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Forum » SpaceEngine » Development Status » Map Mode (Warning: 26 screenshots!)
Map Mode
SpaceEngineerDate: Sunday, 19.02.2012, 22:33 | Message # 1
Author of Space Engine
Group: Administrators
Russian Federation
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I have almost finished the Map Mode for SE. It is similar to Google Earth, but with the added ability of scaling from a single planet up to entire clusters of galaxies. I will upload a video to demonstrate this soon, but for now, here are a few screenshots showing how to zoom out from a moon to an entire galaxy catalog (Note that SE's infinite universe is to be filled with procedural galaxies, but these have not been implemented yet).

Let's start on a nice terra moon in the M 51 galaxy. By activating the Map mode, we can see the planet itself with its orbital path partially shown. At the right-side of the screen can be seen a tool tab where the most important feature is the long Zoom-slider. The labels at the right of the slider show a quick reference for certain zoom levels. The minimal zoom level is to a planet, as shown in this first screenshot:



Let's zoom out to the "Moons" level, here we can see the entire moon's orbit and its parent planet.



Continue zooming out and we can see a part of the system with a sun, an asteroid belt (gray dots) and a planet with a anomalous high eccentric orbit.



Zoomin out, and we can see an entire system. Stop! This is a binary star system!



Zooming to the "System" level allows us to view an entire binary star system.



Zooming out some more, and we can see the galactic plane grid appearing. It is centered on the currently selected object (the moon in our case), it can also be switched off by unticking its check-box on the toolbar.



Let's rotate the view (by right-clicking and dragging the mouse) to align to the plane horizontally.



Zooming out some more, and we can see neighboring stars.



From another viewpoint, the green lines give us visual information about the elevation of stars above and below the grid plane.



Zooming out some more, and we see many more stars, but only the brightest ones are shown, because rendering all of the stars is impossible on this large scale, and would overload and overcrowd the map display. The green lines disappear too, this again is to prevent the map display from being overloaded. As we can see, in Map Mode the engine renders only those objects that are located inside the spherical region of the grid where its centered on the currently selected object. The radius of this sphere is controlled by the Zoom slider.



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SpaceEngineerDate: Sunday, 19.02.2012, 22:49 | Message # 2
Author of Space Engine
Group: Administrators
Russian Federation
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Zooming out some more, and we can see where the neighboring star clusters (light green lines) and nebulae (red lines) are placed.



Zooming out some more, and we can see a forest of lines, pointing to star clusters and nebulae.



Let's switch off the lines and labels by using the check-boxes on the toolbar...



...and then rotate the view to display a chunk of the galaxy.



Zooming out some more, and we can clearly see the spiral arms.



From another viewpoint, note the thickness of the galactic disk.



Zooming out to the "Galaxy" level allows us to see the entire galaxy.



The galaxy seen again, but from another viewpoint.



Zooming out some more, and the galactic-plane-grid starts to be replaced with the universe-plane-grid. Orientation of this plane is aligned with the orientation of the Milky Way galaxy plane.



Lets enable labels and lines back.


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SpaceEngineerDate: Sunday, 19.02.2012, 23:15 | Message # 3
Author of Space Engine
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Russian Federation
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Zooming out some more, and we start to see the neighboring galaxies.



From another viewpoint.



Zooming out some more...



...and some more... We can see hundreds of galaxies. The blue lines have been removed to prevent the map from being overloaded.



Zooming out to the maximum "Universe" level allows us to see almost all the galaxies in the current SpaceEngine catalog.



From another viewpoint. Once procedural galaxies are implemented, they will fill the gaps in the catalog and flood-fill the entire Universe to an almost infinite scale.



The map can be manipulated in all three directions by left-dragging of the mouse button or by using the movement keys, zooming is done by using the mouse wheel or the Zoom slider, rotation around the map's center is done by right-dragging of mouse button. Any object visible on the map can be selected by left-clicking on it, and the selection remains active until Map mode is toggled off. You can fly to a selected object directly in Map mode by pressing the [G] key (Map mode will then be automatically toggled off). You can also switch the map to any object by double clicking on it - the map will be automatically scrolled to fit that object to the center of the screen.

