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Author Topic: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy  (Read 31435 times)

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Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #105 on: January 16, 2010, 05:08:47 PM »
A little bit of progress - I finally had some free time and worked on the so-long-not-getting-along-with projected space station UI. I finished an outline of the very first space station screen, the general information panel. It sure will be fleshed out over time, but well, this is how it looks right now:
[link lost]
I wonder how to make the portraits - there should be different races of aliens, and drawing portraits is really not a talent of mine.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 10:53:48 PM by Hajo »

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #106 on: January 17, 2010, 11:53:21 AM »
In another forum I got some suggestions for adding atmosphere and flavor by descriptive texts and I tried that. I've added a short "welcome" type text blurb under the headline, with a message from the station crew.

Also a bigger text area giving your own impression of the station.


(Ack, I think "pools" should rather be "puddles" there in the text. I thought I had changed that before taking the screenshot, but apparently I didn't.)

I think I'll change the "inhabitants" label to "population"?


Offline VS

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #107 on: January 17, 2010, 12:40:14 PM »
Looks nice... both easy to find important information and rich in the "fluff" (?) that makes the universe seem real.

BTW, every time I see title of this thread, I read for some reason "gastronomy" ;)

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #108 on: January 17, 2010, 04:10:41 PM »
Looks nice... both easy to find important information and rich in the "fluff" (?) that makes the universe seem real.

BTW, every time I see title of this thread, I read for some reason "gastronomy" ;)

It makes hungry for more ;D

Maybe you should take a stop at this station then:

Quote
Not the most modern station, but a well maintained one.
This should be a good place to stay for a while and rest from
a longer journey. They offer a nice lounge, a herbarium and
even a sauna for visitors. Not to mention two dark bars and a
restaurant which serves actually edible food.

I'm trying to write more descriptions, got a few now and will try to write a few more as new ideas come up.

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #109 on: January 18, 2010, 09:20:31 PM »
I've put up an experimental release. It has a number of features which are unreliable, particularly the support for dual star systems can create wacky systems. The reason to put this up was the new space station panel, and it should be good enough for testing that.

I've been trying to write a number of welcome and station flavor messages, so be sure to click several stations to explore them all. Some combinations of welcome messages and station descriptions are .. hilarious or stupid, depending on how you want to see them ;)

- Experimental support for dual star systems. Sometimes it creates very wacky systems.
- New space station general panel with randomized welcome and station flavor messages. Just click a space station in the system explorer view to open it.
- Improved earthlike planet image included.
- Better random number generator used for solar system generation.
- Experimental Mac OS X UI bugfix added.

=> [link lost]
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 10:54:48 PM by Hajo »

Offline VS

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #110 on: January 18, 2010, 09:56:40 PM »
I found a small typo - search for "asauna" in station texts. Do the messages correlate in any way? Seeing as there is "no outlaw wanted" made me wonder if there is also a text for some kind of pirate haven... that would look funny with democratic regime :D

Offline vilvoh

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #111 on: January 18, 2010, 09:59:30 PM »
It remembers me to the famous (and funny) novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy....a universe full of stars and systems to visit.   ;D

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #112 on: January 18, 2010, 10:21:25 PM »
If I can give it such a feeling, it will be a great success :)

@VS: The messages are purely random currently. I want to add some logic later to choose more fitting messages, depending on the system. The whole politics and population background data is missing though at the moment.

I had been pondering about a pirate station. Currently I have decided against because I didn't want to go into fighting and such. But maybe I find a funny option, then it will be in for sure :)

"Capt'n Hook himself runs this station, the jolly roger on the transmission tower can be seen from half an au away. But the pirates have settled, and run this purely as a tourist attraction - occasional robbery and such included in the dark corridors. You know, realistic experience and all that is very important for successful tourism."

Edit: I'll fix the sauna typo. The "church of technogology" will stay though  ;D

Offline VS

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #113 on: January 18, 2010, 10:45:57 PM »
It has a great feeling already; seeing whole systems on HD monitor makes you want to go there! No gastronomy in it though :( ...yet?

Quote from:
an icon of technogology
We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.
I think you have achieved that quality :)

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #114 on: January 19, 2010, 10:16:28 AM »
I think you have achieved that quality :)

Whee, thank you very much :)

A new question came up: The new space station panel shows government type and tech level. At the moment these are fixed values, just to have something to show. I'd like to include these values in the overall simulation algorithm, but I'm a bit clueless how to. I want to ask about the government type first.

If the stellar system generator produces a system, it's known how many inhabitable planets and moons are there, and how many space stations.

From these I can roughly calculate a total population of the system. A race can be randomly chosen, or chosen based on the planet types ... some races might prefer cold planets, others like hot planets, and there might be different needs for atmospheres, too. Different races could have different preferences for government types.

What government types would you suggest to include in the game? And given the above ideas, how would they be chosen for a particular system?

