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Forum » SpaceEngine » Feedback and Suggestions » Maxwell's assorted thoughts and rants ((Like you wanted to know))
Maxwell's assorted thoughts and rants
CaptainMaxwellDate: Sunday, 19.01.2014, 20:36 | Message # 1
Observer
Group: Newbies
Austria
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I am of course no more entitled to be heard than anyone else. But since, you know...
Also forgive me, this is very prosaic. I don't like writing lists.

There are threads on the forum about "realistic" graphic settings. Theres so many sliders and numbers in the settings menu that one can easily get lost. And I wonder: do we actually need that stuff? Now even if all the sliders stay what I would want to see is some kind of preset thingy (or saving settings...). Would make things easier, not only for newbies. Would also enable us to switch quickly from those "space is dark and empty" settings to "oh my god, take a picture" without fumbling around.

When you hit the info panel of an object it gives you all sorts of physical in-game characteristics. Yet only rarely there is an ingame wiki entry for that. (of course, there will never be one for PG-stuff). I would suggest to directly tie into its wikipedia.org entry - they are surprisingly well written. Or, if you want it more professional and hardcore, you could draw data via SIMBAD.

Speaking of SIMBAD, I was wondering if you could, instead of saving the stuff locally and distributing it with the installation, query the catalog data via Vizier TAP, either user activated and locally saved, or probably even streaming (though I doubt that Viziers response time would support that). That would guarantee that everything that is known out there is inside SE without you having to compile the catalogs time and again. For added fanciness you could even query the spectra data and exactly reproduce the stars colour on screen. This could be extened of course: besides SIMBAD, exoplanet data can be tapped into - even if the planet was confirmed only a week ago it would already be in SE. Not sure about the MPC - their data format and availability seems to be rather unwieldly (although the possibility of having every piece of space junk in SE would probably be worth it.)

Another wish of mine would be surface feature naming. Think of some kind of toogle-able overlay for planets and moons (only in our solar system of course). The Gazetteer files are available online in standard GIS shapefile format which should be easily implementable.

I enjoy flying to all those selenas out there. Simply because the PG provides stunning visuals. The problem here is that it only does so with stuff that you can walk on. Gas giants look quite underwhelming in comparision - they can't get even close to good ole Jupiters appearance. (Speaking of Jupiter: while I've seen so many Callisto-clones out there, where's the fancy stuff, like Io?) This becomes even more appearant with really large stuff - giant stars. They are just giant, strange looking blobs. A bit more detail would be good - as of now they are no match to main sequence stars (I love the millions of granules on those M-dwarves...)

Open up your star browser, enter "12", and give it a go. It does not matter where you are, you will drown in Supernova remnants. There are so many neutron stars and black holes that its no wonder we are searching for black matter.
Really? Even within a few parsecs of the sun you get this stuff - IIRC the nearest known supernova remnant is nearly 1,000 ly away. You know, I doubt that, with all the proper motion measurements of nearby stars over the years, massive objects in the suns vicinity would get unnoticed. What is even more fancy is that a good chunk of those remnants are part of multiples... partnered with brown dwarves. A brown dwarf, circling a black hole with a SMA of 3 AU. Really? I wonder how he survived the progenitors death? I am also not sure that, give current stellar system evolution models, some of those multiple systems with mountains of planets could indeed have formed that way.

(Speaking of the star browser: I am a database and SQL guy. I don't like GUI. I like to query stuff directly. I want a browser where I can search for all A-class stars within 50 pc, sorted by Oblateness. Or whatever absurd idea I can come up with...)

What is the opposite of all those dead stellar bodies? Yep, life. I am just looking at a Warm Terra with an ESI of .819. Life? Why, no. But in some systems there is life on everthing - if they'd fire a kitchen sink into orbit even that would harbor some species. With so many floaters on gas giants (I like Sagan but that concept is a little bit to exotic) and subglacial life on Triton-like snowballs (22 K!) the universe gets turned into the doorknob at a public toilet - crawling with stuff.

