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Work in Progress / MPL3D Solar System

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Morcilla
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Posted: 4th Jan 2006 19:12 Edited at: 4th Jan 2006 19:15
Hello everybody,

I would like to present my work: "MPL3D Solar System". It is a close-universe 3D simulation, made with Dark Game SDK.

At this moment I'm working on final project tasks as translation, media packaging and "polishment". Hopefully, project could be finished first quarter of 2006.

This is how it looks so far:



I want to give special thanks to TGC for including an article at this month's newsletter: http://www.thegamecreators.com/data/newsletter/newsletter_issue_36.html#10

If you want to see full size images, you can visit:
http://www.mpl3d.com/photogal.htm

And the main features are described here:
http://www.mpl3d.com/solar.htm

(Also available in spanish http://www.mpl3d.com)

Any comments are welcome.

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UFO
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Posted: 4th Jan 2006 22:03
That looks cool!


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Lynx
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Posted: 5th Jan 2006 02:19
That's brilliant.

Great work!

crighton
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Posted: 5th Jan 2006 02:37
man that is sweet.

Has me staring out into space again wondering what or who is beyond!

cant wait to try it out.


aye!
Morcilla
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Posted: 5th Jan 2006 12:34 Edited at: 5th Jan 2006 13:31
Thank you for your comments.

That's part of the idea, to understand where we are in our galaxy neighbourhood, and make us think about what else can be out there, and realize how special our home world is.

Please be patient. A demo video will be available soon, but I'm afraid that a demo version won't be ready at least until the end of january.
Morcilla
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Posted: 19th Jan 2006 19:08 Edited at: 8th Mar 2006 18:19
Demo video attached! It has been compressed with divx to keep low the file size (9.76 Mb), so make sure you have the divx codecs, please.

It also includes some ambient music that will be used in the final version.

Notice that every star that appears at the video is a clickable, and therefore a visitable one, some of them have discovered planets, some not. (However, they are better seen at the full resolution pictures )

The video starts looking at Pluto's moon, Charon, and it visits all the planets of our solar system, including Earth. Then we move 100 light years away to circle the Sun, away again to 15.000 light years, travelling outside the galaxy, to finally travel 500.000 light years away from it.

You can observe the orbit camera system, that allows to orbit any celestial body and to travel easily between them with just a single click of the mouse. Of course there is also a free camera.

Now the full Earth's solar system has been introduced into the simulation. Next steps are to track some minor issues, to finish camera's smooth movement for the moons and to translate the external interface.

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Darkbasic MADPSP
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Posted: 19th Jan 2006 19:27
divx at [href]http://www.divx.com [/href]

where i went on holiday to
www.portaventura.es and also http://themepark.nl/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Board=UBB7&Number=661483&page=0&fpart=all
Morcilla
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Posted: 19th Jan 2006 23:31
Yeah, thanks.
Lukas W
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Posted: 20th Jan 2006 08:49
this was so awesome! i love the part where you look at the sun then at hyper speed to zoom out and out of our galaxy i looks really cool!

The Cowboy Game progress 17% (paused)
HorizShootiz progress 20% - optimising code
Morcilla
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Posted: 20th Jan 2006 11:23
Thanks! You can adjust the orbit distance manually using arrowkeys, and there are six key shorcuts to increase and decrease it by steps or to "jump" to the nearest or farthest orbit distance allowed.

So when you travel from one distance to another, or between far bodies, the camera movement gives that "hyper speed" sensation
Morcilla
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Posted: 27th Jan 2006 14:58
Time for a trip! I attach the "Andromeda tour", a new video that visits several stars of the Andromeda constellation and ends with 50 Upsilon Andromedae, a star system with three planets, 44 light years away from Earth.

It is again in divx format and it is 8.17Mb in size, but I think it is worth the cost. I hope you enjoy it

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zzz
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Posted: 2nd Feb 2006 18:07 Edited at: 2nd Feb 2006 18:30
Nice work! Downloading video...

[Edit] Wow, itĀ“s freakinĀ“ large(as space use to be)!
I noticed just one thing that looked weird, our sun flickers in the 2nd video. Otherwise: great, excellent, fantastic, etc!

Morcilla
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Posted: 2nd Feb 2006 18:43
Yeah, nice observation. That flickering is because the program is calculating if a planet is occluding the sun or not, and it thinks that's happening.
I'm after it so it doesn't flicker that much, the condition seems to be a little bit too strict. Thanks zzz.
UFO
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2006 00:49
WOW! The videos are cool!!!


