More Geo-Games: Ship Simulator on Google Earth

google earth ships

At Google I/O 2008 the Google Earth API was released. It brought Google Earth’s 3D capabilities to the web (with the help of browser extensions). Since that release they’ve started supporting Macs. One really nice part of the Google Earth API is the ability to create games in the 3D world. One of the sample apps was the game Milk Truck. Since the release there have been some games, but now the day before Where 2.0 there’s a new one that been released.

Frank Taylor of the Google Earth Blog just posted about Ships, a new ship simulation plugin that uses the API (Frank’s movie review). It’s one of the Plugins he’s going to dissect in his Google Earth workshop at Where 2.0 tomorrow (use whr09rdr for 20% off that last-minute registration). has released the first version of a fantastic free simulation game which leverages the browser-based Google Earth plugin as the primary graphics engine. The game is called “Ships” and lets you take the helm on ships – barges, cargo ships, container ships, and even a cruise ship (the QE 2). Everything is in 3D, you can drive the ships anywhere in the world, there are sound effects, physical modeling, and realistic visual effects that makes this a wonder to behold. Not only that, but the author – Paul van Dinther – has created some great camera tools to make it easier for people to follow the action and see the sights. This is the best example of the Google Earth API I’ve seen to date.

Ships uses the
Google Earth API, Flash 8.0, and Javascript. He also used Soundmanager 2 for sound effects, and SketchUp for the 3D models. Not everything is physically modeled (the anchor doesn’t stop the boat).

Google Earth and its API are ripe for this type of game play. Google maps is the UI for the PS3’s Last Guy (Radar post). However, after seeing creations like this I am going to hold out for Last Guy on Google Earth. While I’m asking the internet for things, I’d love to see a Katamari Damacy on the 3D plugin. In the meantime I’ll have to make due with these Frank-Taylor-endorsed Satellite Debris Simulator and Paragliding games.

We still haven’t seen the 3D API rear its head on Google’s own site — I/O 2009 is next week, perhaps there? I think that when that occurs more users will download the extensions and sites will have an incentive to implement the API and there will be a chance of me getting Katamari Damacy.