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Forum » SpaceEngine » Feedback and Suggestions » Galaxy navigation suggestion
Galaxy navigation suggestion
NeonDate: Sunday, 22.05.2011, 19:13 | Message # 1
Group: SE team
Messages: 208
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This is probably waaaay too early for this, but some sort
of heading indicator would be really useful.

I guess the most useful way for it to work would be,
a Plane of Galaxy heading indicator in degrees, and
a Depth into the Galaxy, ie galactic Latitude.

Of course, currently it's done using Galactic coordinates,
consisting of Right Ascention n Declination of Galactic Coords rather
than the earth based Celestial Sphere. I don't think Galactic
Coordinates would be too easy lay people use.

Something for the future. Be nice if it was now, as
it'd really help when u spin around n u don't know how
far you've rotated.

I went passed an interesting star, n tried to turn back
to find it, but I was hopelessly lost in the rotation,
and didn't know how far I'd turned. lol

The hard part of such an indicator, is how do you choose
a reference point for 0 degrees. lol I suppose you could
take a line between the Sun and Centre of the Galaxy
and denote that as 0 degrees.

SpaceEngineerDate: Sunday, 22.05.2011, 22:20 | Message # 2
Author of Space Engine
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Russian Federation
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Are you suggest a rendering of grid lines of galactic coordinate system (like Earth equatorial, toggled by ' key)? But I don't understand, how it will help in navigation. BTW, galactic coordinate system must be for every galaxy, because all of them have a unique orientation in space.

I will make a velocity indicator later, like in Orbiter (dot and cross in circle, for forward and backward velocity vectors). It will be very useful in inertia flying mode. Also I will show arrow indicators on edge of screen, that point in the direction of selected object, and also have forward velocity indicator.

Next is the Star map. I've already begun to code it. It will be a 3D-viewer of nearest stars, with adjustable range from user's current location. The player can click on any star to select it, or just view its details. The same system can be used for navigation between galaxies.

Next on my list is the Solar system map. This is a 3D-viewer of planetary orbits with planet positions pre-marked. A player can click on a planet and automatically zoom to it's moon/s system. At top of the screne will be previews of planets or moons placed (similar to current F2 menu). However, there is some difficulty in applying this scheme to binary and multiple star system, because a star's orbit can be very large or very small in scale compared to orbits of planets orbiting each individual star, or whole star system.


NeonDate: Wednesday, 25.05.2011, 14:51 | Message # 3
Group: SE team
Messages: 208
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No, definitely not suggesting grid lines, that'd be bad lol. No,
what I am suggesting, is a Hud system for when you begin to
think of working out Navigation of ships in space. ie what you
see through the cockpit, and what navigational aids you have.
As I see it, you need:

1.Height in degree's above or below the galactic plane.

2. Angle around the galactic plane ie your heading

3. The distance from a predetermined pole star within a galaxy. ie the sun.

Let me explain better. The choice of the Galactic North Pole is defined as the hemisphere above the galaxy where the galaxy
is rotating clockwise. ie which ever way the galaxy rotates, the view where it appears to be rotating clockwise
becomes Galactic North. This is divided up into +90 to -90 as in galactic coords. ie +90 = Galactic North.

For the heading,

For position around the plane. The Sun (or a chosen star) becomes the reference point. Looking down on the galaxy, imagine an upside down T laying over the galaxy. The vertical bar of the T touches galactic centre, and the Sun (or choses star) is the interesection of the vertical and horizontal bars of the T. That point is denoted as 0 degrees. So Quadrant 1 will 90 - 180, Q2 = 180 - 270, Q3 270 - 360 and the Sun (or chosesn star) becomes 0 degrees. Thus it's always easy to find your way to the Sun. Obviously in such a system, there is no quadrant 4. Add the +90 or -90 for depth. Therefore you can know your position at anytime.

This leaves 3 quadrants, again divided up from 90 to 260 degrees & Sol = 0 deg. See an example here:

T Based Galactic Coords

In this image, it's wrong as it's suppoed to beneficial to use the T system if Sol = 0. So you
have to adjust this as above.

this is from this site:

Galactic Navigation

So, you'd see a heading indicator showing heading away from the sun (or the selected pole star in any galaxy), and a galactic latitude indicator, along with a distance from the Pole Star (Sun or other chosesn star). So to head home,
all you do is rotate to heading of 0 degrees and you will arrive back at the Pole Star (or Sun in Milky Way.

In this way, you always know where you are relative to some chosen star, and when, in my case, you pass an interesting
object, you will have a reference to know how far to turn the ship, to get back to that interesting object, or how to get home.

I think this is a much more elegant solution than using galactic centre as the reference point, as it allows an easy reference points for each galaxy and easy to understand for the lay person. Obviously, the heading system can't altered in game for each galaxy, so you pick a universal system, and pick either a star or arbitary point in each galaxy. What that point is, is up to you. Obviously in Milky way it's the sun, but in other galaxies, well it could be any star in approximately the same position. smile

Then it's having an autopilot navigate between systems away from the Pole Star, is a matter of trigonometry.

If you didn't want to use this system, then the other good system is the Star Trek Naviagtional system.