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Morcilla
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2006 13:44
Thanks!
Morcilla
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Posted: 4th Mar 2006 17:09 Edited at: 4th Mar 2006 17:10
Hi,
I'm updating the pictures with the last improvements.

Here is the most likely to be the final Earth:

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Morcilla
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Posted: 4th Mar 2006 17:14 Edited at: 4th Mar 2006 17:17

It includes 3d geographical shape, atmosphere movement, storms and water reflection.

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Morcilla
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Posted: 6th Mar 2006 12:35 Edited at: 6th Mar 2006 12:35
New functionality ready to go, constellations asterisms and constellations boundaries:

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Morcilla
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Posted: 6th Mar 2006 12:39 Edited at: 6th Mar 2006 12:39
They are visitable in 3d ....

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Philip
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Posted: 6th Mar 2006 14:00
This is very impressive.

I'm writing a 3D space trading game myself. Therefore I have a professional interest in space software. Please can I ask two questions:

1. what kind of scale are you using?

2. how do you do the very nice rings of the protoplanetary disk? Is it an image textured onto a plane? (That is how I have done my rings but I am not 100% happy with the results).

Incidentally, if you haven't already seen it, its well worth doing a google on "Celestia". That is very impressive software.

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Morcilla
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Posted: 6th Mar 2006 18:44 Edited at: 6th Mar 2006 19:14
Thanks Phillip,

1 .- Now you're asking key questions. I've found out that making a space environment, is hard to implement. The computer has to face very small and very large numbers at the same time, reaching the limits of precision.
I've spend a lot of time trying to set an uniform scale, but I'll tell you a secret, the scale is variable, not always the same. It gets bigger when in small distances and smaller when large distances are used. So the numbers always stay between certain ranges.

2 .- Protoplanetary disks and planet rings are made with a custom ring mesh, made with 3ds, textured and just ghosted. If you use planes, they must have a good texture to obtain the best results.

And about Celestia, I discovered it when I was already developing this for six months. Yeah, a very impressive one. Now talking about "MPL3D Solar System vs. Celestia" is something to already be proud of.

What has Celestia better than MPL3D Solar System:

- More stars, 10 times more. I don't know if I'd have to change the whole approach, because DBPro/DBSDK cannot "move" such big numbers. To add more stars, now that the "engine" is working, is a matter of data conversion, took from stars catalogue. MPL3D Solar System has at least, any un-aided eye visible star (visual magnitude <9).

- More objects, like more moons, and satellites. Since Celestia is for free, they can use any media they want or find. I want to sell my program, and therefore I'm limited by the copyrights of official available objects and textures. Everything is done by me or had free distribution for comercial programs.

- More scientific data available. I've used real data to construct the simulation, but I really don't want to overhelm the -normal- user with data that they do not understand and that can be found anywhere else. So I only output main characteristics (sizes, distances ...) Maybe astronomers get dissapointed, but the product is aimed to be a visual experience for the whole family.

- Planet locations labelled.
- It's free.

What things I think that MPL3D Solar System has better than Celestia:

- Extremely friendliness of orbit camera, orbiting as far as 15.000LY for stars and 500.000LY for galaxies, with one single click trip.

- More visual effects for stars. Although Celestia has more in number, they look all almost the same! I have emphatized star types. Seamless changing, and kind of hypnotic, star lava surface, is already developed and working, but I'm waiting for DBSDK to have the shaders functionality available.

- Variable stars, they are very fun to observe, specially at fast simulated time. Among other things, they change their brightness acordingly with their peridod and variable factor. Because there is a whole circus out there, and there aren't two stars that are equal.

- Simulated orbit scales if desired, to diminish orbits distance and see planets orbiting closer.

For the first time ever, as far as I know:

- Star clusters, open and globular types, more than 200.

- 3d volume nebulae, with shader effect, more than 30.

- Saggitarius A* Black Hole, yes, the black hole at the very center of our galaxy!

- Planet gallery, allows to compare planets by putting them close to each other.

- Space music to improve experience.

So, I'm hoping to attract some sales with that.
I'll post later some images of the planet gallery and the black hole.
Philip
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Posted: 6th Mar 2006 22:44 Edited at: 6th Mar 2006 23:53
Hi Morcilla

It looks good so I hope you make lots of sales from it.