I really would like to know more about the PG and the parameters it uses. Is the atmospheric composition calculated and taken into account when it comes to colour (probably as per Sudarsky when it comes to gas giants)? Is there somewhat realistic erosion and stuff? (I remember seeing some rather odd terrain features, especially on titans.) Magnetic fields? (Aurorae on planets with an atmosphere of barely .001 atm; oh, speaking of which: we have K and pc, how about bar or Pa for pressure? And for object age I'd suggest Ma and Ga instead of the scientific notation.) Or, on larger scales, clusters, associations, bubbles, up to grand structures like cosmic superclusters. How is (or will be) nebula generation handled - intended or randomly and then depending on the local lightning/energy condition (thus creating reflection/emission nebulae and even dark clouds.) (Or, right now, a hot oceania orbiting Canopus with a thin atmosphere and 200 centigrades surface temperature - what is this liquid? Mercury?)

And then there's the spacecraft. Even with Kerbal Space Program, which has a quite powerful standard GUI, there are bazillions of mods adding stuff to simply aid with flying. Unless SE gets something really powerful I prefer normal navigation rather than flying around with hardware (although, being a Trekkie, I really love the good Doctor's Enterprise port. Now if we only had craft files where I could define speeds and accelerations for my Sovereign... Warp 9 Mister Crusher... erm, Mister Hawk... Ah, Lieutenant Hawk, the modern redshirt...)

And is there any chance we gotta see the texture packs in a conventional download-format (probably even included in the standard installation - although the size would be hefty). I can't get the magnets to work. (I just saw that some of it already ended up on GD or Wuala - that is very much appreciated.)

For ultra-hardcore experience you could simulate different sensors, switching over to standardized IR, UV or x-ray (or 21cm Alpha (times pi, if you really like Sagan)) false-color. That would probably mean giving multiple colours and luminosities to everything and displaying them as per current settings.

Oh, and the clouds. Lots of problems with them. I am sure you noticed.

I won't comment on many of the TO-DO thingies. I hope when reaching the 15k mark we will indeed see that stuff in 2015 (like better GUI and controls - I still get lost occasionally). Except for one thing: While I personally would like to have a game (because currently SE is a sandbox for nerds, and nothing more) I think that beefing up the engine itself and then licensing it out would be a smarter move. Think of Kerbal Space Program or Star Citizen with a good-looking and realistic universe. Or probably any 4X you want. The rationale behind that is that the skills it takes to make an engine and to make a game are completely different. For as powerful as every iteration of CryEngine was, the according Crysis version always ended up as an unimaginative mediocre shooter.

I guess thats it for the moment. More when I stumble over it or remember it. Or when I am motivated to write another wall of text.

(Addendum: I might suggest contacting the IVOA. SE falls right into their ballpark - they might be able to support you, probably even give official endorsement.)

Thanks for your work Vlad. Really appreciate it.
 
apenpaapDate: Sunday, 19.01.2014, 21:05 | Message # 2
World Builder
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Those are a lot of questions, so I'll only answer a few:

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
Open up your star browser, enter "12", and give it a go. It does not matter where you are, you will drown in Supernova remnants. There are so many neutron stars and black holes that its no wonder we are searching for black matter.


Agreed. Even if the prevalence of stellar remnants has been reduced since the previous version, there's still too many of them around. And especially too many black holes and neutron stars compared to white dwarfs.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
I really would like to know more about the PG and the parameters it uses. Is the atmospheric composition calculated and taken into account when it comes to colour (probably as per Sudarsky when it comes to gas giants)?


There are four different colour schemes for gas and ice giants in standard SE: a grey one for hot gas giants, a blue one for both temperate and extremely cold ones, a Jupiter-like one for cool gas giants, and a Saturn-like one for cold gas giants. You can find more palettes in this thread, however, with varying degrees of realism.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
For ultra-hardcore experience you could simulate different sensors, switching over to standardized IR, UV or x-ray (or 21cm Alpha (times pi, if you really like Sagan)) false-color. That would probably mean giving multiple colours and luminosities to everything and displaying them as per current settings.


