Universums-Simulator: SPACE ENGINE

Universums-Simulator: SPACE ENGINE

Solan­ge wir auf den War­pan­trieb der NASA noch war­ten müs­sen, bleibt für uns für Rei­sen durch das All wohl nur, einen Sci­ence Fic­tion-Film oder eine Serie in den Blu­eR­ay-Play­er zu werfen.

Doch halt! Es gibt noch eine wei­te­re Mög­lich­keit: Wer Ani­ma­tio­nen erstel­len möch­te, wie man sie aus den diver­sen STAR TREK-Intro­se­quen­zen kennt, dem kann jetzt gehol­fen wer­den. SPACE ENGINE ist kein Spiel, son­dern eher eine Art Uni­ver­sums-Simu­la­tor, mit dem man atem­be­rau­ben­de Sze­ne­rien gestal­ten und dann selbst­ver­ständ­lich auch fil­men kann. Die Lis­te der Fea­tures ist bemerkenswert:

  • All types of celesti­al objects are repre­sen­ted: gala­xies, nebu­lae, stars and star clus­ters, pla­nets and moons, comets and asteroids.
  • Known celesti­al objects are repre­sen­ted using data from the cata­logs: gala­xies (NGC/IC), stars (HIPPARCOS), star clus­ters, nebu­lae, pla­nets (our Solar sys­tem data and known extra­so­lar planets).
  • Unchar­ted regi­ons of space fea­ture pro­ce­du­ral­ly gene­ra­ted objects: gala­xies, stars, star clus­ters, nebu­lae and pla­ne­ta­ry systems.
  • The obser­ver is free to move around the uni­ver­se. Tran­si­ti­on bet­ween any celesti­al body and any sca­le occurs seamlessly.
  • The obser­ver can move around in space using the WASD keys, like in First Per­son Shoo­ters. Move­ment with iner­tia is made pos­si­ble in Space­craft mode or Air­craft mode.
  • »Select and fly« auto­pi­lot: just click on any object with the mou­se and hit the ‘G’ key to auto­ma­ti­cal­ly go direct­ly to the object.
  • Auto­ma­tic bin­ding of the obser­ver to a moving object and auto­ma­tic selec­tion of opti­mum flight speed.
  • Search for celesti­al objects by name. Search for stars in a radi­us around you. Scala­b­le map of the Uni­ver­se and a pla­ne­ta­ry sys­tem brow­ser. Saving loca­ti­ons and autopilot’s journal.
  • Built-in wiki sys­tem with descrip­ti­ons of many known objects and abi­li­ty to extend by user. Pos­si­bi­li­ty of ren­aming and describ­ing of any object, inclu­ding pro­ce­du­ral ones.
  • The orbi­tal moti­on of pla­nets and stars is cal­cu­la­ted in real time, with the abi­li­ty to acce­le­ra­te, dece­le­ra­te, or rever­se the flow of time.
  • Dis­play of orbi­tal paths of celesti­al objects, their rota­ti­on and moti­on vec­tors, labels and mar­kers, celesti­al grid, cur­rent selec­tion poin­ter and user velo­ci­ty vector.
  • Volu­metric 3D models of gala­xies and nebu­lae with inter­stel­lar dust clouds.
  • 3D land­s­capes of pla­nets and stars: for many solar sys­tem bodies actu­al data from space pro­bes is used; for unchar­ted and pro­ce­du­ral pla­nets the sur­face is gene­ra­ted pro­ce­du­ral­ly on the GPU.
  • The exact model of the Earth’s atmo­s­phe­re (code by Eric Bru­ne­ton), adap­ted for the other planets.
  • Ligh­t­ing effects: lens fla­res, solar eclip­ses, shadows of pla­ne­ta­ry rings. Celesti­al objects cast light and shadows onto each other.
  • Con­troll­ab­le space ships (alpha).
  • Ori­gi­nal back­ground music with con­text-depen­dent swit­ching of tracks.
  • Loca­liz­a­ti­on to many lan­guages, with the abi­li­ty to add new ones.
  • Abi­li­ty to import user addons: models, tex­tures, catalogs.

SPACE ENGINE ist im Moment in einer Beta­pha­se und kann auf der Pro­jekt­sei­te kos­ten­los her­un­ter gela­den wer­den, der Down­load schlägt mit ca. 850 MB zu Buche. Der Ent­wick­ler akzep­tiert gern Spen­den via PayPal oder Web­Mo­ney. Und so sieht das Gan­ze aus. Grandios!

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