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Teaser Videos of My Space Simulator

I thought I’d share some sneak videos of my space simulator in progress, the bulk of the work for these were done months ago before I hurt my hands from being fully from doing too much of computer, Xbox, and certain touch devices.

Anyway, here is the video (hi-def version available to!):

demo 1

 

Some point to be aware of:

1. The ship is obviously moving way too fast for now.
2. "Jupiter" is actually the Earth with a Jupiter texture from JPL (I was eager to see what Jupiter looked like in the simulator) Winking smile

3. Scale isn’t quite right.  XNA users single precision floating point which is insufficient for our needs in terms of the solar system, let alone the stars that will be using in the simulator. I’m hoping to use double precision just for the are areas that require it.

Now please bear with me because you must remember that I am a bit of a game programming caveman that has been thrust into contemporary technologies and practices; so needless to say that I am a bit overwhelmed with not only all of the APIs that one must consider, but also the amount of responsibility the game programmer has nowadays.  Things were so much easier back in the 80s when we thought it was pretty cool to have a game with 16 colours at a massive 320 x 200 screen resolution.  🙂 I thought I was pretty schmick at doing artwork back then, but today I realise that the 4 bits per pixel and narrow chromatic spectrum of microcomputers of old merely obfuscated my feeble artistic talents. 😉

This is why I’m doing a game/simulator hobby in 3-D because the 3-D engine does most of the "artwork" and "colouring in" for me.  The fact that it is a space simulator makes my job is easier still because there are multitudes of free textures from the likes of NASA/JPL available for free to me to use in my projects.  There are also plenty of free 3-D models for me to use, backspace (some even with textures) so all that is left is really are shaders and even then there are plenty of those to be found.  To be honest, I know my limitations and have no illusions of creating something that looks as spiffy as Crysis, FSX, Oblivion or Fallout 3.

Last weekend I got rid of the visually-challenged star field skybox and replaced it with data based on the Hipparcos European space satellite.  I’m only using a small subset of around 10,000 stars and rendering them as XNA point sprites, scaling them depending on their magnitude and tinting them based on their colour index. At the moment I’m drawing them on a normalised sphere at a constant radius from the camera to get around the depth buffer problems for now but eventually I’ll have them as double precision floating point plotted in Cartesian coordinates rather than the Equatorial Coordinate System.  This will allow the pilot to go on an exciting journey to the star of his or her choice.

Later, I think it will be rather schmick to tie in the latest discoveries from the HD exoplanet database so not only will you be able to go to the star, but also to get a rough impression of where the planet is in relation to the star.  Of course, I most likely will have to use artistic licence for the visual appearance of the exoplanet.

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