly a bit basic: you simply shuttle between two space stations (one in low, the other in high orbit), using as little fuel and time/oxygen as possible. The final score is 1000 points for each successful docking, minus 10 points for each fuel and oxygen unit consumed (both replenished after each docking).
Orbital dynamics are accurate, apart from the timescale obviously. Directional arrows control the thrusters of the Orion shuttle, "Z" is for docking when close to the hub of your destination station (the "selection" box will flash when this is the case). Delta-V is deliberately ignored (too hard to manage, particularly at this breakneck simulation speed! ;-)
Everything else is pretty much self-explanatory. Press "X" when docked to exit the game and see your score. The orange curve is of course your craft's projected trajectory. Labels on the edge of the screen indicate the direction of each space station (useful when out of sight). The "F" and "O" values near the centre of the screen are your current "Fuel" and "Oxygen" reserves (I kid you not!) Running out of either will end the game, as will entering the atmosphere (zero score!)
I hope you enjoy practicing your orbital flight skills!
Very technically accurate game. Yes, I was definitely thinking of 2001 Space Odyssey, especially when I saw the flying space station rings, I was immediately reminded of it.
Good idea for a flight simulator, outside Earth's atmosphere - in space !
Definitely deserves a gold star.
Thanks for the nice comments dw817!
For those who find orbital trajectories confusing or difficult to judge/plan, I sympathise, but that's just how it is! :-) With some practice, you'll get better at it. I can pretty much keep going forever now (i.e. never running out of fuel/oxygen). Typically, replenishing my stock costs me under 500, so I make an average 500+ points per docking.
A good rule of thumb is: if you wish to make your orbit more eccentric (elongated): accelerate when at perigee (nearest to the Earth) or decelerate when at apogee. If you wish to make it less eccentric (more circular), do the opposite.
I'm right there with you minsoft (about the abridgement of The Blue Danube). Unfortunately, I'm no musician and just getting these few dozens of notes about right took me AGES! :-)
Still using my replies to other community members' kind words to give some advice to beginners...
Slowing down at perigee will rapidly reduce the average radius of your orbit, which, as any FiDO (Flight Dynamics Officer) at NASA will tell you, is a very fuel-efficient way of gaining angular momentum (slingshot effect). Useful if you're trying to quickly "catch-up" with a space station on the other side of the Earth (try to fly as close to the upper atmosphere as possible).
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