For those who don’t know, in addition to writing our Tahina blog, I am also the publisher of Google Earth Blog (with an average of 6 million readers per year). I’m too busy with Tahina to write it on a daily basis, so I partnered with a friend named Mickey Mellen who does an excellent job with keeping up with all the GE news. One of Tahina’s temporary crew – Paul van Dinther – was the subject of an article I wrote back in 2009 because of his really cool 3D Ships simulator game (free) that uses Google Earth technology. He recently updated the game to add some new features (read about it here).
What’s really cool is that Paul slipped an extra feature into the latest version of his Ships game. You can scroll through the list and find an amazing new ship: Tahina! Ships uses the Google Earth plugin which runs in your browser (not the main Google Earth application). If you have the latest version of Chrome or Firefox, you should read the article above for a link to tips on how to improve performance. Once you click on the Tahina “ship”, click the “1,2,3,4” buttons for different views – or use the mouse to drag around your view to see it at different angles. You can then use the other controls to actually drive Tahina. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t simulate wind, and you can’t deploy the sails. But, you can take the helm and motor around. It’s also unfortunate it doesn’t simulate both engines. Since Paul has parked Tahina in a very posh location next to condos in Rotterdam, it’s a little difficult maneuvering out of there!
You should really try out some of the other ships in the game and practice with them before trying to drive Tahina. The controls will make better sense if you try the other ones first. I already thought Paul’s ship simulator was one of the coolest applications of Google Earth technology. But, I have to say having Tahina in there is a nice bonus. Thanks Paul!
For those of you who are technology shy or just want a taste of what the game is like, watch my original video review of the Ships game: