I've looked and looked, but haven't found anything really. Anyone aware of such an animal on any platform?
It seems like a no-brainer, a software driving simulation trainer for beginning drivers that would teach and practice the basics, as well as providing the opportunity to safely experience crash avoidance techniques (and crashes!), poor-weather driving, movement within heavy traffic, etc., all the things new drivers need to make them (more-)experienced drivers. The technology is out there to create a very realistic visual environment complete with surrounding traffic, realistic crash results, accurate weather effects, solid motion physics, all that stuff.
So why, with all these hotspit gaming rigs out there in teenage hands, hasn't some enterprising outfit produced a solid, 'realistic' Driver Ed trainer?!?
FYI, my 16 YO nephew gets his permit any day now, that's the impetus for this question. I thought for sure there would be multiple titles available, but so far I've only found purely 'educational' courses, nothing that gives a learning driver actual extensive time in a simulator behind the wheel.
edit* - I did find something, a program produced for the government of Ontario called "Take The Wheel: It's Your Turn To Drive", circa 2000 or so. It's no longer available as far as I can tell. There are driving simulators available, but those I'm seeing are very expensive hardware/software packages for schools and such. I still haven't found anything available at a reasonable price for retail buyers.
Three words: "Product Liability Lawsuit". Tack "class action" into that if you manage to sell enough copies before the hammer falls.
Also add in the difficulties of creating something realistic enough to be useful, cheap enough that the hardware you'd /have/ to buy with it wasn't prohibitive, interesting enough that the driver-to-be is actually going to use it. And it'd have to take into account the various driving laws of different regions.
From a legal standpoint it's a nightmare. From a software standpoint it's too large an undertaking for what's essentially a niche market.
You can't learn to drive from a video game, just like you can't learn to shoot from playing Duck Hunt.
I agree. There is so much in driving that is in the feel of the vehicle through the wheel and seat and pedals that let you know how the traction is holding in bad weather, and also the learning to use peripheral vision while keeping your eyes on the road. (ie deer spotting) A basic computer simulation can't teach this stuff and really the basic mechanics of driving aren't all that hard. The reason stuff like flight simulators are made is that is costs a whole lot less to build an immersive simulator than to crash just one commercial/fighter jet. Crashing a car isn't cheap, but at most it's usually a matter of a few lives at risk and x thousands of dollar of damages. Planes crashing risk a few or many lives and hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars of damages.