When most people think of Simulators, they think of games. However, they are used for more serious reasons such as training and testing scenarios which of course saves money and can avoid putting people at risk.
Air plane simulator; used to train pilots which saves fuel and having a plane of course. Certain situations can be simulated ie one or all of the engines failing - how will the pilot cope? This would not be tried out in real life as it is too risky to both the people on board and to people on the ground - and of course the risk to loosing a plane.
Space craft simulator; similar to airplanes but savings are even higher, for example how much would it cost to train people to land people on the moon. Did you see the film 'apollo 7'? They had a problem with the amount of power in their batteries. Back on earth they went through a number of simulations to help them to conserve power. If this had not been an option they would have to go with their best guess which would have likely cost them their lives.
Film simulator; powerful 3D computers are used to simulate dinasours, space craft etc. Saving money and time may be one benefit, however entertaining the consumer and producing a film as close to real life as possible is the real reason for its use.
Finance simulator; people can buy and sell shares in the market and the situation is not real. If the trainee looses lots of money, no actual money is lost. Of course the process can be advanced a number of days at a click saving time.
Engineering simulator; bridges, houses and cars can be tested to distruction without having to actually build them. Time, money and possible harm to people are again the benefits!
Games; Car racing, flight simulators, fight games are all very popular today, especially as graphics become more life like with the hardware available. However, the 'feel' is as important as it looks. Below is a simulator for a theme park. Imagine that you wish to build and run a theme park. Would you be any good at it? Alternatively can try a simplistic stock and shares simulator? Click on one of the image below to have a try: