AstroSynthesis 3.0



  • Primarily the speed of the surface map generation has been greatly increased. The Gas Giant 'atmosphere' maps have also been completely redone. There's a post with a few examples of the new gas giants in another thread here.
  • One other thing thats been added to Astro3 is a 'Terraforming' slider that controls how many hospitable planets are generated. Its basically a setting between 0 and 10, with 0 being 'dont do anything extra to make hospitable planets', 2 being essentially what Astro2 does, all the way up to 10, which will basically place an earthlike planet in any system that could actually support one (it has to have a decent habitable zone).

    Also, FWE has been modified to read/write directly to Astro's new database file format. So all generated terrain will be stored in the same database file as the sector. When FWE is launched, its directed to a surface map stored in the database and reads/saves that directly without creating a new file. This will make sector files much larger, obviously, but it keeps everything related to the sector together in a single file.
  • Ed, first let me say I'm absolutely ecstatic to see you're a developer who listens to the people who use his work, rather than one of the depressingly large number who just doesn't care. This certainly motivates me to buy more of your stuff in future. :D

    I've thought of a lot of things that I'd love to see in AstroSynthesis 3.0 - some of them may be easy, some of them might not be, if you do work on them a lot of them probably won't turn up immediately, but certainly I would find all of these useful:

    Feature Additions:

    - Habitable Zone Calculation: I'd like an option to have AstroSynthesis calculate and show me the circumstellar habitable zone for a given system, and at least throw up a caution icon if a planet way outside of it is habitable or hospitable.

    - Dynamic Recalculation: Out of all my suggestions, if I could only pick one, this is definitely the one I'd like to see the most. I'd like you to be able to tell AstroSynthesis: "look at this, and change things if they're not realistic". I envision this as a right-click menu option for a planet, moon or star, with dynamic recalculation cascading to an object's children (so dynamically recalculating an entire star system would affect all the planets, all their moons, and anything orbiting all the moons). It would all depend on how complex and interconnected your planetary generation engine is, but the way I envision this feature is that if, for instance, you move a planet's orbit closer or further away from its primary star, you can order a recalculation, which would change the planet's temperature, atmospheric composition, etc. and would also recalculate surface temperature for all its moons. Would be nice if I generated a moon close to a planet it would automatically tidal lock, for instance. Perhaps if you moved a small moon too close to a planet it could turn into a ring! Also, it could renumber planets/satellites if their orbits got switched around.

    I can forsee some instances where recalculating would in some cases require additional subsequent recalcs to get everything accurate if recalcs don't cascade up tiers or across to other members of the same tier - in the case of the a planet with several moons which has been altered in such a way that its gravity changes, causing changes to the moons' orbits, for instance, it might take several recalcs to get the way the moons interact with each other sorted out if the recalc process doesn't cascade the changes across or back up to the planet. Maybe have separate options that allow cascading recalcs up to a certain number of iterations, uncapped cascading recalcs stopped after a certain number of iterations in which no database values have been changed, etc.

    If your system's really detailed and robust, recalcing an entire systems with recently changed planet sizes or surface gravities could affect orbits of other things in the system. I don't know, I'm just musing here.

    - Slanted Recalculation: Stemming from the above, I'd like to be able to have something that let me recalculate a planet into a different condition - for instance, I could right-click on a planet and hit "recalculate to Habitable", "recalculate to Hospitable", "recalculate to Hothouse", "recalculate to Barren", etc. and AS would fiddle around with values and do recalcs until the planet looks the way you want it to. If you make it really clever, it could refuse to allow certain types of slanted recalc if the planet's in a region of space where it simply can't be recalculated that way.

    - Surface Features: I'd like planetside features like cities, launch facilities, space elevators, resource deposits (generated according to the type of planet, surface composition, etc.) and extractors. Going very pie-in-the-sky here, delineated territories on planets (owned by different nations, megacorporations, private individuals, etc.) would be damn cool.

