New Ship Simulator Game: sail aboard a Greenpeace ship

And maybe win a trip aboard the Rainbow Warrior III

Feature story - 24 August, 2010
If you've ever wanted to take the wheel of the Esperanza to thread your way through Iceberg Ally in the Arctic -- as it's doing now to highlight risks of deepwater drilling -- or sail the Rainbow Warrior into close quarters with a ship dumping radioactive waste, or blast through heavy surf in a Greenpeace inflatable to block a harpoon, now you can -- without ever getting wet.

You can do it all from your PC, thanks to software manufacturer VSTEP. They're the folks behind Ship Simulator (think Flight Simulator, and add water) which a half a million salty cyberdogs already play (including quite a few of our own captains, mates, and deckhands). Their new release, out soon, will be called Ship Simulator Extremes -- and we're in it.

There are 32 realistically rendered vessels in the game, from Oil Tankers to Hovercraft, and among them are our own Greenpeace ships Esperanza and the yet-to-be-built Rainbow Warrior III -- in game sequences based on actual past actions at sea. The ships are all meticulously rendered from blueprints, CAD drawings, and photos to behave like actual simulators. There's also a Rigid Hulled Boat, or RHB -- the legendary Billy G -- which you can launch from the deck and blast through the waves. You can take them in and out of accurately recreated ports. You can control variables like wind speed, wave height, weather, and daylight to customize your adventure. You can create your own missions to upload for other players, and when you successfully complete a Greenpeace mission you unlock video of one of our captains describing how it really went.

Best of all, when you buy the donation version of game (you can pre-order it now, nudge nudge, link, link) 20 percent of the proceeds go to building the REAL Rainbow Warrior, and gets you a chance to win a trip on one of her first voyages.

Here's a sneak peak of what the game play looks like. Pop it up full screen to read the mission information upper left.

You can also hear and see more about the game at this developers' walkthrough.