An RV Converted Into A Spaceship Simulator

Hackerspaces always breed innovative projects. The outlandish ideas that come out of these areas typically push the boundaries of what is possible. This giant spaceship simulator is no exception, which is normally housed at the London Hackspace.

It was created by a team of DIY hackers that wanted an immersive experience that didn’t involve virtual reality goggles. Instead, they chose more of a holodeck-type game that literally would shake the people inside the sci-fi styled caravan as they traveled through virtual space fighting aliens along the way.

The cockpit consisted of three seats – one for a pilot, one for a tactical officer, and one an engineer. Countless amounts of computer monitors, joysticks, switches, and a wide variety of arcade-like buttons line the walls inside.

The main radar screen was modeled off of the 1984 space trading video game named Elite, which has been a game geared toward virtual reality from its early beginnings. In fact, a recent sequel called Elite: Dangerous has quickly gained traction as one of the Oculus Rift’s most popular experiences so far.

The difference here is that the caravan acts more like a ride rather than a virtual reality game. Interaction with this simulated experience is hands-on the entire way through.

The whole game is run by another member of the team who controls the experience with two Android tablets in a back room, and can trigger an unidentified space creature (a friend with an inflatable tentacle arm) to attack the unsuspecting space travelers.

141036173395118The game looks like a lot of fun, and it will be exciting to see if this project inspires other engineers to develop something similar. Perhaps someone will make a room into a Dreamatorium play area (as seen in the television show Community); or maybe go full out and attempt to recreate the actual Star Trek holodeck.

If anyone does decide to fashion together a large-scale simulator, be sure to send in photos of the progression of the project and put it up on!

[via Motherboard – Vice Magazine]

32 thoughts on “An RV Converted Into A Spaceship Simulator

    1. It is pretty cool.

      On the inside, the whole thing looks the part, and just about every failure mode that could be thought of has been incorporated.

      Great job from Tom Tim n Charles, and all the others who have contributed as well. Worth visiting on a Tuesday night, about 8pm.

      And you just know that they’ll keep working on it until there’s a place to store the bikes.

  1. Someone should do this with an RV that looks the part, like a Navette motorhome. Check it out, That one is a one of a kind, built on a Ford diesel truck chassis, special made for a support rig for Kellogg’s Tony The Tiger hot air balloon.

    The other 15 Navette’s built before the company owner got cancer (he survived) had Isuzu chassis and gasoline engines.

    The designer’s goal was to build the slickest, most aerodynamic RV possible, in contrast to the typical RV that has pieces and parts all over the place poking out into the wind.

    If the guy is still above ground, he has a Navette and all the tooling to build them for sale. IIRC the asking price was only $100K.

  2. I’d call this a caravan rather than an RV. Any way London Hackspace must have a load of these onld 4 berth caravan’s they convert into “Space” craft here’s one they had last year at Derby Maker Fair


  3. Elite’s inspired a lot of hacks for improved experience – custom controls,DIY FaceTracking solutions, leapmotion control additions. But this is by far the coolest.

    I must admit it gives more of a Red Dwarf vibe to me then anything else – probably moreso with a “friend holding tentacle”. But its all awesome.

    1. Some of the motivation for the van was spawned from Tom playing Artemis, sniffing the network protocol and making his own system that would control lights, smoke machines and pyros. He ended up getting frustrated and starting his own software from scratch. Artemis is too deep, the van is something you can learn in five minutes and complete a mission in twenty.

      We know that Melbourne hackspace have been making noises about making their own van and we’ve joked about adding support for network games. If anyone wants to contribute, all the code is up here:

  4. It’s fun to see that in the future, there will be flight engineer stations even though those have been eliminated from current aircraft (these are included in video/movie/TV for dramatic complexity).

    As far as the “ugly caravan” problem, wouldn’t it be sufficient to stencil “NCC-1701/7” on it somewhere and say “Shuttlecraft”?

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.