    - Subfactions: I'd like the ability to assign ownership of planets, surface features, space stations, etc. to subfactions - so this would allow us to simulate any sort of multi-level political affiliation - capitalist conglomerate factions with subfaction megacorporations (think the Caldari State in EVE Online), a Federation with individual member states (EVE Online's Gallente Federation, the Galactic Republic in Star Wars, the Union in Gundam 00, the United States of America), an Imperial faction with Great House Subfactions (EVE Online's Amarr Empire, the Imperium in the Dune series) or whatever - or one could simply use it to delineate various different organisations - corporations, paramilitaries, navies, private individuals, government agencies - that generally operate under one specific sovereignty.

    - Empire Generation: This is all very theoretical stuff, perhaps beyond the scope of AstroSynthesis, but I'd like to suggest it anyway because it sounds cool. Basically, have an option, instead of using the normal random population distribution, proceedurally generate one or more sovereignties that spreads out through space in a logical fashion, builds space stations, colonises planets, creates routes, and stations fleets. Allow fine tuning of the way this works either through some sort of control interface or via tweaking of an external settings file (or both!). All planets, stations and fleets would have the relevant political affiliation. You could establish a naming convention by randomly generating some sort of idiosyncracy the name generator must use when it names or renames planets, systems or other objects belonging to this faction (pick names only from X list, append appropriate prefix or suffix (x fleet, x station, x state/empire/federation/republic, etc.). Integrate an option to generate an empire from a given planet in an already-generated sector.

    Existing Feature Changes, Fixes, Alterations:

    - Realistic Interstellar Interaction during Sector Gen: Planets shouldn't even be able to form in systems near an O-class star. There should also be less of them.

    - More Planet Features and Environments: I'd like to see more variation in terrestrial planets. You could have magmatic planets, caused by strong tidal activity or extreme surface temperature, for instance.

    - More Default Terrestrial Types: Here's another one that's very important to me, and should be fairly simple.. I'd like to see more options for terrestrial planet generation - currently we've only got Blank, Earthlike, Large (Barren), Large (Thick Atmosphere) and Small (Rocky). I'd like it if we could have Small, Medium and Large, and in Earthlike, Barren, Rocky, Thick Atmosphere, Thin Atmosphere and Airless varieties (Airless would be particularly useful for moons). More would be nice if anyone can think of them.

    - Planet "Slotting": In synergy with the above suggestion, what I'd REALLY like is if, instead of dropping the planets in at 0km orbit around the star, they were generated in the correct part of space for their formation (depending on what option you chose) with their orbital characteristics and surface temperatures already filled in.

    - Make Routes More Important: Routes can currently be assigned a name and a type, once. After that you need to delete them and start again to be able to change that. I'd like them to be editable. They also can't be assigned political affiliations, which would make sense.

    - Star Density: It would be useful if you could split the current "Star Frequency" into two sliders - "Star Density" (how close together stars are clustered) and "Star Frequency" (how many stars are generated). There would have to be some amount of proportionality between the sliders - extremely high star frequency with extremely low star density wouldn't make sense, obviously - but I think this would make generation of to-specification star clusters much easier. As an above poster commented, I'd definitely like star frequency generation that matches the rough density and frequency of stars in the local area around Sol.

    - Star Distribution: I'd like the choice between "Even" and "Clustered" to be a slider rather than a binary. Middle levels of the slider could create some clustering with evenly-distributed levels of space in between. Clustered generation looks very cool but leaves rather unrealistic voids between stars, and I'd like some compromise between these - I'd settle for a third "Both" radio-button.
  • Thanks for taking the time to write that up Andreus. I cant respond to each item but here's some general info about the different items.

    Regarding re-calculation, thats usually not possible. Planet generation uses a lot of 'one way', or 'lossy' generation. The generating routines can feed back on each other. Such calculations cant be back-tracked. That is, you cant take a planet, move it to a new orbit, and get the same planet you would had gotten had it originally formed there.

    I had never thought about sub-factions. I'll keep that in mind as I move forward.

    For class O stars (and other giants), Astro does alter the probability of planets based on the spectral class (due to their typical age).
  • On reflection, the changes to the system generation tools, habitable zone indication, the new types of planets and the planet "slotting" would probably be the most immediately useful.
  • I don't know if its too late for this, but here are some of the things I'd like to see in 3.0:

    More filters - I'd like to filter on spectral type, body type, etc. Even better would be the ability to provide a script filter function. It would be nice to write a script function that takes a system parameter and returns an accept / not accept value, and have it added to the filter menu.

