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Magnetar

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A couple of suggestions
« on: August 10, 2009, 04:43:46 PM »
Hi.
I'm making some general suggestions towards improving US.
I'll put the most promising ones at the top and the insane ones in the bottom.

Space Friction:
Some sort of friction mode which decelerates moving objects.

Speed Based Space Friction:
A more complex friction mode which only decelerate objects which are above certain speed. This way the user can controll actually the speeds of his objects in his system.

Active Vector Drawning:
As alternative or addition to "Drag & Drop Movement" I thought of active vector drawning. The user selects his object and holds M1. What he now does, while he holds M1, is drawning a vector line in a XY plane, starting from his object. As soon as he releases M1, he will automatically have the end point of the vector selected. By moving his mouse he will now alternate the height (Z axis) of the end point. As soon has he presses M1 again the height of the end point will be set. The velocity vector is now finished and the object will be set instantly into motion.

Drag & Drop Movement:
Moving and putting objects into motion in RT by dragging them and dropping them in space (some how). Based on the mouse velocity until the drop event a speed will be assigned to the object which was dragged. I don't know how this could be realised in 3D in a good way. But maybe with a work plane.

Single Object Tracing:
This just means, that you select a single object and turn on that it make a trace just for itself. I think this would be especially good for a better performance of US.

Selectable Lagrange Points:
By making Lagrange Points selectable points, just in a way like objects are selectable, users could easily make trojans.

Energetic Colour Mode:
A colour mode showing which kind of energy of an object is higher.
For example: Blue means that the potential energy is higher, red means the kinetic energy is higher. Pink means, that potential and kinetic energy are almost equal.

Custom Coloured Background:
Basically just allow the user to choose a custom background colour.

Fixable Objects:
Basically this would be a tool which would allow you to make masses fixed in your 3D space.
That way they wouldn't be influenced in movement by the gravity of other objects, but however would still pull other objects.

Object breakup on tidal forces:
An option which makes objects brake upon a defined amount of tidal forces. The amount and the masses of the objects into which the object breaks apart could be totally random, or one value could be predefined. The possible configurations would be:
A) Amount X, Mass Random => Creates upon breakup X objects with random masses
B) Amount X, Mass Equal => Creates upon breakup X objects with equal masses.  
C) Amount Random, Mass Equal => Creates upon breakup a random amount of objects with equal masses.
D) Amount Random, Mass Random => Creates upon breakup a random amount of objects with random masses.

Fully Customizable Rings:
A function which allows the user, to make his own planetary rings by setting two distances from the selected mass. The first distance describes at which distance the ring begins, the second distance describes at which distance the ring ends. Before the user is done with making his ring, he still can adjust the density of it. The function could also be made more complex and customizable by also allowing the user to modify the angles at which the ring aligns to the planet.

System Center as a Visible Point:
The System Center as visible and moving point in space. It might be also good if it might be selectable.

No Shadows Mode:
Planets are sometimes hardly visible and can only be guessed with the highlight function, even if visual glowing mode is already turned on. A mode which deactivates shadow or the shadow layer might be helping.

Coloured Objects:
Instead of textures the user could be able simply to colour his object. That way the player could use US easier on a analytical level. By giving objects with certain purposes certain colours.

Friction through Particle Consumption:[/i]
This idea is based upon the idea of simulating solid objects moving through gas clouds and rings. The title already explains the idea pretty well. Basically everytime a moving object is hit by a particle it gets slowed down. To allow the user how strong objects are slowed down, I think a simple slider in the settings would be enough.

Spherical Light Pulse:[/i]
An alternative light pulse mode which spawns a particles ordered in the shape of a sphere instead of a circle.

Additional Camera Functions:
I'm actually being inspired by Celestia for this. It might be interesting to be able to make the camera parented to a an object, capable of being tilt, synchronized to the rotation of an object, as well as centered on a selected object. However since these would be just camera functions, they wouldn't have any other practical use than adding new possibilites of making screenshots, videos or just looking around.

Trail Styles:
Different styles of trails. For example: A dotted and dashed line, as well as a simple version of the line which has no fading out effects and just ends and starts and maybe a general capability to use customizable trail sprites.

2D Trails:
As I understand the current trail mode objects set points after a predefined timer interval, which then basically create lines. This way the trails can be observed in 3D. However they eat up quite a lot of performance. 2D trails instead would be simple 2D trails, which simply work by letting objects painting the pixels over which they move. They are 2D, meaining that they will be removed as soon as you move your camera, but they are a lot of more performance efficient and could be used for longtime simulations in which you would be simply interested into how orbits will turn out after an X amount of time.

