Have you dreamed of what it would be ... to soar like an eagle? Aquila Bird Flight Simulator lets you experience soaring bird flight using a virtual reality headset. This is a soaring simulation, so you can make use of ridge lift and thermals like any other soarer in the skies...
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Release Date:
Aug 18, 2017

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“The game is unfinished, but there is enough here to have fun for anyone curious about soaring. The exact path of the game is unset, but I would like people to experience Aquila as it is now.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“Version 1.0 is not far away, once I complete a GUI overhaul and work on the tutorials some more. However I do envisage more features over time. This is my ambition, it's not going away. I'm a certified soaring nut, as my wife will testify...”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“Refinement of game features, and the addition of more. This will have to be progressive, as I work full time and coding is the hobby.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Flying and soaring works very well I think, and the motion controller support is a great work out. More than enough fun for an early access! I have an Oculus Rift, so for the Vive I rely on testers trying the game.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Doubtful. I would like this game to be accessible, and a high price isn't a way to do that. Supporting this game helps support birds of prey in the wild.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“I really really appreciate honest open feedback. I'll try and add suggested features that I think will add to the game. Please get in touch.”
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Recent updates View all (19)

January 16

New stuff on the way...

Just a quick update to let you know what I'm working on at the moment, but this is not uploaded yet. I'll do a proper patch notes when I upload a new update.

- Scotland terrain is now a bit bigger to add a couple of nice looking ridges that you couldn't reach before. The terrain mesh is still the same resolution, and I do plan to improve it, but I dropped the satellite photography one level on Bing. While flying at any decent height you can't really tell, with the added bonus that the memory footprint has dropped with a performance benefit. This is a stop-gap until I can work further on terrains and their detail level.
- All terrains have been adjusted so that thermals and their clouds are accessible from near ground level and reach above their highest peaks. Columbia, for example, has huge peaks that the old system couldn't cope with resulting in clouds entering the hills!
- On the subject of terrain, previously you could adjust your view distance betwen Very Near and Far. These options now adjust the fog distance, and terrain tiles beyond that distance are switched off to increase performance and reduce memory usage. Note when increasing the view distance, any tiles previously switched off take a few seconds to reload and may pop into view. Likewise they take a few seconds to unload when reducing view distance.
- Thermals now age rapidly and decay after dusk, and won't form again until the sun rises, as they should do with a normal average everyday thermal.
- The grid of points used to create ridge lift and sink (the downdrafts) has had its resolution trippled.
- There was a small band around the Canada landscape where you could potentially fall off the edge of the world before hitting where the world edge was set. This has been fixed.
- Unistorm weather system updated to latest version, and main camera adjusted to correctly produce god rays.

That's it so far. This, and hopefully a bit more, will be implemented in the next patch. Thank you for reading. :)

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December 24, 2017

A bit of Festive Cheer! (patch 0.96)

Santa's sleigh has been spotted in the skies! If you're flying at night you might be lucky enough to spot his sleigh! Catch up with him, stay close by, and he might just drop you a present. :)

Patch notes for 0.96:
- a little bit of a landmark, as collecting a present from Santa will earn you what is Aquila's first Steam Achievement. There will be more.
- The sleigh may appear in the skies right until the end of January. He can't be everywhere at once, so he won't appear every night. If he does, you will see a message and then you'll have to intercept him! I managed it with motion controllers in Scotland, and it gave me a right work out! Scotland is the best place to try and locate him, followed by the Canada map, while in Columbia he's simply so very high over the mountains it is very hard work getting to him. You have to get close and stay close for the best chance of a present.
- When changing map data for Scotland, I'd cunningly (or not) moved the course waypoints so that most were in a hill. Not very clever! This is fixed now. The waypoints also flash as light sources to make them more visible.
- When on the title screen, I'm now using a second camera to make the menu screen clearer on your pc monitor when using a VR headset.

- I've noticed that since the latest SteamVR/Unity API update, my pc seems to drop a few frames when there is a lot of terrain on screen. It didn't do this before. It's still playable, and my laptop runs it unchanged, so I'm not sure where the issue is at the moment. Windows 10 had been installing a *huge* update in the background though, so who knows.

Have fun, and I wish you a Merry Christmas!

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Running with and without VR

This is an application that has been made with Virtual Reality in mind, specifically using OpenVR on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. It will run without a headset connected, or via the non-vr launch option, and has control methods added to support non-vr play, but support is not completed and the gamepad tutorial will not be fully applicable. See notes for version 0.95. I've had significant interest in a Non-VR version, so I have been adding support to do this and I'm at a point where people just need to try it.