Cool about the veloticy inidicator. and the star map system. I like the idea. Should be interesting to see how it works out. smile
I suppose you are doing this with thoughts of assisting the user in planning trips, and finding locations. A good idea
but don't know if it's possible within your current ideas, is to allow the user to define the region he's interested in. ie say he's interested in the region around Betelgeuse, then the star map would show that region, rather than simply the region around
the Sun. Be much more useful, though more work for you lol wink

I see so much potential for this Engine, it's so powerful, n I'm sure you can see the commercial possibilities lol Just hope they
happen for you.

Edited by Neon - Thursday, 26.05.2011, 00:31
NeonDate: Thursday, 26.05.2011, 17:23 | Message # 4
Group: SE team
Messages: 208
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I think I have been overthinking this lol

There's a much simpler method.

Define the Galactic Coordinate system as Astronomy does, with
Latiture + 90 defined as the View where the Galaxy rotates clockwise,
and Latitude - 90 as the opposite. Then define a meridian North South
Line between Galactic Centre and the Sun (or some chosesn star
within any Galaxy).

Then simply imagine a ship has 3 gyro's which measure the orientation
of the ship to the galactic plane. It then becomes simply providing
either 3 numbers (or some sort of Hud indication) for Yaw, Pitch and Roll
which tells you how the ship is oriented in space. Or the camera as in the
current vers.

What my original suggestion was about, was a way to see those 3 numbers
so then when I do pass an interesting object, I know exactly how far to
rotate the camera to get back to that object. Currently, there is no way to
know how far to rotate.

As for the later ideas of Navigation, I'd much prefer a method for manually
flying the ship to some place, with a waypoint or some hud guide rather
than click star n press Go. Simply because in RL you can't click on a star lol.

So simply knowing the coordinates of where you are, and the coordinates of
where you want to go, the program calculates a trajectory, n provides
either a waypoint on a hud, say a compass rose, along with Latitude indicator.

With just that, you can get anywhere.
SpaceEngineerDate: Friday, 27.05.2011, 00:27 | Message # 5
Author of Space Engine
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Russian Federation
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Now I understand. You explained the standard sun-centered galactic co-ordinate system in astronomy. But in the engine, the center star must be any star that users choose, or even center of current galaxy. I think this system can be integrated into the star map. Imagine a screen or window that shows you all stars in spherical region around chosen star, with a 3D grid-plane with galactic coordinates. You can click any star to see a vector from your current position to that star, with information about distance, flight time etc. Then you close the star map screen, path indicator shows you direction to selected star, and star's position on the screen is highlighted by circle or cross. I can't show you an images right now, maybe tomorrow I'll upload some pics.

I think that manual navigation using 3 Euler angles (yaw, pitch, roll) is impossible or it's very hardcore. It is much better to have an onscreen arrow-like indicator, that points to the desired rotation/direction, like in Orbiter.

You can try to rotate manually in 3D using debug mode. Press * key once to enter debug mode. You can see your current rotation quaternion at the bottom of the screen, near the coordinate data. Quaternion is a 4D vector that describes an objects orientation. It is similar to 3D vector of view direction and an angle of roll around this vector. Focus on any star using centering command, remember quaternion and rotate away in random direction. Next try to rotate back using only the numbers typed on the screen. You find that it is almost impossible smile Due to 4 coordinates. I think manual rotation is only possible with 2 coordinates (yaw, pitch) with third coordinate fixed (roll), as it is done in Orbiter, I think.


NeonDate: Friday, 27.05.2011, 00:40 | Message # 6
Group: SE team
Messages: 208
Status: Offline
Yes, even having just yaw and pitch indicators would aid alot.

I love navigating to places manually, picking a star to fly to, finding
it in the sky (only useful for close stars) then manually flying there.
Makes it feel like a ship lol.. something I've wanted all my life... my
own spaceship lol.
SpaceEngineerDate: Friday, 27.05.2011, 01:37 | Message # 7
Author of Space Engine
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Russian Federation
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Yeah, I'm hoping to implement some kind of game-play with spaceships this year... smile


NeonDate: Friday, 27.05.2011, 16:23 | Message # 8
Group: SE team
Messages: 208
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hehe sounds great. biggrin
AiioFluxDate: Monday, 06.01.2014, 02:08 | Message # 9
Space Tourist
Group: Users
United Kingdom
Messages: 32
Status: Offline
So I know this is an old thread but I think it is a relevant place to put this.
I would really love it if one of the poles of a planet could be defined as relative North (I guess latitude +90) and we are able to see an arrow overlay if desired which points always in that direction. That way, we can navigate the surfaces of planets with a good visual idea of where we are relative to the North Pole, which I think would be really useful as it's interesting to explore the features occuring at the different latitudes and traverse the planets surface in a controlled way in some direction but it would be nice not to have to be constantly looking at the lat/long and doing a sort of constant calculation. Would this be quite easy to implement as an option for a near release so us beta players can enjoy it?

As an aside, I also wonder, in free mode, would it be possible to 'lock' the altitude to avoid gaining or increasing due to curvature of the surface and avoiding (or making less likely) the phenomenon of hitting the surface and everything going all clippy? Option of sea or 'surf' would be fantastic but either one alone would be too.
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