1. What I've done with scale is cheat. Using a bit of trigonomery I calculate how big the planet / Sun should appear in the camera's viewport. Then I create an object of relative size CLOSER to the camera. I found that gets around the problems imposed by 32 / 64 bit processing.

2. yeah, I've had problems with my planes approach.

I'm curious about how you do galaxies as well. Is it a case of using Cloggy's D3DFUNC to create lots of d3d_points which represent stars in a standard logarthmic spiral? Or are you doing something more complex?

What star catalogue are you using? I'm using a simplified form of HIPPARCOS. My problem is that its about 250k stars and even that takes a long time to parse properly when being loaded by my game.

Cheers

Philip

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Morcilla
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Posted: 7th Mar 2006 12:38
Well,

1 .- I heard about that "scaling objects" trick, and thought about to use it, but finally discarded it, since I was not sure about if that would be bringing me some other problems. Everthing is running fine? Congratulations if it does.

2 .- Galaxies, yeah. No 3d points, no logarithmic function either. It is done at design time mainly. It is a compendium of 3d custom meshes, that include the stars, the galaxy shape itself, and some halo. To give the final touch, a bloom shader is applied to it, but this is still pending of final changes, when DBSDK shaders run properly.

3. - 250.000 stars! If you ever get it working, just let me know. Why not 2.500.000? The data is available, you know. Altough it is not a matter of data, but about what the computer can handle at a reasonable speed. For my, and using DBSDK/DBPro, that number is about 10.000. More than that and I don't have enough cpu left for the rest. Also, memory starts to run out.
I started with the Brightest Star Catalog, that only has 9000 stars, but since that catalogue does not contain all the data for constructing the simulation, I changed to Hipparcos and Tychos, put them into Access, and filter for the brightest stars. Then, output only the columns that I was to use. I just takes two seconds to load.
How many FPS do you get with that huge amount?
Philip
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Posted: 7th Mar 2006 14:47
Hola!

1. I've had to adopt this approach because of huge problems I had with the enormous size of the starsphere that would have been needed otherwise. I found that I started to run into terrible Z buffer issues with needing too large a camera range, etc.

2. Thats very clever. I take my hat off to you! I'm not artistic enough to try your method so I've been playing around with logarithmitic spirals instead. The big problem I have is that all the webpages on the internet about modelling galaxy formation are all written for PhD astrophysics - I don't understand half of it!

3. I get a steady FPS of about 40 on my galaxy map. My method is as follows: (1) I parse the entire galaxymap data file on loading the game into a specialist typed array. I have to do this then because it takes about 2 minutes. Can't have a 2 minute gap during the game. (2) I then iterate down this typed array to calculate the total number of stars within a default range of the galaxy map camera. Once I've got that figure, I create a new second array which I populate with the data of the nearby stars. Its this second array that I then use to create DBPro objects, etc., to represent the nearby stars. (3) Every minute of game time I then check the second array to remove any stars that are now outside the default range. I also quickly run through the master typed array to check there are not any other stars which are now within range and should be included within the second array.

Its a bit convoluted as a method, but I've found having an archive array and an active array is the best way to avoid having to always work from one huge array.

4. How are you generating your extra-solar systems? I assume you are taking information on the extra-solar stars from things like the Internet Stellar Catalog? I've been looking for a while for a decent and reasonably scientifically approved mathematical model of how new star systems are generated by reference to the star. I haven't found anything I can understand on the internet though.

Cheer if you like bears! Cheer if you like jam sandwiches!
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Morcilla
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Posted: 7th Mar 2006 18:30 Edited at: 7th Mar 2006 18:30
That's good spanish! (lol)

1.- No problems with more than one object at the same time or other issues? Congratulations then, I'd like to see it working someday.

2.- Well, thanks a lot, I do what I can. Have a look, it is not so hard:



3.- Very nice trick! Maybe I'll give it a try, but not for now. I cannot wait one minute to check distances, the user could be one million light years away! But at least it opens a chance of doing something in the future, if more stars are needed. Smart!

4.- All the data you need should be at "The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia", http://vo.obspm.fr/exoplanetes/encyclo/catalog.php or linked to their web. I collected physical, orbit and type parameters and then I crossed tables with the stars within simulation. But be prepared to use terms like omega, ascending node or argument of perihelion if you want to reach the realism that implies using all data possible.

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Philip
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Posted: 8th Mar 2006 16:52
2. Yeah, but I can't model for toffee. I've paid a professional modeller to make a lot of my models.