Statistical Tools:
Some statistical tools would be interesting. For example graphs showing stuff like Mass-Velocity, Mass-n-Bodies, etc. It doesn't have to be line graphs, I think simple bar charts would also already do the job, calculating the total mass in the system and dividing the masses in about 10 - 20 categories.

The Event Log:
I suggest to introduce a simple event log, which simply logs objects collisions and mergings, as well as the time of the events. This would especailly help the user of keeping track of the events happening in large scaled systems.

Gravity Mapping:
The very interesting thing about the 2D grid is that it shows in acceleration mode during the first seconds a gravity map of all massy objects. You can even see the low gravity zones in which some of the lagrange points are situated It might be really interesting to introduce some sort of fixed and improved version of that 2D grid for gravity mapping. Picture. The little yellow dot between the Earth and Moon is actually where L1 is situated. Thinking about including it, I think the first and simplest way would be simple to introduce a slice of very dense ordered but fixed particles. Like the current 2D grid. However it could be selected and simply moved around the dimension. Or rotated. A bit like the slicing function in this demonstration of the magnetic force: http://www.falstad.com/vector3dm/

Wrapped Space:
If you think of space as a giant 4D ball (which it probably is) you will go back to the same position when you just go straight into the same direction. Basically, this could means for you that your objects won't just disappear in the space, but just come out at the other side of the space again.

The Probe:
Probably the craziest feature I'm suggesting. The probe would be basically an object whose movement can be controlled with a couple of keys on your keyboard (numpad keys would be probably the best). The movement would start instantly when the key is pressed, with no acceleration phase. The user however would be able to set it's speed in the settings, so he can choose a suitable velocity for different solar systems. The probe would also be able able to draw a trail in space, when enabled. Now we come to the interesting and helpful way the probe could be used: Like all other objects the probe would be affected by gravity. This means the user is capable of studying how speed influences the orbit of real probes. He would also be able to perform slingshot maneuvers and a simple level and all the other basic stuff which space agencies are doing with their probes and space vehicles.

Dynamic Masses / Gravity Waves:
This is probably my craziest idea. But I think that it might be interesting, if masses could dynamically vary with different frequencies based on classic sine waves. This way the user would be able to create gravity waves in US, effecting the orbits of various objects in a very different way.

Note:
I might make some mock-up interface and stuff to certain suggestions again.

Suggestions made by other Forum Members:

Eclipse Mode (Naru523):
It show shadows, example like Saturn's Ring, it is black due to Saturn's Shadow, and the Moon eclipsing the Sun, making the Earth a bit blocked.

Debris Setting (Chaotic Cow):
A toggle or number option on how long Debris from colliding bodies last.
This option will be useful for people who want to create rings and stuff by collisions and not manually.

Various 2D & 3D graph modes (FGFG)::
FGFG basically suggests a mode which tracks velocity, acceleration, distance (and maybe mass?) and shows these in 2D and 3D graphs. Original Post: Click Here

Particle consumption: (Bla)
When one of the massless particles you can make in US hits a massive body, it could add X mass to the body. The extra mass could be determined by a slider.

Protobodies: (Bla)
When you make objects like rings, there could be an option to make a (small) percentage of the particles into small bodies with mass. With the particle consumption idea above, the rings could form small bodies and in protoplanetary discs they could also form small bodies that could perhaps end up as protoplanets. Whee.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 04:08:06 AM by Magnetar »

atomic7732

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2009, 04:50:30 PM »
Space Friction:
Some sort of friction mode which decelerates moving objects.

Kind of like in an accretion disk?

Magnetar

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2009, 04:53:50 PM »
Space Friction:
Some sort of friction mode which decelerates moving objects.

Kind of like in an accretion disk?

Not  that way. Just friction effecting all objects which are moving in your virtual space / room.

Chaotic Cow

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2009, 05:05:39 PM »
I like these ideas. Though no need for wrapped space as I never seem to do anything that big to need it to be...wrapped.

Naru523

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2009, 08:20:44 PM »
Space Friction:
Some sort of friction mode which decelerates moving objects.

Speed Based Space Friction:
A more complex friction mode which only decelerate objects which are above certain speed. This way the user can controll actually the speeds of his objects in his system.

Active Vector Drawning:
As alternative or addition to "Drag & Drop Movement" I thought of active vector drawning. The user selects his object and holds M1. What he now does, while he holds M1, is drawning a vector line in a XY plane, starting from his object. As soon as he releases M1, he will automatically have the end point of the vector selected. By moving his mouse he will now alternate the height (Z axis) of the end point. As soon has he presses M1 again the height of the end point will be set. The velocity vector is now finished and the object will be set instantly into motion.

