THE WORLD OF SIMULATORS AND VIRTUAL REALITY
The first simulators were very basic, they used either lines, outlines or simple block graphics, and came in the form of car racing or flight simulators.
Although they were good for the time they lacked realism, they did not really follow the real physics of flight or of driving, and were very jerky in movement.
As computer graphics and the use of advanced programming have improved, along with introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), simulators have taken on a complete new light, no longer the simple 'Arcade Game' they have evolved into a product that can even be used as a training medium, challenging professional simulators that cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Flight, car racing, and over recent years simulators representing everyday driving of Lorries and Buses lead the field in popularity and quality, but there are now simulators for many other occupations or hobbies, from cookery to building, train driving to fire-fighting, along with the first-person shooter war games.
The quality of graphics, especially the movement, reactions and apparent choices made by AI characters have made theses simulators fully immersive, They are no longer just games, they are a virtual world that you can enter, experience and thoroughly enjoy.
SO WHO USES THESE SIMULATORS?
The best answer is 'Anyone', some use them just to pass the time, others will use to experience what it is like, some utilise the advanced abilities of modern day simulators to learn the basic principles, e.g using a flight simulator to gain initial insight and understanding and master skills before taking up flying. There are the 'Die-Hard', those that take it one step further and build actual cockpits costing thousands of pounds and replicate the insides of various aircraft, complete with fully working controls, switches and display screens, and they follow the exact rules and methods of a real airline.
Many of these simulators can now be played in Multi-player mode online, you can race against real life friends, or use them for 'Role Playing Gaming' (RPG's).
There are many websites and video sources available that cover the game style or war game programs, but this WOO section will concentrate more on the top-end driving and flying simulators currently available, along with those that make use of the 'Open World'.
It will also include information of the many add-on accessories and equipment designed to enhance use. As it can be a very expensive hobby, we will also show where possible, cheaper alternatives or D.I.Y. methods for those with more limited budgets.
Most household's now have some form of computer, whether it be a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. But not everyone has a degree in computing, and sometimes you need just a little help and advice in making them work for you and your needs, or help with some maintenance to keep them up and running.
The Woo-Tech section has information that will help you, from budget computing and free software, anti-virus, email, scams and phising, to help choosing passwords.
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