Re: [nbos] Astro3 Experimental Build
"Robert Graham"
Tue Nov 24th, 2009
Depends Star Wars IMHO isn't the greatest example of any scifi.. oh it made
SCIFI 'famous' don't get me wrong, but 70's and then the prequals to me are
not staple of Scifi, especially when you notice that apart from Star Trek,
most of the modern Scifi does pay at least lip service to the realities of
Physics.. Here are some examples.

1. Babylon 5 - Well given JMS actually went to NASA to check most of
his designs and the way they behave (except for those using Gravimetric
drive (ie the whitestars being able to move how they do)

2. Space Above and Beyond - Used Real Physics when it suited them.

3. BSG (New) - Uses Real Physics oh 90% of the time.

4. Star Trek - Doesn't use physics 90% of the time.

5. Stargate - Depends on the episode as to if they use real Physics,
though Universe seems to at least use it more realistically.

The thing that gets me is people are continuing to think that stars should
all effect every planet, can I point out some 'real' physics here, Jupiter
is the largest mass in our system outside of the sun, yes it does effect the
pull of gravity on everything else in the solar system, but the suns
overrides even Jupiter, now Astro Ignores gravity data anyway.. it's not
actually truely simulating the physics (sorry if you think it is but it's
not) How can I prove this.. Remove Jupiter from an Astro Solarsystem chart,
the orbits don't 'change' why? Because Astro takes 3 points of data to make
the orbit *shrugs* so long as no one wants crazy figure eight style orbits
etc then i don't see the 'issues' with having a multipul star solar system
set up like this:

First star on list = Primary.

Second Star on list has a 'distance' like a planet and is set to orbit the
first star.

Etc etc.

Then each 'star' has it's planets list and those planets and moons are
unaffected by the other stars.. of course As I've said I'd like to have a
more fluid ability to zoom etc on the maps.. so that we can center a star
zoom down and when we get close enough have the system show up first with
the planets then based on how close a planet is to the camera it's children
(moons) after all you just tell the application data to 'cull' anything
beyond a certain 'view point' of the camera, it would open up the option of
having the planets able to be set up with trade routes etc..

Because the biggest 'down fall' i find at the moment with Astro is the lack
of support for simple IN SYSTEM design, ie I want to detail the Hell out of
one system with all the major trade lanes etc i can't do that and get a
visual output.


From: []
On Behalf Of Mike Oliver
Sent: Wednesday, 25 November 2009 5:06 AM
Subject: Re: [nbos] Astro3 Experimental Build

The Worldbuilder supplement to which I referred was a booklet by Digest
Group Publications and was designed as an adjunct to the MegaTraveller
role-playing system but the points made by Cam are no less relevant and
valid for that. The points he makes are in line with what I was saying.


Mike <> <>

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Cam Kirmser
Sent: 24 November 2009 17:12
Subject: Re: [nbos] Astro3 Experimental Build

I believe the way Heaven & Earth - a Worldbuilder based program, as I recall
- does it seems to be satisfactory. At least, from a gaming point of view.

Games are full of times where the reality of the science has to take a back
seat to the fun of the gaming. For instance - and, realizing this is a
movie, not a game, but the imagery illustrates the point well - in Star Wars
I, The Phantom Menace, Qui-gon shoves his light saber into the blast doors
separating him from the bridge of the Trade Federation ship. A very dramatic
moment as the power of the light saber is displayed, melting the metal of
the door, turning it to red-hot slag, as his hand twists it to open a way

There's his hand, holding the light saber deep into the molten metal,
cutting a hole in the thick doors.

Right next to the red-hot metal is his hand holding the light saber.

Ever put your hand in an oven while the element is glowing? And, that's
nowhere near the apparent temperature - going by the color - of that molten

Had that been reality, Qui-gon's hand - at the very least - should have been

So, to suit the drama of the scene, the reality of convection heating had to
be suppressed. And, no one complained. It is accepted as part of the
suspension of disbelief.

And, again using Star Wars, every space battle uses World War II dogfights
as a foundation. So, every ship in space behaves as if it is flying through
an atmosphere. But, the mind expects this, so it ignores that they are not
behaving realistically, given the environment. For example, when Obi-wan and
Anakin are flying through that space battle in the beginning of Attack of
the Clones, those little bots are eating away at their fighters. R2D2 zaps
one of them and it slowly slides off the wing of Anakin's fighter.

That's what should happen, right?

Not at all. There's no evidence of any acceleration of that fighter, so it
should have stayed right where it was until some sort of course correction.
But, instead, the dead bot behaved as it would have in an aircraft's
slipstream. And, everyone accepted it, because that was believable, within
our realm of experience.

So, the same, I believe, is true of the placement of binary or trinary - let
alone systems with five stellar components - elements. Sacrifice just enough
reality to make it acceptable to the players. After all, they already accept
FGMP-15s - even though, if reality were maintained, the discharge from one
would incinerate everything for hundreds of yards around, or more. What's
one more little detail? Just keep the stellar system within our realm of
experience; which is, have a central body - the main star - and any other
stars in orbit around that primary with believable dead orbits that would be
in close proximity to the lesser stars.

----- Original Message -----

From: Sam Orton <>


Sent: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:33 AM

Subject: Re: [nbos] Astro3 Experimental Build

>Yep, that sums it up. Basically there's no way that I know of to calculate
stable orbits of >stars and their planets in multiple star systems,
particularly when there's 3 or more stars. >What I'll probably end up doing
is assigning the component stars a fixed position in a >multiple-system
display. They just wont orbit each other.

>The way the "Worldbuilder" Traveller supplement worked was to place the
subsidiary suns >in orbits around the primary (orbit numbers generated
randomly). It then made certain >orbits, close to these, unavailable for
planets. Then, each remaining orbit was given the >chance of having a planet
using it.

>No attempt is made to generate stable orbits or have the planetary bodies
generated >behave according to astrophysical laws.

There might be a middle ground, if you like. Build a database of known
stable *types* of orbits for multiples, including the *relative* masses and
distances of the stars in it. That allows you to include "common center"
orbits with no mass occupying them. Then if you generate a multiple,
generate ONE star for it and randomly select a multiple orbit pattern. That
tells you the mass and distance of the other star(s), right? They are what
they *must be* in order for the one star you have to be in that place in
*that* orbit.

"Close" multiples will be a separate, more complex problem, but with "long"
multiples the orbits should be far enough apart that "wanderer" planets
between stars should be a vanishingly small percentage, no?

Close multiples, where the gravity wells of the stars interact closely
enough to interfere with planetary orbits.... now that will be the really
hairy problem.


P.S. If all I'm doing is showing my ignorance of both astronomy and
programming, just kick me and I'll shut up again.

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by
stupidity, but don't rule out malice." - "Heinlein's Razor"

"Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice." -
Grey's Law


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