22nd February 2007
I recently began messing around with a new open source program called Celestia, writing simple scripts and creating simple models for it, as well as just using it, and someone made a partly working star trek mod for it, which caused me to think "Is it possible to somehow integrate it with Bridge Commander?" Now first before answering, you probably need to know what Celestia is. Celestia is like Google Earth, but its more like a Google Universe with integrated Google Time Machine (don't exist, but that is what I would say describes it). It creates a virtual universe, with stars, galaxies, planets, black holes, asteroids, moons, satelites, space stations etc. etc. depicted in real time or whatever time scale or point in time you want to view it at. With scripts, one can watch the creation of Earth's moon, or Shoemaker-Levi collide with Jupiter. You enter the time and date, and the program depicts what is going on in the Universe in that very instant, where everything is and how they are moving. Now the program is not complete, you can't view the creation of the Universe(that is being worked on though, the next version will probably enable the viewing of the Big Bang), and some of the scripts are difficult to get working even when made by proffessionals. Anyway, just wanted to inform people of this wonderful tool for virtual space exploration, and put out a few ideas that I got out of it. I doubt one could integrate celestia into the game, though with the new game engine NanoFX and mods like KM, Excalibur, Galaxy Charts, etc. etc. I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility. And if it can't be integrated, perhaps something of it can be used, certain lines of code, scripts etc etc. So check out the program and give me your opinion on it, the feasibility of integration, the feasibility of using it as a resource, and any ideas it might give you. Oh, and if you want the full functionality, I advise you to get the educational version. It costs money, but one can get it for free legally if you look carefully at fine print (the pay version is for the discs. You can get it for free by doing a complicated download. Simply run a search for Celestia and you will have the program's site among your first results). One other thing, Celestia is an extremely demanding program. Even with physics turned off and running with simple predetermined trajectories and paths, the demands are high. A lowend computer will not run it. A mid end computer might, might, struggle, though you might get good performance also. I get decent performance out of celestia, not as good as it could be probably, but enough that its a nice experience. My computer has Geforce 6150 Go, an Nforce430 chipset, an AMD Turion X2 processor at 1.6Ghz, and 2 GB of RAM. I have also tweaked the BIOS, the system configuration, and hardware drivers to give me slightly more performance (More like a lot; I can run programs with min requirements needing a processor running at about 2Ghz at least, saying so anyway, but because of my system tweaks, I can run them stably with my modest 1.6Ghz. No overclocking necessary). If your computer is something that operates at a lower performance level lower than an untweaked version of my computer, you probably can still run it, just check the min requirements stated on the program. Look forward to the your input.