    Scripting: Minor, but I'd like some consistency in scripting languages - Astro uses VB, Char gen uses JS. Not sure whar FM uses, I have done anything with it yet. It would be nice to have a common language with a common set of API functions for the functions that are common to the different environments.

    Integration: I'd like 3.0 to integrate with the Keep. I'd like to add references to planets and systems in the Keep, have it display some info (planetary maps, basic statistics, GM notes, etc.) and have that info updated if the original data gets changed.
    Also, when changes are made in FWE and 'save' is selected, the original generated file is no longer the default.
    I would like like to see some integration with FM as well. Things like major cities, rivers, etc. might show up on Surface maps, and it would be nice to not have to juggle 2 different files when going back and forth. If I want to use FM maps for a planet, I should be able to point to them, and start seeing those maps as surface maps and globes (and in the Keep!)

    Control: I'd like more control over system generation. I like the basic 'generate a sector' functionality, but I'd like to specify some basic parameters used to determine a system. Things like:
    Bodies not generated - i.e. a setting to not generate Space Stations
    Tweek 'habitable' and 'hospitable' definitions - So I can have it only generate populations for worlds that have narrower limits (like -1c to 8c for 'habitable', for example).
    Expand 'habitable' and 'hospitable' usage. For example, I might want to define a sector that is made up of a non-human race of Methane breathers that prefer planets in the -80c to -20c range, and .2g to .7g gravity range. I'd like to define a race name (like 'foobird') and have a 'habitable-foobird' and 'hospitaible-foobird'. Then looks at a system, and see worlds that are foobird habitable vs. human habitable. This definition might even extend to atmosphere composition.

    More data: This might be a plug-in, not a base feature, but it would be nice to have it make a guess to some basic weather information. Using temperature range, orbital eccentricity, axial tilt, etc. to make a guess as to seasonal temperature variation (by hemisphere), and the frequency and variability of storms.

    New body: I'd like to see something between a 'small body' and a 'space station' - essentially a small body that has been tunneled or hollowed out to make a habitat. It would have some some of the parameters of the two bodies.
  • larrylf wrote:
    Scripting: Minor, but I'd like some consistency in scripting languages - Astro uses VB, Char gen uses JS. Not sure whar FM uses,
    This is done very consciously, for a very specific reason. One of the long term goals for the Character Sheet designer is to have it output as a web page, complete with form fields. That means it would need to use JavaScript. The other apps use VBScript, because VBScript is, imo, the most approachable scripting language for applications.
    Control: I'd like more control over system generation. I like the basic 'generate a sector' functionality, but I'd like to specify some basic parameters used to determine a system. Things like:

    Read back in the thread - a lot of this is already in place for v3
    New body: I'd like to see something between a 'small body' and a 'space station' - essentially a small body that has been tunneled or hollowed out to make a habitat. It would have some some of the parameters of the two bodies.

    This would probably be a station or megastructure.
  • If there's still time to request things:

    - Lagrange Points: I use Astro2 for a real-world-ish setting, and that setting has a lot of stuff at the Earth-Moon Lagrange points. I can sort of simulate the Lagrange points in Astro2, but it's a lot of effort just to get a reasonable simulation of L3, L4 and L5, while L1 and L2 are pretty much non-starters. My experience would be greatly improved if calculating L-points, even just as a rough "here's where the point is" placeholder, could be added to the final mix.

    - Calculating Orbits: Something I noticed when playing with the local space template that comes with Astro2: the system determines orbits from the center of the planet's mass, not the surface. Okay, so what, right? Well, it leads to all sorts of annoying oddities when placing space stations or megastructures in orbit around a planet. Frex, if you go to system view on Earth, the ISS is orbiting inside the planet's core. This one might be more bug than feature, but it's something you might want to watch out for.

    - Name Generation: When generating systems on a star with a predetermined name (like from a real-world CSV spreadsheet), I'd like it so I could force the name generator to use that name for that system. So, for example, if I created star "Verifex," and then generated a system, it'd come out "Verifex I," "Verifex II" etc. and not randomly generated a gobbledygook name or (if I yank the names file) rename the star "(Unnamed)" and generate planets "I," etc. The way I seem to have no real control over name generation is the most frustrating thing about Astro2. I hope you guys can fix that in Astro3.

