News from KFO

Feb 13, 2013

Orienteering Simulations

Orienteering Simulations - games for you to play
Category: General

I suspect many orienteers have not encountered the several orienteering simulation games that have been around for several years – some go back to 1999, others are more recent. They allow you to run around a course, using a map, recording your time as you go. They are fun to try, but do have some drawbacks. Some are too naïve in appearance or give little ability to control what is happening; others, while having quite sophisticated graphics don’t seem to come close to giving the feel of a real run in the woods. Aligning the map and recognizing the terrain are major problems for me – maybe you would disagree. Often descriptions of what to do, what the game does are poor. Help files containing descriptions of which keys to use to play are often tenuous. Some games will reproduce your route on the map when finished, a very salutary experience!

You can download free demo versions of all these, if you want to get some feel for them. Have a go and let me know what you think.

Several sites give brief reviews:

Orienteering Games looks at Catching Features (CF), one of the more realistic games; Oriantica, which like CF uses OCAD to create the scenery from a map; WinO; and Suunnistsimulaattor which has the best graphics, is a more recent Finnish product  - see below.

Orienteering Games for the Computer is an archived review of most of these, but a bit long in the tooth, now.

Suunnistsimulaattor comes in two versions, Finnish (which is free – but a problem for non-Finnish speakers, even when armed with Babelfish or Translate Google); and, of course, English – the demo is free, but not the entire thing. The graphics are very good, but the system can take a long time to load on my aging laptop (anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes), and my poor old laptop gets extremely hot, presumably because of the graphics.

If anyone knows any others, please let me know