Archive for the ‘Windows Simulations’ Category

Satisfy your need for speed with TORCS

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of TORCS

If you've always wanted to drive a race car like a bat out of you-know-where, but are prone to getting car sick, you could have a problem. For you or anybody else with a need for speed but the inability to follow through—whether because of that motion sickness problem or the lack of a major corporate sponsor for your racing team—a racing simulator may be your best friend. TORCS may be just what the doctor—or the mechanic—ordered.

The Open Racing Car Simulator is an open source multi-platform racing simulation. Choose from dozens of different cars, tracks, and opponents. You don't need any special hardware, since you can drive using your keyboard or mouse, as well as a joystick or steering wheel. It turns out that there's a pretty big user community out there as well: you can grab additional cars and tracks from other websites to add to the official offerings.

TORCS is available for Linux, Mac (OS X 10.3.9 ), and Windows platforms.

Download TORCS

VirtualBox lets you play "what if" games with your system

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

screenshot of VirtualBox

Got a new app you want to try on for size? How about a new operating system? Unless you've got a closet full of computers, it's a non-trivial undertaking to set up a new system, to say nothing of the havoc the process will wreak on your current setup.

VirtualBox allows you to create "virtual machines"—a system that lives inside of another system. This allows you to do things like try a new operating system on for size without breaking the one you already have installed. Suppose you're running an XP system, but need to do something on a Win2k or even Win98 system. You don't want to throw away your XP stuff, so you go ahead and create a virtual machine. You can now run your down-rev application without impacting the "real" operating system on your machine. Want to try Vista on for size? It works the other direction, too: create another virtual machine and install it there.

VirtualBox runs on most x86 systems under Windows and many flavors of Linux.

Download VirtualBox

Make your PC desktop look like a Mac

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007


Do you covet the cool-looking Mac interface, while nevertheless preferring to use a Windows-based PC? One programmer felt the same way, and came up with "Fly a Kite", a program which will make your PC look like a Mac running OS X. The program is simply a "skin" for your Windows desktop, but it's full of options, plugins, and neat little tools.

Support for the program is extensive, quite a feat considering the website is run by just one person. There are detailed tutorials to get you started, and lots of helpful hints. There are also links to other websites offering free skins and add-ons. This is a great way to give your run-of-the-mill PC a stunning makeover.

Download FlyAKiteOSX

World clocks on your desktop

Monday, February 19th, 2007


Your Mom lives in Scotland, your sister lives in Vancouver, you live in Houston, and you plan to meet some friends from Australia online for a rousing multiplayer game later in the evening. How can you possibly keep track of all those different times zones? Luckily, you can download a program called World Time, a program with more features than any one person could ever possibly need. They don't call it the "Swiss Army Knife of clocks" for nothing.

For starters, you'll get unlimited configurable clocks, each with it's own time zone, configurable Daylight Saving Time, latitude and longitude designation (with a built-in world map), and description. Each clock can display as either analog or digital, in either 12 or 24-hour time. In addition, each time zone can have an unlimited number of alarms. World Time calculates and displays the Julian date, sun rise, sun set, moon phase, and hours of daylight along with the time. The program will synchronize your computer's system clock with a time server, and it minimizes to the system tray when not in use.

The software designers maintain a busy support forum, so they're available to handle both problems and suggestions.

Download WorldTime

Virtual PC, Free

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Need to run the occasional Windows 3.1 application, or yearn to play your favorite Windows 95 game every once in a while? You can do both, on your Windows XP machine, using Microsoft's free version of Virtual PC.

Virtualization is a concept that has been around for a long, long time. IBM was using it on its mainframe VM and MVS operating systems decades ago. But it’s only fairly recently that it’s taken off seriously in the PC world.

Conceptually, virtualization means to run an operating system on a PC or a server in such a way as to seem to the O/S or its users that it’s the ONLY thing running, whereas in fact it is sharing the machine with one or more other operating systems, all of them running on top of the operating system that the machine is actually booted up with. Each such “virtual” operating system has its own inviolable memory space and allocation of hard storage space, none of them can touch the resources belonging to another virtual operating system.

This is where Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 comes in. Microsoft is not the only or even the first manufacturer of virtualization software but it surely is the biggest and ought to be able to guarantee that its own OSes will run properly under virtualization! MSVPC2004 will run on both server and stand-alone PCs. It supports ALL Microsoft operating systems – from MS/DOS 6.2.2 through Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP/NT 4.0; it will also run OS/2 Warp 4. Hardware requirements range from 50mb disk and 32mb memory for DOS to 2gb and 128mb for XP. MSVPC2004 is free – this having changed only recently.

Microsoft PC Virtualization 2004

Free Flight Simulator

Friday, September 16th, 2005


Flightgear may be the closest thing to actually strapping yourself in the left seat. This flight simulator rivals commercial software like Microsoft Flight Simulator, delivering beautiful, realistic scenery, lighting, terrain, and flight controls. You can take off and land at more than 20,000 airports worldwide and can take command of dozens of different aircraft including the 1903 Wright plane and military fighter jets. You don’t need a top of the line computer to run the program, but plenty of RAM and a better graphics card will provide better results. Whether you are looking to burn some time flying the open skies, or want to supplement your flight school training, give Flightgear a try.

Get FlightGear

Free Space Flight Simulator

Thursday, August 25th, 2005


Do other space simulators leave you wanting more? Orbiter is as close as you can get to the real thing without strapping yourself in a rocket ship. With realistic and beautiful graphics, you can explore the nearest space station or take a trip around the galaxy. The program's emphasis is on realism, with views of space shuttles, space stations, and planets. You'll need a computer with a bit of power to run the program, including a 3D graphics card and at least 60 MB of hard drive space. Learning Orbiter will take a bit of work as well, but there are plenty of manuals to get you started on your space journey. (Even if you don't intend to install Orbiter, at least browse the lovely images in the Gallery section of Orbiter's web site.)

Get Orbiter