This has been mentioned before, but it would be an incredible amount of work to make it work, so don't expect to see it anytime soon, if ever.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
There are threads on the forum about "realistic" graphic settings. Theres so many sliders and numbers in the settings menu that one can easily get lost. And I wonder: do we actually need that stuff? Now even if all the sliders stay what I would want to see is some kind of preset thingy (or saving settings...). Would make things easier, not only for newbies. Would also enable us to switch quickly from those "space is dark and empty" settings to "oh my god, take a picture" without fumbling around.


While I do think the many sliders and options should stay, it's a good idea to have sets of preset settings that you could just pick for a certain group of settings.





I occasionally stream at http://www.twitch.tv/magistermystax. Sometimes SE, sometimes other games.
 
DeathStarDate: Sunday, 19.01.2014, 23:59 | Message # 3
Pioneer
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Croatia
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Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
There are threads on the forum about "realistic" graphic settings. Theres so many sliders and numbers in the settings menu that one can easily get lost. And I wonder: do we actually need that stuff? Now even if all the sliders stay what I would want to see is some kind of preset thingy (or saving settings...). Would make things easier, not only for newbies. Would also enable us to switch quickly from those "space is dark and empty" settings to "oh my god, take a picture" without fumbling around.


Although the current sliders should stay, I agree that there should also be generalized options.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
When you hit the info panel of an object it gives you all sorts of physical in-game characteristics. Yet only rarely there is an ingame wiki entry for that. (of course, there will never be one for PG-stuff). I would suggest to directly tie into its wikipedia.org entry - they are surprisingly well written. Or, if you want it more professional and hardcore, you could draw data via SIMBAD.


I personally don't think that it would be ideal to copy-paste from online sources. At the same time however, the dev is too busy implementing actual features to take the time to make wiki entries.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
Another wish of mine would be surface feature naming. Think of some kind of toogle-able overlay for planets and moons (only in our solar system of course). The Gazetteer files are available online in standard GIS shapefile format which should be easily implementable.


This is planned for both catalog worlds and procedural worlds, however I don't think that it is a priority right now. The way I understand it is that catalog objects would have preset locations(Mount Everest, Mount Olympus on Mars, The Great Red Spot, the crater on Mimas etc), while procedural objects would have their major landscape features labeled.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
I enjoy flying to all those selenas out there. Simply because the PG provides stunning visuals. The problem here is that it only does so with stuff that you can walk on. Gas giants look quite underwhelming in comparision - they can't get even close to good ole Jupiters appearance. (Speaking of Jupiter: while I've seen so many Callisto-clones out there, where's the fancy stuff, like Io?) This becomes even more appearant with really large stuff - giant stars. They are just giant, strange looking blobs. A bit more detail would be good - as of now they are no match to main sequence stars (I love the millions of granules on those M-dwarves...)


"Improved gas giant atmospheres" is on the to-do list. I assume that means that we get both a greater detail of the upper parts of the atmosphere and actual atmospheres of gas giants- no ground(I will personally be very happy when that happens since I haven't encountered a single game that does this. Does Celestia do this?). Also, worlds with color schemes like Io exist, but they are much rarer than the classic selena.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
Open up your star browser, enter "12", and give it a go. It does not matter where you are, you will drown in Supernova remnants. There are so many neutron stars and black holes that its no wonder we are searching for black matter.
Really? Even within a few parsecs of the sun you get this stuff - IIRC the nearest known supernova remnant is nearly 1,000 ly away. You know, I doubt that, with all the proper motion measurements of nearby stars over the years, massive objects in the suns vicinity would get unnoticed. What is even more fancy is that a good chunk of those remnants are part of multiples... partnered with brown dwarves. A brown dwarf, circling a black hole with a SMA of 3 AU. Really? I wonder how he survived the progenitors death? I am also not sure that, give current stellar system evolution models, some of those multiple systems with mountains of planets could indeed have formed that way.


Completely agree with this. It is like the universe is 50 billion years old, not 13 billion years old. The abundance of brown dwarfs around these stars was strange for me too.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
What is the opposite of all those dead stellar bodies? Yep, life. I am just looking at a Warm Terra with an ESI of .819. Life? Why, no. But in some systems there is life on everthing - if they'd fire a kitchen sink into orbit even that would harbor some species. With so many floaters on gas giants (I like Sagan but that concept is a little bit to exotic) and subglacial life on Triton-like snowballs (22 K!) the universe gets turned into the doorknob at a public toilet - crawling with stuff.


