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Insights from the gaming industry

Vehicle Simulation Games

Vehicle simulation games are a genre of video games which attempt to provide the player with a realistic interpretation of operating various kinds of vehicles. This includes automobiles, aircraft, watercraft, spacecraft, military vehicles, and a variety of other vehicles. The main challenge is to master driving and steering the vehicle from the perspective of the pilot or driver, with most games adding another challenge such as racing or fighting rival vehicles. Games are often divided based on realism, with some games including more realistic physics and challenges such as fuel management.

Definition: Vehicle simulation games allow players to drive or fly a vehicle. This vehicle can resemble a real one, or a vehicle from the game designer's imagination. This includes vehicles in the air, on the ground, over water, or even in space. Different vehicle simulations can involve a variety of goals, including racing, combat, or simply the experience of driving a vehicle. These games normally allow the player to experience action from the visual perspective of the pilot or driver. Although "racing games are often sold in the sports category," Rollings and Adams argue that "from a design standpoint, they really belong in ... vehicle simulations"

The market for vehicle simulators is "divided between the purists and the casual players". A variety of vehicle simulators have been created to serve both markets. Purists demand total accuracy, whereas casual players are less concerned with such details. This level of accuracy depends on how damage, physics, environment, weather, and controls are implemented. For example, accurate flight simulators will ensure that the vehicle responds slowly to their controls, while other games will treat the plane more like a car in order to simplify the game.

In both driving games and flight simulators, players have come to expect a high degree of verisimilitude where vehicles are scaled to realistic sizes. These types of games usually utilize a highly accurate time scale, although several flight simulators allow players to fast forward through periods where there is nothing interesting happening. In the case of space or water vehicle simulations, the gameplay physics tend to follow those of flying and driving simulations.

These games will add variety by having a variety of vehicles with different performance characteristics, such as sharper turning or faster speed. Many games make use of real life vehicles, including military vehicles or cars from major automobile manufacturers