Space flight simulation games are modeled after Microsoft’s success with their legendary Flight Simulator franchise, enabling airplane enthusiasts to pilot a realistic aircraft without leaving their homes. Space flight sims are the next frontier for those pilots wanting to leave Earth.
Piloting their spaceship anywhere in outer space to faraway galaxies has become the norm. The best space ship simulation games do best when the spaceship is piloted in a realistic manner as Microsoft Flight Simulator does.
Although we don’t know what it’s like flying in fictional spaceships, the sims are at their best when gamers can still perform takeoff and landing procedures, use VOR navigation to intercept and track courses, and enjoy immersive space flight simulator experiences in wildly different environments and scenarios.
The best spaceship flight scenarios are enhanced with head tracking as most pilots will confirm. Head tracking hardware like Tobii Eye Tracker 5, Trackhat, and TrackIR 5 from Naturalpoint cost $100 – $250.
However, software-based head trackers are available for $10 using Smoothtrack or using the Eyeware Beam head tracking mobile app. See the head and eye tracker download for better piloting in your space flight and combat games.
So step into your space suit and prepare for hyperspace as we present our 2022 list of the best space flight simulation games on PC enhanced with head tracking.
Elite Dangerous: Open world adventure through the Milky Way galaxy
The first game on this list is Elite Dangerous by Frontier Developments. This game is a massive role-playing space simulator in which you take command of an interstellar vehicle and embark on a journey in whatever career you’d like to make money and purchase upgrades as well as better ships.
Some of these careers include classic sci-fi tropes such as bounty hunting, trading, and piracy, and other, less salacious occupations like mining, passenger transport, and general exploration. However you choose to live out your sci-fi fantasy, you’ll be doing it in a full-scale version of the Milky Way galaxy.
Adding head tracking into the mix immerses you in an incredible, non-linear adventure where you call the shots, and gazing out of your cockpit at all of the planets and stars you’ll encounter is as simple as a tilt of your head.
Frontier Pilot Simulator: Sci-Fi cargo pilot sim
Frontier Pilot Simulator by RAZAR s.r.o. will have you piloting a VTOL (Vertical TakeOff and Landing) spacecraft that carries important cargo throughout a vibrant alien planet. Work your way up from a rookie pilot up to a renowned delivery man, earning credits and a reputation along the way.
Reaching this level of success won’t be easy, though, Frontier Pilot Simulator features a dynamic, realistic weather system that will affect your flight dynamics, making one false move mean an end for you and your cargo. With head tracking support, you can keep your mind on the controls while also checking your instruments and the environment for warning signs of doom. Keep your head on a swivel; it could mean the difference between a successful delivery and the end of your piloting career!
Kerbal Space Program: Conquering space
Few games attempt to match the realistic physics and flight mechanics of Kerbal Space Program from Intercept Games. This game, made by development studio Squad, goes beyond being a sci-fi space flight simulator and instead has you take control of your very own space program!
Design true-to-life rocket ships, with realistic systems and aerodynamics needing to be considered. The creation and testing of unsafe vessels will lead to the death of the silly and adorable Kerbals, the alien race for which you are designing the ships. These Kerbals are looking to explore their solar system, and it’s up to you and your knowledge of space, physics, and propulsion to accomplish this goal for them.
After what will surely be much trial and error (and many dead Kerbals), you can experience the lift-off of your creation in a first-person mode that allows you to see through the eyes of a Kerbal. With head tracking, you can take in the entire experience! Look around the ship’s cabin and into the eyes of a fellow brave Kerbal as you pray that the ship makes it into orbit without exploding.
Star Wars: Squadrons: First-person multiplayer 5v5 dogfights
Experience the iconic space dogfights of the classic Star Wars movies in Star Wars: Squadrons by MOTIVE studio. This game entrusts you with the controls of some different starfighters, all of which are faithfully recreated from their film appearances, with authentic sound effects and weapons.
From the first-person perspective, you can view all of the action that was only briefly shown in the movies. Further, thanks to Squadrons’ head tracking support, you don’t have to rely on just your instruments.
Move and turn your head to stay aware of all of your surroundings, making sure an enemy fighter doesn’t sneak up on you. Between the impressive graphics, authentic fighters, and head tracking, you’ll have to remind yourself that you aren’t an X-Wing pilot!
Star Citizen: Multiplayer space trading and combat simulation
While it may never see a complete, full release, the ever-evolving space life simulator Star Citizen does feature a ton of enjoyable content. The many “modules” that make up the current Star Citizen experience are primarily based around many unique, lovingly crafted space vehicles that you can pilot freely to explore many moons and planets or engage in dogfights against other players from the comfort of one of many Star Citizen ships.
Whether you’re in a heated fight between other spacecraft, exploring the surface of a planet, or engaged in an on-foot gunfight, you can use Star Citizen’s head tracking implementation to become more immersed and competitive.
Even just taking in the grandeur of your craft in the hanger is a simple but engaging experience thanks to head tracking and the ridiculous detail Cloud Imperium Games have put into everything over the last 11 years. See Roberts Space Industries for more mission details.
Lunar Flight: Your lunar module simulator
Shovsoft’s Lunar Flight was initially created as an homage to the classic arcade game Lunar Lander, but it has since evolved into something much more involved and engaging. In Lunar Flight, you will take control of a lunar module and manage its resources while completing missions that include cargo transportation, data collection, and locating missing supplies.
It sounds simple enough, but realistic Newtonian physics and limited fuel means that getting from A to B can be an exercise in stress management as well as lunar vehicle piloting. In the cockpit view, you can take in the incredible attention to detail of the planet and your dashboard with head tracking support.
Lean towards the controls to take in all of the dials, knobs, and switches that operate the craft, and turn your head to look through the thick pane of glass that separates you from the icy, unforgiving abyss.
Choose your virtual universe to explore on your computer
As you can see, it’s not just the realistic flight simulators that benefit from head tracking technology offered by Eyeware, Tobii, and other companies. Space flight simulation equally benefits from the immersion that head tracking provides.
Speaking of different environments, the space simulator game genre offers entirely different worlds to explore. Imagine piloting a futuristic spacecraft through the inky void.
What’s less attainable in traditional flight simulator games is engaging in zero gravity dog fights far above the surface of any planet, let alone Earth. Gamers can do that in Star Citizen, Kerbal Space Program, and other PC games with head tracking to move the in-game camera with their head motions.
Dust off the spaceflight simulator blueprints and choose your spaceship. Which space flight simulation game will you choose to play first?