In the 80's we would often visit the city of Klagenfurt in Austria and go to a reptile zoo. My younger brother would immediately dash of towards the snakes to have a huge constrictor put around his neck.. those no-care 80's right?
My 8 year old self was more interested in the building next to the zoo: a planetarium with sight of the universe and my first exposure to the likes of Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre.
That memory has recently been rekindled as not only does the town of Cambridge, to which I moved recently, presents a stunning night-sky. Also I am lucky enough to be working on Elite: Dangerous, a video game set in 3300 which is all about the exploration of space within a newtonian correct star/flight model and really great sound from the audio team consisting of Dan Murray, Dan Varela, Joe Hogan, Duncan MacKinnon and Jim Croft. Hope you guys don't mind me promoting it a bit ?
The Galaxy map in the game simulates our entire galaxy, complete with moving celestial bodies and proper dynamics:http://youtu.be/OFcxygJfERY
All known stars and celestial bodies are accurately mapped wheras the rest is procedurally generated using the best current knowledge of our universe.
The in-game backdrop of stars that can be seen in the video is true rendering of the view from within that part of the galaxy.
Fly to Sol and you'll recognize the familiar constellations. Go anywhere else and you can view those same star signs distorted and warped.
Or you could, as I so often imagined as a child, find a star.. lock the ship onto it.. engage the hyperdrive and explore the solar system on the other side of the warp tunnel not knowing what wonders or dangers await.
With Star Citizen, No Man's Sky and many other space simulation games on the (event)horizon, it's great to see a genre revitalized.