Drag & Drop Movement:
Moving and putting objects into motion in RT by dragging them and dropping them in space (some how). Based on the mouse velocity until the drop event a speed will be assigned to the object which was dragged. I don't know how this could be realised in 3D in a good way. But maybe with a work plane.

Single Object Tracing:
This just means, that you select a single object and turn on that it make a trace just for itself. I think this would be especially good for a better performance of US.

Energetic Colour Mode:
A colour mode showing which kind of energy of an object is higher.
For example: Blue means that the potential energy is higher, red means the kinetic energy is higher. Pink means, that potential and kinetic energy are almost equal.

Statistical Tools:
Some statistical tools would be interesting. For example graphs showing stuff like Mass-Velocity, Mass-n-Bodies, etc. It doesn't have to be line graphs, I think simple bar charts would also already do the job, calculating the total mass in the system and dividing the masses in about 10 - 20 categories.

Wrapped Space:
If you think of space as a giant 4D ball (which it probably is) you will go back to the same position when you just go straight into the same direction. Basically, this could means for you that your objects won't just disappear in the space, but just come out at the other side of the space again.

Dynamic Masses / Gravity Waves:
This is probably my craziest idea. But I think that it might be interesting, if masses could dynamically vary with different frequencies based on classic sine waves. This way the user would be able to create gravity waves in US, effecting the orbits of various objects in a very different way.

Note:
I might make some mock-up interface and stuff to certain suggestions again.
Our Solar System - All Known Comets :: Idea by Chaotic Cow
It shows all the comets orbiting the Sun. Thank CC for the idea.

Dan Dixon

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2009, 11:21:05 PM »
Wow... These are great and some of them would be pretty easy to implement.

I feel comfortable promising Energetic Colour Mode & Space Friction in the next release.

And it's possible Single Object Tracing (Trails) will also show up. (maybe)

Chart mode is a major area I'm focusing on improving and your Statistical Tool idea is definitely influential.

And I plan on adding something with similar results to your Active Vector Drawing suggestion.

I like the idea of drag & drop movement... That would be cool

Awesome ideas. Keep them coming.

Magnetar

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2009, 10:00:45 AM »
That's very great Dan. :)

Anyways, I added some more stuff into the list:

Selectable Lagrange Points:
By making Lagrange Points selectable points, just in a way like objects are selectable, users could easily make trojans.

Custom Coloured Background:
Basically just allow the user to choose a custom background colour.

System Center as a Visible Point:
The System Center as visible and moving point in space. It might be also good if it might be selectable.

No Shadows Mode:
Planets are sometimes hardly visible and can only be guessed with the highlight function, even if visual glowing mode is already turned on. A mode which deactivates shadow or the shadow layer might be helping.

Coloured Objects:
Instead of textures the user could be able simply to colour his object. That way the player could use US easier on an analytical level. By giving objects with certain purposes certain colours.

Naru523

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2009, 03:21:42 PM »
No Shadows Mode:
Planets are sometimes hardly visible and can only be guessed with the highlight function, even if visual glowing mode is already turned on. A mode which deactivates shadow or the shadow layer might be helping.
I forgot to tell Dan about this soo...
Eclipse Mode
It show shadows, example like Saturn's Ring, it is black due to Saturn's Shadow, and the Moon eclipsing the Sun, making the Earth a bit blocked.

Coloured Objects:
Instead of textures the user could be able simply to colour his object. That way the player could use US easier on an analytical level. By giving objects with certain purposes certain colours.
Dan already got this working.

atomic7732

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2009, 03:42:13 PM »
Eclipse mode should be like, default.

Chaotic Cow

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2009, 03:47:32 PM »
Yes. The Comet idea was brilliant. :D *Showoff*

But I like the no shadows and eclipse mode!

atomic7732

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2009, 03:49:06 PM »
Yes. The Comet idea was brilliant. :D *Showoff*

i don't see it  ??? *confused and confuzzled*

Chaotic Cow

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2009, 03:50:55 PM »

Magnetar

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2009, 08:23:02 AM »
I think Eclipse mode aka dynamic lightning might make some trouble with US. It would probably have a huge impact on the performance of US. But there might be some way to work around. For example a texture layer could be projected over planets, which is basically black, but has a transparency gradient from full transparency to no transparency. All which would happen to the texture now would be, that the full transparent side is always scrolled in a way so that it directly faces the object which is supposed to be the light source. It would be a fake dynamic lightening, meaning that objects wouldn't throw shadows on other objects, but always having a shadow side oppossing a side where the planet is illuminated and the surface could be seen lighted up because of the high transperancy.