Again, completely agreed. Even back in ordinary 0.97 I thought that life was over-abundant, now with the addition of every planet type except for selenas being able to host life it is now painfully obvious that this is way too much. To me, titans with life are too abundant. It is hard to find a good terra with life- not because there is little life in the universe, but because there is too much exotic life.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
I really would like to know more about the PG and the parameters it uses. Is the atmospheric composition calculated and taken into account when it comes to colour (probably as per Sudarsky when it comes to gas giants)? Is there somewhat realistic erosion and stuff? (I remember seeing some rather odd terrain features, especially on titans.) Magnetic fields? (Aurorae on planets with an atmosphere of barely .001 atm; oh, speaking of which: we have K and pc, how about bar or Pa for pressure? And for object age I'd suggest Ma and Ga instead of the scientific notation.) Or, on larger scales, clusters, associations, bubbles, up to grand structures like cosmic superclusters. How is (or will be) nebula generation handled - intended or randomly and then depending on the local lightning/energy condition (thus creating reflection/emission nebulae and even dark clouds.) (Or, right now, a hot oceania orbiting Canopus with a thin atmosphere and 200 centigrades surface temperature - what is this liquid? Mercury?)


Details for composition is requested quite a lot, and it will probably be implemented sooner or later. I'm not sure if erosion is simulated during generation or not. Nebula generation is unfinished and primitive at best- there aren't even procedural models right now, not to mention dynamic lightning, but both are planned(I can't wait for dynamic lightning so I can watch as a star illuminates the surrounding dark nebula, look at the picture of the LDN 43 nebula to see how magnificent it looks).

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
For ultra-hardcore experience you could simulate different sensors, switching over to standardized IR, UV or x-ray (or 21cm Alpha (times pi, if you really like Sagan)) false-color. That would probably mean giving multiple colours and luminosities to everything and displaying them as per current settings.


As apenpaap said, it would be hard to implement and would probably not be implemented until much later, if ever.


Edited by DeathStar - Monday, 20.01.2014, 00:03
 
rdskns4evaDate: Sunday, 09.02.2014, 06:24 | Message # 4
Astronaut
Group: Users
United States
Messages: 68
Status: Offline
Sorry to do a TLDR Maxwell, but for others who dont want to read. (+1 for ideas I like). Please correct me if I got something wrong.

1. Add Graphical presets. To many sliders can be confusing. +1
2. Link Cataloged items to Wiki or SIMBAD astronomical database page so you can read up on it. +1
3. Add sophisticated program that allows real known data to be automatically uploaded to space engine. +1
4. Rename planet surfaces?? -1 (don't know what the point of this would be)
5. Gas Giants need to be redone. Too many moon/Callisto planets, not enough Io/volcanic ect planets. Fix Giant stars (planets are fine to me, but I'll give a +1 for stars)
6. Too many black holes, too many Neutron stars (+1)
7. Refine search results (+1)
8. Too much life (you can adjust this already -1)
9. More science info. How are procedurals calculated? (+1)
10. Fix space craft (they are working on this)
11. Make mod downloads easier to manage (pretty easy as is, but +1)
12. Add radar/satellite mechanics (+10000000000)
13. Fix clouds (they just added clouds)





Core 17 3770k (3.5 GHz) - GTX 680 4GB (SLI), 256 GB SSD - 2 TB HDD - 16GB Corsair RAM
 
RockoRocksDate: Sunday, 09.02.2014, 10:30 | Message # 5
World Builder
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Belgium
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Quote rdskns4eva ()
not enough Io/volcanic ect planets.

Actual volcanic or lava planets aren't supported yet in Space Egnine.





I will be inactive on this forum for the time being. Might come back eventually

AMD AR-3305M APU w/ Radeon HD 1.90 GHz 6,00 GB RAM
 
SpaceEngineerDate: Monday, 10.02.2014, 01:18 | Message # 6
Author of Space Engine
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Russian Federation
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Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
I would suggest to directly tie into its wikipedia.org entry - they are surprisingly well written.