    Okay, that's my rant over. It's good to hear that NBOS is actually working on Astro3, and I intend to pick up a copy as soon as it's available.
  • Hi! New user here. I may not have found all of the "power user" shortcuts or the best way to utilize the programing but I do have some things that irritate me already about it.

    Setting up subsectors and other repetitive tasks - I would like the option to set parameters for the size of the grid and leave it. I don't have to input the size of each subsector each time why input the grid every time? I would also like access to "edit subsectors" from the dropdown menu on a right click or from a keyboard short cut. Can an auto-naming utility be included? Give the parameters for succesive names and each time I click for a new subsector its name is generated? SOl O, SOL 1, SOL 2, 10,00,-10, -20,-30,-10 etc.

    When working in the cubical sector view can we get the X, Y, and Z axes labeled and with +/-? I think I need to flip my subsectors at some point to line up the stars with my subsectors.

    Disappearing routes - When I zoom out it doesn't seem like I lose all that many stars. Why do I lose the proximity routes? Those help me to establish the stellar geography for an area and show up densities, likely way station stars and uncrossable gulfs (for various FTL Technologies). Can this be fixed? I am going to try to build up a large area with many subsectors and look at a few subsectors at a time to try to get an idea of what is going on astrographically.

    Will the DB model in AS3 allow me to search up all stars that have a position in a certain defined volume of space? I am thinking that I would want to set the cubical subsectors up and then populate them individually from RW data.

    Thank you so much for AS2, I am looking forward to the development of AS3.

    Joseph Paul
  • Will the DB model in AS3 allow me to search up all stars that have a position in a certain defined volume of space? I am thinking that I would want to set the cubical subsectors up and then populate them individually from RW data.

    You can do this now in the search window - select a body on the map, and then search for everything within X distance of that star. Or, set up a subsector of size X, and hide everything not in it.
  • I am making a lot of subsectors. The Edit Subsectors menu opens with "New Subsector" automatically loaded as the name or the name of the first subsector on the list. Can this be changed in Astro3 so the user can just type in the name he wants or pick from the list with the mouse? The more subsectors there are the less likely it is that the first one on the list will be the one I need especially if I am making new ones. Does the programing demand that we pick "new subsector" each time? Would filling in the name field serve the same purpose?

    Joseph Paul
  • How is V3 coming along? And would it be an upgrade? Or would we need to buy the whole thing?
    I presume our data maps would be compatible, (I wouldn't fancy doing them again - it was fun, but not THAT fun)

    Couple of things I would like to see (apologies if they're already there or in this thread (just means I want it too) I have read most of it.

    1: Export - migrate into DB would be great but I would also like options to export my files (part or whole) into csv or similar
    Especially down to single system (including objects)- some of mine have a lot of objects - even if it was a listing (similar to the system menu fully expanded)
    (I know I can print the system map - but I want to be able to export the full system if poss)

    2: Edit routes - Maybe I'm missing somethign obvious - but atm, I can't see how to edit routes, I can add or delete - not change colour/font size, rename or copy (if I'm filtering routes, some might be the same i.e. in both route type 1 & 2)

    3: Custom Units - option to use alternate units - i.e. AU or Gkm or whatever I want - i.e. if I want to use the Humphrey as a unit of 1 mil KM then I use options to enter it and tell Astro what it = in KM and my data is adjusted accordingly (if Astro knows 1H = 1234567890 km - that shouldn't be hard)

    4: ZXY V RA+Dec how about a plug in or option to use RA and Dec (I know I can work out the formula, but....)

    5: Targets How about a way to Enter the target co'ords then use that to create a temporary point you can see, and then use that Temp Point to create a system (or object - i.e. Black hole or nebula)
    This way you could see on your map that you are in the right place - before you add the object

    6: Object info
    At present: some of your object calcs do not seem to agree with others Astro-Physics (esp Density V escape velocity) Also your object orbits are worked out from the objects centres (if I'm looking at this correctly) - like someone else mentioned: this puts the ISS (for e.g. within our core)
    Would also like the option to add orbit speed, and would generally like the data fields to closer match what most of us can find elsewhere (i.e. Wikipedia has its faults, but the astro sections tend to be pretty good - if your trying to learn/understand how things work, its easier if you can use an example (i.e. our solar system) you can tap in and see for yourself how x affects y)

    6a: Additional Fields: Would like the option to add fields from other objects
    What I mean is - i.e. Small Bodies - I would like to be able to also add some of the additional fields available in other objects (i.e. size) so they show up in the correct tab (i.e. planetary data) - I've tried using the custom/additional fields but something goes wrong (i.e. adding size on small bodies - and using the radius as source. When I put the dimension in it still shows as 0?

