I admit it: I'm completely addicted to Battlestar Galactica. And after watching countless episodes, I was convinced I could bank and spin a Viper, the show's signature spaceship, like a pro. So to prove it, some friends and I built a full-cockpit flight simulator to enable total immersion in the BSG universe.
The key for our team was to make a structure that would truly give the feeling of being at the fighter's helm. We started by MIG-welding a steel frame to position the controls and enclose the player, who sits in a leather seat recycled from a junked Mazda 929. Sealed and painted plywood covers the frame, while a yellow steel "gantry" provides a step to simplify entry—and holds a 42-inch Vizio LCD television.
A separate box houses a PC running Beyond the Red Line, a simulation game designed by BSG fans that lets you pilot the Viper. Since the game accepts only one input device, we had to use extra software to make it read the joystick, throttle and pedals as a single controller. Now it easily handles all the ship's crazy X-, Y- and Z-axis twists and turns. It's a joy to fly, but wannabe hot dogs take note: It turns out blasting Cylon raiders is a lot harder than it looks on TV.
For a look inside the BSG flight simulator, launch our gallery here.
How It Works
Cost: $850 | Time: 2 weeks
Structure: Cage and his team welded pieces of one-inch-square tubing to form the three boxes that make up the sim's shape, connecting the narrower top box with angle steel. The plywood shell is attached with screws, and fiberglass-laced body filler closes up any gaps.
Controllers: Cage used PPJoy, an open-source application, to mix multiple controls—Saitek's X52 joystick, throttle and Pro Flight pedal set—into what appears to the game as a single input device. The joystick controls roll and pitch, while the pedals control yaw, just like a real aircraft.
Buttons: The flight controller's more than 30 buttons and switches map to the Viper's guns, missiles, afterburners and various navigation options. The joystick buttons let you target enemies, look side to side and backward, and fire thrusters to move the Viper sideways or vertically.
Pretty sweet , it reminds me a little of the flight simulator; for flight training, just you know a lot more fun. and with pretend lasers, but maybe not so pretend in few years after the last how it works cast.
The Red Line, a FreeSpace 2 conversion, is available at http://www.game-warden.com/bsg/
FreeSpace 2 - a space shooter of the 1990's, went open source around 2001 - becoming the FreeSpace 2 Open Source Project.
It is now freely available and since, has been given the royal treatment in terms of gameplay and improved graphics. Even now, the gameplay is still considered superior to that of the XCom series, - FreeSpace being the quietly spoken underdog of the genre.
It includes a level editor and nice easy open standards. Any monkey with a copy of 3D Studio Max and their wits about them can go about creating new ships and with the included level editor, entire campaigns.
Find out more at http://scp.indiegames.us
Does anyone know who this guy is if so can you please e-mail me at Mjohns0469@gmail.com... I have a few questions
Great podcast!! I remember watching Battlestar Galactica as a kid, and love the new reimagined one that's on TV now.
Seems like it took a lot of work to build that Viper simulator, but I'll bet it was a labor of love.
Keep up the great work, Chuck!
Wow. To build all of this for a game that's still in a demo stage (an excellent demo, but still)... That's dedication.
I'm glad to hear it plays Beyond the Red Line, not the piece-of-junk (by all accounts) official version, which is actually called Battlestar Galactica. Beware of getting them mixed up.
Makes me want to jump in and waggle my wings.
that's a neat "pimp my battlestar galactica".
just a random thought, is there a mouse in that thing?
there is a mouse.
check the botom right corner of the pic.
man that was a cool thing that you did with battle star galactica i want to do that and i wiil try its really cool
I want one of those!!!