Offline kierongreen

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #115 on: January 19, 2010, 05:46:34 PM »
Quote
What government types would you suggest to include in the game? And given the above ideas, how would they be chosen for a particular system?
Not sure if you want to go down the route of including politics, it has the potential to open a can of worms...

That said I think these would be reasonable:
Anarchy
Feudal
Republic
Monarchy
Dictatorship
Theocracy

As always wikipedia has a lot to say on the issue... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_forms_of_government

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #116 on: January 19, 2010, 09:16:20 PM »
Hehe, had been researching wikipedia a bit earlier today, but didn't post here already again. Thanks for the link, though :)

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #117 on: January 20, 2010, 09:25:37 AM »
I have sketched some races and species for the Solarex universe:

[link lost]

I want to keep the number or races/species low. Five looked good to me, this way it was fairly easy to make them distinct.

Feedback is welcome.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 10:55:09 PM by Hajo »

Offline vilvoh

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #118 on: January 20, 2010, 10:21:02 AM »
My two cents. For some names, I just translated the english name to other languages and them I took the words that sound better to me.

  • Terraneans: erztikons, geosians or gaianoids.
  • Rockeaters: r'esser, rwytas, ramaour, rokkuje
  • The ones who float: rhai sy'n, khto którzy or ph'ngoui.
  • Poison breathers: brekers, dýkazhi, jahazerys, zehyrs
  • Clonkniks: keulons, klónons, klooni, kurōns

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #119 on: January 20, 2010, 10:47:57 AM »
Thanks, there are a few nice names in there!

I particularly like the Rhai Sy'n, Zehyrs for the poison breathers looks good too. Ramaour for the rockeaters seems to fit also. I think I'll use those, thanks again for the help!

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #120 on: January 21, 2010, 11:07:44 AM »
I've been working on government type and population calculations for the space stations and also for the planets.

Right now I think, I have the basics of population and government type calculations in place. There is some finetuning needed, the Clonkniks seem to be everywhere, while the other races inhabit only few planets. But basically it works:

[link lost]

It also has a new, species-specific naming scheme for the space stations which works nicely, I think. In a while I want to have a better planet naming scheme, too, but that looks tricky to me at the moment.

It's an experimental release again, because it definiely lacks some polish and might have a number of yet unknown bugs and problems.

There are "Rockeaters", "Poison breathers", "The ones who float", "Clonkniks" (with a typo that makes them Clonkniki) and "Terraneans" in this preview. I left the names as I had sketched them first - I hope "Poison breathers" is not too offensive, it seems worse in English than it appeared to me initially.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 10:55:31 PM by Hajo »

Offline vilvoh

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #121 on: January 21, 2010, 12:34:45 PM »
Well, the Clonkniks are robotos, aren't they? therefore the range of planets they can inhabit should be wider than the rest of races. In fact, they actually don't need a planet to live, they might build space structures like dyson spheres or rings and live at the outer space.

Have you planned some kind of evolution algorithm for this universe? I mean, systems that dissapear due to the death of the star or gallaxies collapsing, or planets being born from clouds of gas.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 01:00:33 PM by vilvoh »

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #122 on: January 21, 2010, 01:35:37 PM »
Deep space stations of the Clonkniks are on my list.

Evolution, I think I'll not try that. The game on top of the system generation algorithm will span at most the lifetime of a space prospector, and withing this timeframe the universe can be seen as mostly static I think.

I've been pondering though to have a less uniform distribution of inhabited systems, i.e. that each race has a center from which it spread, and even if one only sees a snapshot, it will show the results of this former growth of the civilizations.

Offline vilvoh

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #123 on: January 21, 2010, 02:50:53 PM »
You may be interested in using variations of Drake's equation to generate the amount of civillizations by galaxy and their spreading.

Quote
The Drake equation (sometimes called the "Green Bank equation", the "Green Bank Formula" or–erroneously–the "Sagan equation") is an equation to calculate the potential number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy, the Milky Way. It is used in the fields of exobiology and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

The Drake equation states that:


where:
N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible;

and
R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fℓ = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

Probably, you will have to change some of the parameters, like ne, that would be different for each race therefore you must define first the life support conditions for each one.


Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #124 on: January 21, 2010, 03:25:13 PM »
There are a number of resources like the name tables that depend on the number of species. Also I want to have portraits for them. Unless I can generate everything procedurally, these dependencies will limit the project to a fixed number of species. I think it will be alright to stick with 5, rather flesh them out some more with background stories, and detail information.

And then I need to search a portrait artist who can draw ~30 portraits for the different species. I must say though that photos of used vacuum tubes make great replacements for Clonknik heads ;D

Offline vilvoh

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #125 on: January 21, 2010, 03:50:30 PM »
I think I didn't explain the idea correctly. I suggested you to use that equation or a variation, to calculate the number of appereances for each race, not to calculate the total number of races.

