Re: [nbos] [AS] Suggestions for AS 2.1
"Mike Oliver"
Wed Oct 3rd, 2007

Taking into account the typos I made, your statement about "what you can
see on your monitor" puts my point far more succinctly than I managed;
and your response is far more positive than I anticipated. But, if it's
feasible to do the zoom-in job, bring it on, say I.

When you say "some pretty cool upgrades" for AS, are you speaking in any
kind of official capacity? If so, I'll start putting the pennies away


Mike <>

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of David Loman
Sent: 03 October 2007 12:11
Subject: Re: [nbos] [AS] Suggestions for AS 2.1

As a programmer, I can comment on a few of your statements Mike. All
orbits are simple vectors undergoing a continual change. Computers are
really good nowadays at calculating, multiplying, adding, etc vectors.
I have written simple scripts (aka not compiled code) that can push
several million vector calcs per second. Compiled code would easily
double that. Thus, the resultant vector of any given celestial body
will be the result of the 'gravity' vectors of all the surrounding
bodies. Ultimately will this be accurrate enough to be a "universe
simulator"... probably not, but for what Sam is describing, definetly!

On the visual side of the house, DirectX, OpenGL and all the graphics
cards on the market can handle amazing amounts of visual data...
However, the average graphics application programmer takes lots of short
cuts in order to get their product out the door quicker and this results
in a less than optimized application.

Extrapolating this over thousands of stellar systems SHOULD make your
brain shutdown! On that exact note, it would be futile for an
application to attempt to display all that data on the screen at one
time. each planet would be soooooooooooo tiny that it would measure
less that a pixel on your screen... so whats the point? Now, all the
celestial body positioning calculations would still be happening in the
background, so should you 'zoom' in on a system that you wish to view,
all the bodies would be in their right place. And again, if you 'zoom'
in on a body with moons, they too should all be in the right place.

There is even room for pre-emptive calculations, aka, where will
everything be in, 1 year, 10 years, 100 years, etc.

Tons of possibilities and AS2 has the stage set for some pretty cool

On 10/3/07, Mike Oliver <> wrote:
I think you may be expecting a bit much of the program. Its main purpose
is to provide users with a means of generating a galactic sector and its
entire contents. I believe the graphic displays are intended as a means
of showing players the general layout of a star system and the planetary
systems within it. I view of the distances involved, I think trying to
show the star system together with all the planetary and satellite
bodies within it would prodice such a visual muddle that it would defeat
the object.
I can't imagine the complexity of a computer programme that attempts to
replicate, visually, all the orbital perturbations of a complete star
system. Then if I try to extrapolate that to cover the thousands of
stellar systems within a galactic sector, my brain shuts down.
I may have misunderstood you or Ed my chime in and tell us he's planning
to incorporate it all into V3 of AS.
It's been a long time since I tried out Celestia and I'm not familiar
with ChView2 but I have run several SF campaigns with AS2 as my only
tool and I haven't had any problems with convincing my players that what
they see is a reasonable representation of the section of space they are
in. Generally, they are impressed with what AS2 shows them.
However, having said all that, some of the things you are suggesting
would be nice..


Mike <> <>

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Sam Orton
Sent: 02 October 2007 17:11
Subject: Re: [nbos] [AS] Suggestions for AS 2.1

Hmmm.... I think I may be taken as asking for more than I actually am.
If you go to a star, you can pull up a system display. It shows
planetary orbits, but not all the moons. To get satellite orbits you can
go to any parent body (such as a gas giant) and pull it up there, and it
shows planet and satellites, but not the parent star or other planets.
There's probably a basic underlying assumption (a valid one I think)
that for example, the current location of Mars isn't going to make a
measurable difference in conditions on Callisto. The effects of the
immediate parent body, Jupiter, will override all other factors.

Okay, so if you click on a multiple star system, allow it to bring up a
single level system display, like those at planetary and satellite
level. True, depending on the spread of the stellar system, a GM may
want to take into account that the orbits of outer planets of a binary
may be captured or slung by the other star. But a picky GM will be
taking that into account anyway, and one who isn't picky is unlikely to
be bothered by the logical inconsistencies. The only tough part I see
about having such a display is having it orbit around system barycenter
rather than a given star. If one or more of the children is a multiple
itself, display the orbit of that subsystem's barycenter. Taking it to 2
levels so you can show contents of a child multiple star system would be
good, but that's also probably a pretty fundamental change to how the
system display works, too.

I dunno, maybe I'm just showing how ignorant I am of modern programming
principles. It just seems to me that the system display code is already
there, you just need a means for multiple star systems to call on it in
the same way single star systems do. Assuming you can find a way to tag
system barycenter as center instead of an object, the rest of the
commands to call up a system display should be the same throughout. The
only place I see it getting really weird is in close multiples, where
objects are so deep in each others' gravity wells that tidal forces are
trying to shred everything in the system.

I'm trying to see this from all sides. Yes, gamers and GMs can be like
spoiled children, wanting everything. To be fair, they're creating a
universe, in order for it to be complete they *have to* have EVERYTHING.
And yes, programmers have no problem trying to give it to them, provided
that the nights they stay up figuring out this cool new feature actually
translates into money for the bills at some point. Can't say as I blame
them a bit. And yes, I fully sympathize with "Oh I could write it,
sure.... but your machine couldn't run it."

I'm just thinking that the less likely a GM is to try to run AS *and*
Celestia AND ChView2 all at once, because AS takes care of all of it,
the better AS will sell.


"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with
sense, reason and intellect intended us to forego their use." - Galileo


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