Slope Soaring Simulator
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Most recent version: 2.17.3 released 21 Jan 2006.

SSS is a free, open-source flight simulator with an emphasis on gliding around interesting terrain. "Features" include:

  • It is written in C++ using OpenGL and GLUT so is portable between MS Windows and Linux/Solaris etc under x86 (though a few aspects do not currently work under big-endian machines).
  • The aerodynamics part of the code is well separated from the rest. Currently a component approach is used (reading in from text-based configuration files), but it would be very easy to add in a different aerodynamics module (e.g. one based on crrcsim).
  • There is a separation between the aerodynamics, physics and graphical parts of the glider, making it easier to write new modules. For example, a glider can currently be drawn either using the aerofoil-components, or by loading a 3DS file (exported from 3D Studio Max).
  • The aerodynamics model I have implemented uses a component approach - i.e. each model consists of, say, 5 independant aerofoils, each with their own properties. This means that it is easy to create a glider with any number of aerofoils that you want. There are no hacks in the code just to make things "look right".
  • Components other than aerofoils are supported - e.g. fuselages, propellers (with cyclic/collective/speed control), "skis" etc allowing other things to be constructed - e.g. helicopters, sledges etc.
  • Crrcsim glider files can be read in, using the crrcsim graphics and aerodynamics (
  • "Robot" pilots are simulated, using exactly the same aerodynamic models etc as the real pilot (but rather pathetic AI at the moment!).
  • Thermals are simulated, including downdrafts and the inflow/outflow effects at the bottom/top.
  • Dynamic soaring is possible!
  • Very basic collision detection/response between objects.
  • Basic support for multi-player - one-to-one anyway. Includes lag/jitter correction and ability to send text messages.
  • Demo and racing modes (timed, or with robot/networked opponents).
  • The terrain is simplified using the Lindstrom/Pascucci (2001) continuous level of detail algorithm (CLOD) with geo-morphing and view-frustrum culling. This allows highly detailed/extensive terrain to be used. The processing of the terrain takes into account the sea-level to ensure that the level of detail is increased where detail-changes are most noticible.
  • The terrain and wind field can either be loaded from file, or calculated at run-time. The artificial terrain generation options are currently mid-point displacement and a superposition of gaussian peaks.
  • Most things (e.g. terrain textures, physics/aerodynamics parameters graphical detail etc) are configurable at run-time using a collection of text files.
  • Many things can be configured at run-time via a GUI.
  • Mouse or joystick (up to 6-axis) control + keyboard for some things.
  • 3D Sound (Using FMOD)
  • Can be run as a screensaver.
  • Licensed under the GNU General Public License.

If you download and try SSS, please email me and let me know what you think of it. Even if you just don't think it's very exciting, let me know so I can do something about it! Also let me know if there's anything you think you could help with (coding, aerodynamics, getting hold of real terrain data etc).

Any comments etc, please email:


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