A new idea of mine:
Fixable Objects:
Basically this would be a tool which would allow you to make masses fixed in your 3D space.
That way they wouldn't be influenced in movement by the gravity of other objects, but however would still pull other objects.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 03:43:34 PM by Magnetar »

Naru523

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2009, 10:49:34 AM »
Aww... :P

Dan Dixon

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2009, 06:16:43 AM »
A new idea of mine:
Fixable Objects:
Basically this would be a tool which would allow you to make masses fixed in your 3D space.
That way they wouldn't be influenced in movement by the gravity of other objects, but however would still pull other objects.

This is on the list for version 2. :)

Quote
Eclipse mode
This is on my long term wish list.

Magnetar

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2009, 10:04:24 AM »
A new idea of mine:
Fixable Objects:
Basically this would be a tool which would allow you to make masses fixed in your 3D space.
That way they wouldn't be influenced in movement by the gravity of other objects, but however would still pull other objects.

This is on the list for version 2. :)

Thank you. That's very great. :)
It will be very interesting feature and I predict that a whole new way of using the gravity simulation ability of Universe Sandbox will come into existance. I predict that users will make objects of different masses fixed in space and then play some gravitational pinball by throwing in a non-fixed object into the system.

Anyways, another idea for product improvement:

Fully Customizable Rings:
A function which allows the user, to make his own planetary rings by setting two distances from the selected mass. The first distance describes at which distance the ring begins, the second distance describes at which distance the ring ends. Before the user is done with making his ring, he still can adjust the density of it. The function could also be made more complex and customizable by also allowing the user to modify the angles at which the ring aligns to the planet.

The Probe:
Probably the craziest feature I'm suggesting. The probe would be basically an object whose movement can be controlled with a couple of keys on your keyboard (numpad keys would be probably the best). The movement would start instantly when the key is pressed, with no acceleration phase. The user however would be able to set it's speed in the settings, so he can choose a suitable velocity for different solar systems. The probe would also be able able to draw a trail in space, when enabled. Now we come to the interesting and helpful way the probe could be used: Like all other objects the probe would be affected by gravity. This means the user is capable of studying how speed influences the orbit of real probes. He would also be able to perform slingshot maneuvers and a simple level and all the other basic stuff which space agencies are doing with their probes and space vehicles.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2009, 10:22:02 AM by Magnetar »

Chaotic Cow

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2009, 10:09:30 AM »
Debris Setting

A toggle or number option on how long Debris from colliding bodies last.
This option will be useful for people who want to create rings and stuff by collisions and not manually.

Magnetar

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2009, 09:08:38 AM »
Huh, didn't expected that you guys start to place your suggestion into my thread.  ???
Anyways, some more suggestions from me:

Object breakup on tidal forces:
An option which makes objects brake upon a defined amount of tidal forces. The amount and the masses of the objects into which the object breaks apart could be totally random, or one value could be predefined. The possible configurations would be:
A) Amount X, Mass Random => Creates upon breakup X objects with random masses
B) Amount X, Mass Equal => Creates upon breakup X objects with equal masses.  
C) Amount Random, Mass Equal => Creates upon breakup a random amount of objects with equal masses.
D) Amount Random, Mass Random => Creates upon breakup a random amount of objects with random masses.

Trail Styles:
Different styles of trails. For example: A dotted and dashed line, as well as a simple version of the line which has no fading out effects and just ends and starts and maybe a general capability to use customizable trail sprites.

2D Trails:
As I understand the current trail mode objects set points after a predefined timer interval, which then basically create lines. This way the trails can be observed in 3D. However they eat up quite a lot of performance. 2D trails instead would be simple 2D trails, which simply work by letting objects painting the pixels over which they move. They are 2D, meaining that they will be removed as soon as you move your camera, but they are a lot of more performance efficient and could be used for longtime simulations in which you would be simply interested into how orbits will turn out after an X amount of time.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2009, 12:30:41 PM by Magnetar »

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2009, 11:02:38 AM »
Huh, didn't expected that you guys start to place your suggestion into my thread.  ???
Since the title was very neutral, I thought it'd be better to post in here instead of making a new thread called "Another Couple of Suggestions". :)

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2009, 03:42:11 PM »
Huh, didn't expected that you guys start to place your suggestion into my thread.  ???

I'd take it as a compliment. It's good to be part of a great thread.


Object breakup on tidal forces:

This is a complicated one, but something I look forward to addressing after I release the major UI improvements in version 2.0

Trail Styles

Other than just personal preference, I'm not sure how useful this feature would be. It's a good idea, but I'm not sure that the amount of work to implement would be worth the reward.