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SpaceEngineerDate: Sunday, 19.02.2012, 23:15 | Message # 4
Author of Space Engine
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Russian Federation
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Now I have a problem... I can't choose a default key for the Map Mode activation smile Now I have an [F2] key for the Solar System Browser, [F3] for the Search-By-Name Menu, and all other functional keys, except [F1] are already used. But I already use [F1] for the Spaceships Manager. It is a list of your ships, where you can switch to any ship to take remote control of it, veiw status information, etc (like in X3: Terran Conflict). So, I will bind the Map Mode to [Ctrl]+[F2], while [F2] toggles Solar System Browser independently. But [Ctrl]+[F2] is a bit uncomfortable... I believe that Map Mode will be one of the most used features, like the Solar System Browser. Maybe bind it to [Space], like in Homeworld 2 (and move time pausing/resuming to another key)? But I plan to use [Space] for activation of Hyperdrive or for aligning the Map to the local plane (Galaxy, System, etc). What do you think about this guys?

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RobbieDate: Monday, 20.02.2012, 09:29 | Message # 5
Pioneer
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United Kingdom
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Very nice, SpaceEngineer. I like it a lot! The menu at the side looks good. Would it be a good idea to add a thin border at the top, left-side and bottom to compliment the side menu (I'm assuming this map is going to have a "maximized" look and not be a window as you had it in the pre-release version of 0.95)? it would just give the illusion to the player that they are looking at a "map" screen and not looking at "space" itself that has been somehow annotated.

I would suggest having the map dedicated to the F1 key, and maybe have the spaceship manager on Shift+ or Ctrl+F1 instead. Having the star map and solar system browser keys together would be better function-wise to the user. Does it really matter which key serves which function? especially if you are going to add keyboard bindings to your next release. The player will no doubt want to reconfigure the keyboard layout to suit their playing style anyway.

It would be really nice to have the F6 locations function available from the side menu within the map too. We've already had this discussion in another post. At the time you thought it a good idea.





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SpaceEngineerDate: Wednesday, 22.02.2012, 12:57 | Message # 6
Author of Space Engine
Group: Administrators
Russian Federation
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There will be a right toolbar with a lot of settings - to enable/disable stuff; to highlight visited/bookmarked places, showing ships trajectories, etc. Maybe some settings will be placed on the top and bottom of toolbar. I also plan to make F4 "show objects" menu as a toolbar in normal "space" mode too (but it will be available only for planetarium mode - in the game the player cannot toggle off galaxeis or planets). That toolbar can be hid/shown by pressing a tiny key at the edge of the screen. All other info typing may be made as a hideble toolbars too (magnitude/FOV info, object's properties info, navigation/velocity info, etc).

I agree with F1/F2 keys layout. Ship manager can be binded to F4 key, then it will be free of "show objects" menu.

*





 
neutronium76Date: Wednesday, 22.02.2012, 22:10 | Message # 7
World Builder
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Greece
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Quote (SpaceEngineer)
I agree with F1/F2 keys layout. Ship manager can be binded to F4 key, then it will be free of "show objects" menu


Fine with me smile

Also what if you shift all function keys by one key:

F1: Ship management
F2: UniverseMap/ Star Browser
F3: SolarSystemBrowser
F4: Find/Search
F5: can' remember etc..

OR another idea just came to my mind: Universe Map becomes a solar system map/browser once you zoomed in enough cool . Than you don't need to use 2 function keys wink .





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SpaceEngineerDate: Thursday, 23.02.2012, 00:29 | Message # 8
Author of Space Engine
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Russian Federation
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Quote (neutronium76)
F4: Find/Search F5: can' remember etc..

F3 is a standard key for search function in various softwares - editors, browsers, etc. It is bad idea to move it to F4.

Quote (neutronium76)
OR another idea just came to my mind: Universe Map becomes a solar system map/browser once you zoomed in enough . Than you don't need to use 2 function keys .

I found that having planets list as an independent function in usual "space" mode is comfortably.