You are purpose me to make a built-in web browser. Did you realize, how extremely hard this is?

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
Speaking of SIMBAD, I was wondering if you could, instead of saving the stuff locally and distributing it with the installation, query the catalog data via Vizier TAP, either user activated and locally saved, or probably even streaming (though I doubt that Viziers response time would support that).

There are a lot of troubles with this.
1) There are a lot of different databases, each have its own data format, that may be changed at any time.
2) 99.999% of databases cannot be used in SE, because they have no distance data. Think of it! Unlike ground-based planetariums, in SE objects must be placed in 3D space.
3) They have a lot of errors.
4) They are not optimized for streaming and render (no octree-like structure), and have huge latency.
5) They have a lot of cross-referenced objects. Finding and fixing duplicates in real-time is an headache.
6) There is no good and useful exoplanets catalog. I always use data from 3 catalogs, combine it with a program, but result is still have a lot of errors and must be fixed manually.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
Another wish of mine would be surface feature naming. Think of some kind of toogle-able overlay for planets and moons (only in our solar system of course). The Gazetteer files are available online in standard GIS shapefile format which should be easily implementable.

This is planned, read the TODO list: http://en.spaceengine.org/forum/21-11-1

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
where's the fancy stuff, like Io?

Because they are not implemented yet.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
They are just giant, strange looking blobs.

They do have such appearance in reality. When I make their surface animated, they will be impressive. http://en.spaceengine.org/forum/22-689-1

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
IIRC the nearest known supernova remnant is nearly 1,000 ly away.

This is nearest visible supernova nebula. Solitary black hole or neutron star may be (must be!) much closer - we just can't detect it.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
You know, I doubt that, with all the proper motion measurements of nearby stars over the years, massive objects in the suns vicinity would get unnoticed.

No, proper motion cannot detect them. They have a mass of a star - no more. Stars don't react to each other, only if they come very close, 0.1 light year or so.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
A brown dwarf, circling a black hole with a SMA of 3 AU. Really? I wonder how he survived the progenitors death?

Do you know what first discovered exoplanets are rotating around neutron star?

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
(Speaking of the star browser: I am a database and SQL guy. I don't like GUI. I like to query stuff directly. I want a browser where I can search for all A-class stars within 50 pc, sorted by Oblateness. Or whatever absurd idea I can come up with...)

This will be in the online game. Players can query database of discovered objects. Only discovered! You can't use a search in unknown region of a galaxy - you must explore each star system first.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
Is the atmospheric composition calculated

No. When I implement atmospheric composition calculation, it will be printed in the planet info of course.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
when it comes to colour (probably as per Sudarsky when it comes to gas giants)?

Atmosphere models (there are only 7 models in SE!) are chosen by some rules for terrestrial planets and gas giants. Gas giants cloud colors are also chosen according to temperature (if you didn't install palette mods for them).

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
Is there somewhat realistic erosion and stuff?

Erosion is very computational expensive thing. But I am planning to implement it in the future.
For now, SE only have procedural terrain. But some fractal functions generates erosion-like looking terrain features. And you may notice, what they are used only on bodies what have liquid on surface (terras and titans).

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
Magnetic fields?

Not yet.

--------------

Oh, I may give you a simple answer on all questions regarding generator: as long as SE is a scientifically accurate Universe simulator, then one day it will implement ALL space objects and phenomenon that are known to modern astronomy. So you may not bother yourself with questions like "will SE one day have meteor rain implemented". I guarantee that it WILL.

--------------

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
And is there any chance we gotta see the texture packs in a conventional download-format (probably even included in the standard installation - although the size would be hefty). I can't get the magnets to work. (I just saw that some of it already ended up on GD or Wuala - that is very much appreciated.)

This is depending on how good funding will go, or how soon I starting to rise money from the game. When I will be able to purchase a server for downloads.
Or maybe Steam version of SE will have a default mods that can be downloaded by Steam client.

Quote CaptainMaxwell ()
Oh, and the clouds. Lots of problems with them. I am sure you noticed.

Of course, I made them. You must have patience, I can't do all nice shiny stuff at once. I am only one person!





 
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