So I've been playing through Crysis which is a fantastic game. But yesterday I noticed something, something BAD.
WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? The Moon!!!!! Ahhh Jesus.
For us to see the Earth facing side of the Moon completely illuminated, it must be opposite the Sun in the sky. In daytime like this picture shows it is impossible to have the Moon fully illuminated.
In reality the Full Moon will be rising just as the Sun is setting and vice versa - opposite positions in the sky.
So here's the Moon a little later on, and if we look at the compass in the bottom-left of the display we see the Moon hasn't moved a sodding inch in the sky. Despite the fact the Sun has now clearly moved below the horizon.
Next thing I look for is an accurate sky, I was expecting the stars to be thrown randomly into the sky if they couldn't be bothered simulating the Moon properly, I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Here's Cassiopeia, Perseus a quick look around the sky and everything else seems to be in order.
Well until I realised that Polaris is directly overhead. *bangs head on desk*
Now I'm led to believe by this game that I'm on an island in the South China Sea. I would expect Polaris to hang around near the horizon. Polaris being directly overhead means this island, this lush tropical island is set at the North Pole. Then of course if you're at the North Pole why is the sun even setting in the summer? It should remain above the horizon the entire day doing a lap around the sky, and vice versa in the winter.
I was looking forward to seeing some of the southern skies I never get to see in real life, now the stars I see is what I'm stuck with, being at the North Pole means they'll never rise, nor set, that and this big ball called the Moon which hovers over the same spot of the Earth will seemingly always annoy me.
How are they going to explain this? The aliens have teleported this island to the North Pole, yet somehow my funky GPS map thing shows me as being where I'm supposed to be, that the aliens have altered the climate of this island and that they've attached the Moon to the top of a really tall tower on the Earth and put a light bulb inside of it so it!
I have a suggestion for Crytek or EA, I recommend you employ me as your astronomy and/or science advisor on your future projects. Technically speaking it wouldn't take a lot of work to correct this.
You'd need to attach the sky and the Moon to the same thing which makes the Sun move, and move the Moon opposite the Sun, or change its phase to a more accurate one. I would settle for that.
However this wouldn't be accurate for very long (using the in-game binoculars you could spot that the Moon isn't moving properly against the background stars in an hour or two game time). Unless of course you model the Moon's orbit around the Earth properly, which wouldn't take much, and if you're going to do that you might as well model the Earth's motion around the Sun too, that will allow the background stars to move against the Sun as they should do too over the course of a year.
Flight Simulator has been doing this stuff correctly for as long as I can remember. I expect Crysis, one of the best games ever to do the same, this totally ruined the game for me! :-(
In addition to my review on Gamercast I have to add: If you're buying Crysis to use as a sky simulator or an astronomy program I have to strongly recommend against this, there are other freeware applications out there which do a far better job.