More Than a Space Game
To label this program as a game is to underplay the incredible realism of what can be described as a simulation. The software programs your TRS-80 or SYSTEM 80 to produce a complete and highly accurate simulation of the solar system. All the orbits of the various planets are correctly calculated, as are their orbital speeds and gravitational pulls. Each time the game is played the planets the planets and stars in the solar system are differently placed, but still in correct relationship to each other and to the Sun. Hence every game is different and presents different problems to the player.
The purpose of the game is to blast off from the planet of your choice and travel throughout the solar system. There are no prizes, no free goes, nothing else. If you succeed in making a landing on another planet then your reward is the thrill of having been able to do so. Believe us when we state that it really is a thrill. Part of the reason is that the game is unbelievably difficult because all the physical laws and relationships are obeyed. Although the player of this game has the help of a computer, it will only tell him the statistics of the journey. It remains for the player to decide how much fuel to take on, what thrust to use, whether to try to blast off slowly, or whether to launch at somewhat higher velocity. Apart from the flight data, there are maps of the other planets, of the inner planets and a close up view of a planet when the craft reaches a specific proximity. Superimposed on these maps is the position of the spaceship together with the last few positions that have been occupied. At all times, gravitational pull, the laws of momentum and various other considerations are acting on the crafts course. We should add that graphics are only a subsidiary part of the simulation, yet this program remains tremendously engrossing, attributable we feel to the high level of skill required to master ASTRO NAVIGATOR.