Note for HTC Vive users...

This application was originally made for the Oculus Rift and Touch controllers, and has been adapted for the HTC Vive, or any compatible headset, through OpenVR. It should auto-detect Oculus and Vive headsets, and give appropriate instructions. However, if you are presented with the wrong information, there are launch options in SteamVR and your normal Steam Library to override and force Vive or Oculus VR types if required.

If you have the Oculus Home version of Aquila ...

... then I can issue you with a complimentary key for Aquila on Steam. If anything the simulator runs much smoother in OpenVR, so I can recommend it. Please get in touch.

About This Game

Have you dreamed of what it would be ... to soar like an eagle?

Aquila Bird Flight Simulator lets you experience soaring bird flight using virtual reality. It was originally designed for the Oculus Rift, but has now been modified for OpenVR.  You embody one of three species of eagle flying over either Northwest Scotland, a part of Columbia, or Graham Island in British Columbia. This is designed as a relaxing soaring flight simulation, and is not arcade-style flight, and as such you can make use of ridge lift and thermals. If you want a work out try flapping with motion controllers!

Proceeds from this project go towards a major bird of prey centre in Hampshire (UK), where I do voluntary work. Supporting this project helps towards vital conservation, rehabilitation, and education schemes throughout the UK and overseas. So on behalf of the birds, and the staff, thank you!

Main Features:
  • Dude you're an eagle! Featuring three species of eagle:
    • White tailed sea eagle
    • Bald eagle
    • and the Harpy eagle.
  • Simulates an 8kg bird with a 2.5m wingspan. (cosmetic difference only at present).
  • Steer your bird using:
    • An Xbox360/One controller
    • Your VR headset
    • or Motion controllers (experimental).
  • Satellite photography scenery for:
    • 13km x 13km for Northwest Scotland
    • Columbia and British Columbia, of equivalent size.
  • Day/Night cycle using UniStorm.
  • You have thermals and ridge lift to make flying easier.
  • Configurable wind direction and speed, shown as 'dandelion seeds' in-game.
  • Free looking in VR, along with selectable views on the birds back and a chase view.
  • You can land and take off, and walk around on the ground.
  • Options to start in the air or on the ground.
  • Tutorials for gamepad control and motion controllers. (headset steering tutorial to come)
  • Comfort mode: This levels the camera, and limits your pitch and roll to produce a more comfortable experience. It is on by default, but can be turned off.
  • Some relaxing music to go with the flying.
  • Observer mode: The in-flight menu allows you to select a view that is displayed on your main pc screen while you play in VR. This can impact performance, but allows people not playing to watch your flight.
  • Non-VR ... the game will run without a VR headset connected, and defaults to a chase view, but it's just not the same as VR!
  • Next Level V3 motion platform support is working, but is not included in the Steam or Oculus Home versions because of the SDK's involved. Contact me if you are interested in this feature.

Current issues:
  • Satellite photography is best experienced with a bit of height. The illusion will not work when you're near the ground.
  • Currently ugly if you look behind you, if you don't move your own head up, as you'll look through yourself!
  • If you fly too fast, you pitch down. With comfort mode on, it is rare as your pitch is limited.
  • You can't currently 'trim' in pitch, although you can fly just fine without.
  • The white tailed sea eagle does not have a ground walking animation, but has more flexible animation in the air. The other two eagles use normal Unity animations.
  • Observer mode does not output sound to your normal pc speakers, if you are using the Rift headphones.

Future plans:
  • (PARTWAY THERE) More dynamic landscape with things to do of course (challenges).
  • Trophy/achievement support.
  • (PARTWAY THERE) Maybe one large landscape, or many smaller ones. I'd love to be able to add more trees!
  • Possible survival simulation including weather, defending your territory, nest provider, etc.
  • Expanding the tutorial to be narrated, perhaps from another bird flying with you nearby.

Final note:
This game is not finished, and is under early access. It's a start point of what to expect, and an opportunity to report back with bugs. Please do report back with any issues you encounter; it helps me make it better!

Also note that, due to the SDK's involved, Next Level Motion platform support is not included in the Steam or Oculus Home versions. Contact me if you are interested in this feature.

Thank you again for your support, and thank you for looking!


System Requirements

    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel Core i5- 4590 equivalent or greater
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or greater
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX compatible
    • Additional Notes: Your pc must meet VR Ready specs to use this application successfully with VR.
    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: Windows 10
    • Processor: Intel i7 6700K
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 or greater
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX compatible
    • Additional Notes: Observation modes on second screen do impact performance, try it!

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