Thursday, 10 May 2012

Potential Simulators for the Project

Caterina and I (Riccardo) have done a search of space flight simulators, particularly focusing on anything written in Python or that can be interfaced to Python (since this is the language we have used for our BCI Analogue Mouse system).

Here is a preliminary list:
  • JPL have developed and used in a number of missions their own simulators. Two have caught my eye:
    • DARTS (which stands for Dynamics Algorithms for Real-Time Simulation) a general simulator for multi body dynamics (and on which other simulators are based). This could be very good for simulating the flying of a spacecraft.
    • ROAMS (which stands for Rover Analysis, Modeling and Simulation) which would be good for simulating rovers performing missions on a planet or something.
  • Vega Strike is a sort of a game of space exploration and missions. I've downloaded and installed version 0.5.1 on Ubuntu and it worked really well (note: I did not get it from the ubuntu repositories, since that is partly broken). Apparently one can create missions by Python scripting, but I haven't got round to test that. It would give us the possibility of running really realistic simulations. (One issue to consider is whether our BCI Mouse software would interact ok with it, since it grabs the mouse pointer and goes full screen.)
  • Space Commander is a physically realistic simulator of space travel entirely written in Python. I've already committed and adapted version 0.4 of the simulator (see changesets r3 and r4). Because it is written in Python and it is very compact I would suggest to use it to do the first few experiments. (Incidentally, it uses pygame, which I think is the same package Psychopy uses: Psychopy is used for stimulus presentation etc. in our BCI Mouse.)

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