*





 
TalismanDate: Thursday, 23.02.2012, 00:29 | Message # 9
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United States
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That looks really cool, good work. cool




 
boyan3001Date: Thursday, 23.02.2012, 00:40 | Message # 10
Astronaut
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Serbia
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Map on TAB, that should do the job wink




Realno...
 
lexrazorDate: Thursday, 23.02.2012, 01:55 | Message # 11
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Bulgaria
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why not just use the M key for the map? lol makes sense
 
AaronDate: Thursday, 23.02.2012, 10:52 | Message # 12
Space Tourist
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Do you intend on using this map mode when plotting astronavigation courses once ship navigation is implemented? I would imagine that using map mode to select stars in a row, and having your course plotted as a spline threading between the gravity wells of each point you choose would be quite entertaining.

The sidebar has the potential to be a major component of a navigation UI.

Perhaps when you are in the "system" level zoom, there lists in the bar: Prominent objects such as all the major planets and star(s), and any previously visited or bookmarked objects are highlighted both on the map and the list in the navbar.

As you zoom out, yet remain centered on the object say to a neighboring star group, your centered object is still shown, and system level bookmarks or previously visited objects are highlighted in the list and the map. The same scaling applies at the galaxy and beyond levels of zoom.

Perhaps a feature of the map would be to render only objects you care about (ie: the bookmarked objects), and allow you to select those objects and "zoom extents" on them.

As an example, you pick three objects in your bookmark list: a whole star system, a planet from another star system, and an asteroid from yet another star system, all in the same galaxy. "Zooming extents" would just zoom and pan the map to show all three star systems, along with whatever star systems are in between them.

If one of those objects were in another galaxy, suddenly the scale on your map would just show the two galaxies in which the objects reside.

If all three objects are in the same star system, it would show a planetary system zoom level of the objects in relation to each other.

Anyway, I think your map mode is great and looks like it will be a core mechanic of spaceengine. Congratulations!
 
AaronDate: Thursday, 23.02.2012, 11:03 | Message # 13
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United States
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So this isn't specific to the map, so I apologize if it's in the right forum.

I am thinking some sort of slide-out drawer for your selection menu might be useful, and when your mouse cursor is inside the drawer, a number of icons representing each of the modes could be displayed.

Granted, this makes the most sense if your cursor is captured in the window dialog if the application is windowed, or the application is running in full screen, but bear with me here.

Scenario:

Move the mouse to the edge of the screen, after a small delay, (500msec?) an icon tray slides down, revealing the different modes, represented by icons, and possibly text descriptions.

Ship management
UniverseMap/ Star Browser
SolarSystemBrowser
Find/Search
Communicator
Settings
etc

Similar to the OSX dock, each icon is small until the cursor hovers over them at which point the icon grows larger, indicating you are selecting it.

You can rapidly scroll through the different items by pressing tab, shift+tab, or the mouse wheel.

If you choose to, you may right click on each icon and bind to a particular function key. There can be default bindings, (like F3-Search) for example, but you can bind any function however you want.

In the settings section, maybe there's a way to even show/hide the objects from the list entirely if you never care about a particular activity.

This system works well if there are "add-ons" or plugins to spaceengine, which might be accessed through the menu.

Quote (SpaceEngineer)
There will be a right toolbar with a lot of settings - to enable/disable stuff, highlight visited and bookmarked places, showing ships trajectories, etc. Maybe some settings will be placed on top and bottom of toolbar. I also plan to make F4 "show objects" menu as a toolbar in normal "space" mode too (but it will be available only for planetarium mode - in the game player cannot toggle off galaxeis or planets). That toolbar can be hid/shown by pressing a tiny key at the edge of screen. All other info typing may be made as hideble toolbars too (magnitude/FOV info, object's properties info, navigation/velocity info, etc).
 
DwardenDate: Sunday, 11.03.2012, 15:09 | Message # 14
Astronaut
Group: SE team
Czech Republic
Messages: 63
Status: Offline
so i was away and busy ... now i return and i'm totally speechless ...
i love the map mode ... it reminds me on mix of some great games but with more touch for practical use ...

for game wise it would be very feasible introduce button(s) / keyboard shortcut(s)
which will cycle between nearest (one for up / one for down) object on each zoom level
from center of the map/actual point of location

so i can e.g. figure out nearest planets/stars/galaxies etc.





Ideas are like ocean w/o borders! https://twitter.com/FoltynD
 
Forum » SpaceEngine » Development Status » Map Mode (Warning: 26 screenshots!)
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