We were pretty excited by the prospect of location-aware software and its ability to pull map data into its functions, but what do you get when build software on top of a map-based service? Well, one possibility is 2D gaming on real maps.
Geoquake developed a 2D driving sim that uses a Flash app to interact with Google Maps. The game lets players enter any location in the world and drive around in various different vehicles. It was made by using Flash and the Google Maps API for Flash. Unfortunately, there is no collision detection or any other form of distinguishing topography from roads, so it’s a little more like flying over the area than driving on it.
For intentional flying, there is this flight simulator that works with the Google Earth browser plugin. It does exactly what you would expect, allowing users to fly a somewhat crudely rendered airplane using very simple controls over any location on (Google) Earth. If there’s anything you don’t like about it, though, you are free to edit it by using the author’s API and polygon editor. The simulator is Windows-only.
We know these are really simple, but bear in mind that these are the first games to incorporate real, semi-live map data. We’re sure there will be more games like these, but given the availability of the tools used to build these games, we wouldn’t be surprised if people took it upon themselves to make them more complex, visually rich, and fun.