3. Its true that it would be very costly in CPU time to do a vector length or sqrt distance check for each sun each loop. So I don't bother - I approximate instead. I just check whether on each X Y and Z axis each sun is within a certain distance from the camera. This is just subtraction and addition which the CPU calculates far far quicker than a vector length.

4. I know what you mean. Trying to understand eccentricity and its effect on eclipse orbits was fun. What I'm actually after is a mathematical model of what kinds of planets and in what order they will form depending on the type of star and the protostar disc. For example, we know that the Sun, a G3 star, has formed 11 planets, of which the inner planets are rocky in nature and the outer planets, with the exception of Pluto, are gas giants.

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Morcilla
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Posted: 8th Mar 2006 19:00 Edited at: 8th Mar 2006 19:05
2.- Ok, that's the best solution, If you can afford it.

3.- Another good trick, maybe I'll have to use it someday.

4.- Planetary system formation? Modern theories differ a lot. Scientists are susprised with the newest real data revealed by observation. They have found massive planets very near their stars, and that was thought to be kind of impossible. Maybe you'd like to see an eye candy web, with a lot of data. Make sure to check: http://www.extrasolar.net/
and visit their vrml milky way galaxy (with planets, if you click on a star that has some).
It has lovely protoplanetary disks and the web has info on planet formation and comparisons of systems.
Morcilla
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Posted: 8th Mar 2006 21:08 Edited at: 8th Mar 2006 21:08
Here are the planet galley pictures, as promised

Our solar system:

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Morcilla
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Posted: 8th Mar 2006 21:12 Edited at: 8th Mar 2006 21:12
The epsilon andromedae gallery:

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Morcilla
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Posted: 8th Mar 2006 21:15 Edited at: 8th Mar 2006 21:16
Another system, the HD12661:

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Philip
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Posted: 8th Mar 2006 23:43 Edited at: 8th Mar 2006 23:45
4. Thanks - I'll look at this website asap. I know what you mean about the so-called "Hot Jupiters". Speaking as an amateur astronomer myself (I actually have a telescope at my parent's house in Denia, Spain), I am as astonished as the professional astronomers by some of the results of gravitational lensing. The super-gas-giant that orbits its star every 4 days blows my mind. Imagine the speed it would look to be moving if you are above the plane of the system looking down at it!!

I like the pictures above. How exactly are you making the solar flares flying out of the suns? Are they part of a static background or are they 3d objects? Particles from the DBPro particle engine?

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Morcilla
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Posted: 9th Mar 2006 17:48 Edited at: 15th Mar 2006 13:17
Lol, I bought also a newtonian 130mm telescope last year. I use it very near of you, at San Javier. And about those fast hot jupiter systems, I can post some screens as they appear in the simulation, although of course they are better seen in movement

I use DBPro/DBSGK standard particles, I think that's what they are for, and they give me some acceptable results, although it could be better. Once again, media used is part of the key.

TGC should be happy about the fact that I'm almost using only standard functionality, except in:

- Keyboard input, using key handler states, by IanM.
- Text output 2d lines and 3d lines/dots, by Cloggy's 3dfunc.
- Extended Image functions, by Sephnroth.
Philip
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Posted: 10th Mar 2006 22:04
Its a small world, isn't it? I've found that astronomy in Denia is much better than in the UK. We have far too much light pollution here in the UK. In Denia the sky is usually clear of clouds and you get great visibility without much ground light from roadside lights etc.

Its worth buying TGC's Cloth and Particles pack.

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Morcilla
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Posted: 11th Mar 2006 14:09
Apart from some atmosphere humidity -as it is near the sea-, yeah it is great place for observation.

Don't doubt about the utility of the cloth and particles pack, but I'm afraid that the only enhancement that DGSDK has available is EZRotate V3. So I'm stuck with standard particles, and I don't want to spend more time developing, or adapting some other systems, right now.
Morcilla
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Posted: 12th Mar 2006 17:13 Edited at: 12th Mar 2006 17:14
Hi,
here is one of the latest pictures, the Saggitarius A* Black Hole, the black hole at the very center of our galaxy, 26.000 light years away:

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jasonhtml
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Posted: 12th Mar 2006 17:33
wow, this is quite nice

Deathquest (MMORPG)
Deathquest Thread: http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=61108&b=8
DD Studios Website: http://www.geocities.com/jasonhtml/
Philip
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Posted: 12th Mar 2006 17:51
Thats a nice graphic for a black model. I like the curve at the event horizon.