In fact, most the values are fixed or known, like R*, fp, ne y fℓ. You can ignore L and the rest may vary depending on the universe that has been created for that game. One question, should we assume that all those races are intelligent?

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #126 on: January 21, 2010, 04:15:05 PM »
I think I didn't explain the idea correctly. I suggested you to use that equation or a variation, to calculate the number of appereances for each race, not to calculate the total number of races.

[...]

One question, should we assume that all those races are intelligent?

I see. I had been pondering about a bell-shaped (gaussian?) distribution for each race. So there would be one location where they are most frequent, and the farther away from this center the less frequent they'll be found. For the purpose of this game it's good that the distribution is nowhere zero.

The 5 races are intelligent, but the Clonkniks and The ones who float might be hard to understand for humans sometimes. I don't know if this will matter, maybe if there are missions or such involved that the player can accept.

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #127 on: January 21, 2010, 08:12:59 PM »
Wow, 30 portraits... that might be indeed hard.

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #128 on: January 21, 2010, 09:14:49 PM »
Wow, 30 portraits... that might be indeed hard.

I'll try to find someone ...

Next graphic on my list will be a Clonknik interspace station. I dream of something fractal ... wish I had more time.

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #129 on: January 21, 2010, 10:23:13 PM »
Perhaps if you let each race have its own style of portraits, they could be made by different people...

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #130 on: January 21, 2010, 10:44:01 PM »
That could work :)

I've tried to make a level 3 clonktal. Not sure if this works as space station, but it's a cool structure anyways ;)


Offline vilvoh

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #131 on: January 22, 2010, 07:48:07 AM »
We may consider it as a cloud of machines (sizes from nano to mega) that are sticked together, like a single alive organism.

Offline vilvoh

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #132 on: January 25, 2010, 09:40:15 AM »
I've also found this formula to calculate the habitable zone (HZ) around a star, that may help you to calculate the distribution of each race, or at least the possible regions where life might appear in ideal conditions:

Code: [Select]
Distance(HZ, star) = [Luminosity(star) / Luminosity(sun)]0.5, in a.u.
If you want to calculate the max and min of the habitable zone, just multiply Distance(HZ,star) by these two factors 0.95 and 1.37.

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #133 on: January 25, 2010, 01:15:59 PM »
So far I just used the surface temperatures and atmosphere for checking who might like the planet. Actually surface temperatures should follow a formular like yours; my code might not be that precise.

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #134 on: January 27, 2010, 12:39:18 PM »
Perhaps if you let each race have its own style of portraits, they could be made by different people...

I wonder how to make the portraits - there should be different races of aliens, and drawing portraits is really not a talent of mine.

Since I could not come up with proper ideas, I decided to do at least something - something is better than nothing ... for the time being I try to paint them by myself.

Constructing portraits from parts was in Elite and Elite II I think, but it worked, and since I had no better idea, I started to work on portrait parts. The images below are a mix of parts from two base portraits:


It's not great but maybe something to work with until I have better ideas. I think I must work some more on the variation/individuality, as I must work on my overall portrait drawing skills, but it's a start.

Offline Gouv

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #135 on: January 27, 2010, 01:50:46 PM »
Well, I'm not sure about their gender, but they're already cute :)

Offline Spike

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #136 on: January 27, 2010, 02:05:18 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. With their gender, I'm not sure either 8) At the moment I'm just practising with an easy way to create a bigger number of portraits for the races. Most likely I'll give their skin a different hue finally. Not quite decided about violet or green hues ... these will be "poison breathers", who like hot, dense and mostly oxygene free atmospheres.

An updated version, with a stronger variation in the eye-ears part of the portraits:


Actually I never really figured how to distinguish male from female faces in portraits, but I assume for alien races this isn't so important. They are just different ...

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #137 on: January 27, 2010, 02:18:27 PM »
Wait, those are generated as well?

Offline vilvoh

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #138 on: January 27, 2010, 02:23:18 PM »
It's a great work, indeed! To distinguish male from female, I suggest to emphasize certain features for male individuals. For example, the ears might be bigger for males or the eyes might be smaller for females.

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Re: A toy for people interested in space games and astronomy
« Reply #139 on: January 27, 2010, 02:32:27 PM »
Wait, those are generated as well?

Not quite. I have drawn 6 portrait elements, which will be assembled randomly. The line shows all possible permutations of the elements. With a few more elements, there could be quite a lot of permutations possible.

A test in standard martian, erm, venusian green:

Looks odd, but that is alright. The rockeaters will come in more vivid red-and-brown. The real skin tones I must reserve for the terraneans.

Edit: Portrait backgrounds won't be all grey finally, so I can choose colors and patterns that compliment the portraits.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 03:41:48 PM by Hajo »