2D Trails

Trails do eat up lots of performance. I'm going to add a toggle for trails to use lines instead of actual 3D geometry. This should give the performance boost you seek.


Wow. More great ideas... Keep them coming!
« Last Edit: August 31, 2009, 03:36:55 AM by Dan Dixon »

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2009, 04:05:06 PM »
Of course Dan you can always just work on the other things little by little.

That way even though you are only doing a little at a time..you will eventually finish it.

Example the Trail Styles.  Though nothing major it would be cool to have this and would be really neat with long trails and making neat trail creations.


Magnetar

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2009, 02:25:10 AM »
Since the title was very neutral, I thought it'd be better to post in here instead of making a new thread called "Another Couple of Suggestions". :)

I think it's fine as long as the suggestions don't get too funky (which I honestly somehow expect when I'm looking at the average user age here; no offense). Anyways, I'll add all the good suggestions into the first post of this thread. ;)

Trail Styles
Other than just personal preference, I'm not sure how useful this feature would be. It's a good idea, but I'm not sure that the amount of work to implement would be worth the reward.

Well there would be a little advantage with dotted lines. Unlike continuos lines they wouldn't overlap that easily. But I also think this feature is not really that important for the next versions of US.  But it might be a good feature for later versions of US with also an interface for customization which could allow users to load their self-made trail textures.

2D Trails
Trails do eat up lots of performance. I'm going to add a toggle for trails to use lines instead of actual 3D geometry. This should give the performance boost you seek.

That's great. :)

Wow. More great ideas... Keep them coming!

I think I'm slowly running out of them. :D
Anyways, I'll continue posting any useful idea I can think of in this thread. ;)
« Last Edit: August 31, 2009, 02:31:54 AM by Magnetar »

Chaotic Cow

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2009, 08:52:51 PM »
I also would like US to save 2D Grid Dust stuff.

As of now if you save it doesn't save it.

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2009, 08:58:51 PM »
I also would like US to save 2D Grid Dust stuff.

Save needs quite a bit of work. Dust doesn't save nor does trail data.

What I really need to get working is full state saves. This would open up the possibility of an undo feature. :)

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2009, 09:47:18 PM »
I also would like US to save 2D Grid Dust stuff.

Save needs quite a bit of work. Dust doesn't save nor does trail data.

What I really need to get working is full state saves. This would open up the possibility of an undo feature. :)

Perfect. Should we expect it in US v2.0 or later version?

Magnetar

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2009, 11:02:10 AM »
One thing which maybe should be changed:
I think the color range for the Velocity and Acceleration color mode should be flipped.
As far I know violet-blue colours are mostly used to indicate when something is high, while red-yellow colours indicate when something is low.

I also noticed that US calculates Lagrange points for massless objects.

Edit: And there goes another feature suggestion:  ;D

Timed Screenshots:
Basically a mode which automatically shots a screenshot after X seconds of time.
This would be especially useful to take footage of long time and high performance simulations.
The single screenshots could be also later just merged together to a single video using 3rd party video software.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 11:25:08 AM by Magnetar »

Dan Dixon

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2009, 08:40:27 PM »
SuperNova's Timed Impact Idea and discussion moved here:
http://universesandbox.com/forum/index.php/topic,755.0.html

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2009, 10:42:14 PM »
I think the color ranges for velocity and acceleration is right. Slow/weak/etc. things should be red, because it has the longest wavelength, and fast/powerful/etc. things should be blue, because it has the shortest wavelength.
But I also want the color on faucets(?) swapped. :P

Dan Dixon

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2009, 11:07:05 PM »
I think the color range for the Velocity and Acceleration color mode should be flipped.
As far I know violet-blue colours are mostly used to indicate when something is high, while red-yellow colours indicate when something is low.

I think of red as fast and blue as slow... But I can imagine that this is not the standard. Can anyone find examples where color is used to show speed?

Here's an example where red is high:
http://mappery.com/map-name/Printable-World-Map-Elevation-Wik

Here's an example where blue is high:
http://mappery.com/map-name/Digital-Elevation-Map-of-Lunar-South-Pole

Timed Screenshots

Universe Sandbox does this already, but it's not at all clear. If you right click, next to the movie button is a text box, this number is how frequently (in frames) to take a screenshot. If you set it to 1 then movie mode takes a screenshot every frame. Would you prefer that this was not frames, but simulation time?

I think the color ranges for velocity and acceleration is right.

So you mean the opposite of how it is now in Universe Sandbox?

Chaotic Cow

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Re: A couple of suggestions
« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2009, 11:35:27 PM »
Of course you can always make a "Velocity - Inverted" and "Acceleration - Inverted" option.

Everybody loves options. :D