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Morcilla
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Posted: 14th Mar 2006 20:16 Edited at: 14th Mar 2006 20:17
Thanks, it does have indeed a curve, you have a sharp eye. Here you have a more detailed pic of the event horizon:

It has some animation, although of course that cannot be apreciated at the image.

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Morcilla
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Posted: 17th Mar 2006 19:03 Edited at: 17th Mar 2006 19:04
There has been full moon these days...

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Morcilla
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Posted: 17th Mar 2006 19:18 Edited at: 17th Mar 2006 19:18
Here is the current position of the inner planets, (at the 15th March, happy birthday Lee Bamber!)

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Morcilla
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Posted: 17th Mar 2006 19:22 Edited at: 17th Mar 2006 19:24
And here it is the same view exactly 20 years ago...when the Halley comet was leaving us:

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UFO
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Posted: 18th Mar 2006 18:32
Very cool! But black holes aren't bright. They suck in all the light, so they are very dark, hence the name black holes. So I think you should make it darker. Alot darker .

Morcilla
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Posted: 18th Mar 2006 21:24
Thanks for your comments, UFO.

Of course all black holes are... well, black!

Small ones are just that black thing, but the big ones, like the super-massive Saggitarius A*, have also an accretion disk around them.
This disk is made of the matter of the stars that are trapped by the black hole. It is very hot and emanates light radiation.

The black hole itself appears at the center of the disk, after a line called "event horizon". Beyond that line no light can escape.
Philip
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Posted: 18th Mar 2006 22:31
Morcilla is exactly right.

Morcilla, I'm still puzzled by how you are creating the other solar systems. You are using the published data on extra-solar planets. But are you also populating the other solar systems with invented planets which humanity has not yet detected yet? If so, are you doing this on the basis of any science or is it guesswork?

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Morcilla
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Posted: 19th Mar 2006 18:15
Thanks, Philip.
I'm only using real data of already -confirmed- extrasolar planets.

Beyond that, there exist a list of -suspected- planets, but not totally confirmed by scientist. Besides, all planets confirmed or not, are suspicious of having moons and other smaller bodies near, but those are un-confirmable nowadays.

The "guesswork" part is the artistic one. For each planet, I have used the data available about type, orbital and physical parameters to represent a "what could it look like" and give it a different texture or a planetary ring (which right now is impossible to know, since nobody has been there to tell how it really looks like).

Maybe I could add some extrasolar-moons, even habitable ones, but right now I'm just representing known worlds.
Philip
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Posted: 19th Mar 2006 23:47
Mmmm ok. I was wondering. After all, there are many star systems where humanity has only found 1 suspected planet yet. There are bound to be more planets there and I was wondering if you are including them or not. Thanks for answering my question.

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Morcilla
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Posted: 29th Mar 2006 19:34 Edited at: 29th Mar 2006 19:50
Hi,
this is the "Enter Date" interface, with its final look :



It allows to enter years from 1900 to 2100, as precision of planets positions is minor the further you are from year 2000. However, the simulation allows you to reach from year -9999 to 9999. Also, there is not year "0".

Date and time affect all moving bodies (including extrasolar planets) as well as variable stars behaviour (whose depend on the variable star's period).

[Edit]
Days of the week appear in spanish, (Dom=Sun,..., Sab=Sat), although they should appear in english in an english o.s. installation.

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Morcilla
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Posted: 5th Apr 2006 17:32 Edited at: 5th Apr 2006 17:32
The mouse controls :

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Morcilla
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Years of Service
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Joined: 1st Dec 2002
Location: Spain
Posted: 5th Apr 2006 17:38 Edited at: 5th Apr 2006 17:38
And the camera controls :



I was wondering if there could be better labels for the camera orbit distance shortcuts:

"Insert : Closer small"
"Home : Closer medium"
"Pr pag : Closer large"

"Supr : Further small"
"End : Further medium"
"Next pag : Further large"

Do you think that is correct enough? Or there is something that isn't clear?
Thanks for your comments.

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Poker_Guy
12
Years of Service
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Joined: 4th Jan 2006
Location:
Posted: 5th Apr 2006 17:52
Very well done sir. This probably one of the more amazing projects I have seen around here in a long time. Haven't read everything in detail and don't know your plans, but you could very easily keep this a nice professional look and sell it as an educational program when fully complete, I think it has some great potential. Good luck in the future.

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