    7: Goldilocks zone? Any chance we could have a calc that shows the G-zone in systems? (Mentioned before as Habitable zone)

    8: System Object Slots?
    Ability to add slots to objects according to size (i.e. Earth size = 6 Terrestial, 6 Low orbit, 6 Med orbit 12 lng orbit) Moon = 4T, 4LO, 4MO 6LO, etc etc., where the orbits are calculated according to object size/type
    Not sure I'm explaining this well :(

    9: Asteroid Belts - any chance of the width showing up on the system diagram - you seem to manage it with rings on a Planet system Diagram - so could the same 'idea' be used to visualise a faint ring on a solar diagram to simulate an asteroid belt?

    Not really Astro - more I-pad - would like an option/tab in there, where if you are building a large naming file, you can add new names via the pad, rather than the text sheet. That's fine when you start, but once you get to a few hundred,it starts to become a pain (even better would be a highlight for doubling - i.e. if you already have Smith, and try to add another it lets you know)

    Am sure there is more - but this is what is most apparent to me just now (due to the things I am trying to do with Astro)

    Thanks for opening this thread for us to add our thoughts on what we would like to see
  • I was thinking it would be nice to have more options for the "Show System Diagram" feature. Specifically I would like to be able to change the default object icons and their size. An example would be larger bodies, maybe using their surface maps to generate a spherical body. Basically, I'm visualizing something like the game Galactic Civilization 2 (see pic).

    Another variable to consider is precession, i.e. how fast the axial tilt of a body is rotating with regard to solar/system north, and in which direction. In extreme terraforming, manipulation of this could be used to create seasons that are suitable to the colonizers.

    I also agree with the need for a time/date feature (which gets complicated: to use standard Earth calendar/week/day or allow the user to define them) and stationary (non-orbiting) objects like jump points, wormholes, etc.

  • Just to Add this idea to the community, I've already sent a request to Ed personally...

    Attaching NBOS Character Sheets to all Items in Astrosynthesis...
    This way GM's can add Game specific stats to any body in space (in addition to the default generated stats)
    Assign Sheets to Spaceships (and their Crews?)
    Add FM map link to Spaceships/Space Stations, for Deck plans.

    This would provide full customized use for all game systems... just my 2 cents...

    yea... I'll shut up and go back to making 3D spacestuff...
  • This isn't so much a feature request as there's been so many good suggestions that I've seen in these posts.

    Mainly at this point, how far along do you think you are with AS3? I've been following the thread for some time and it was sounding like you've been getting a lot of good stuff done.
  • AS3 is in currently beta testing.
  • Forgot to turn on the option for notifying me on replies :)

    I'm really looking forward to what you've done.
  • Ed_NBOS wrote:
    AS3 is in currently beta testing.

    So, how can I become a beta tester??
  • Hello there, really looking forward to what Astro 3 can do!

    My wish list involves the display when clicking on an object.
    I would like to click on an object and then a frame pop up with text about that object, say a short description of the planet or a bit of the history of the world or maybe even a short story illustrating what goes on. It would be nice to have a picture of the globe or some random picture file inserted to help illustrate as well.

    I like to use Astro 2 not for gaming but as a kind of Hitchhikers Guide so I can browse star systems in a 3d environment and write little descriptions or stories about them as I go along, like something of a travelogue.

    The rest of my wish-list can probably be covered afterwards with some scripting, stuff like sector generation, random populations and objects such as space habitats and wormhole termini. The sort of thing Alan has done so well in the past. :D
  • I would love to see the ability to control and configure the creation of gas giant surfaces. As it stands, after you make a few, they all look alike... and use some odd colors I'm not sure would show up in reality.

    After all, a bright purple gas giant is neat a few times.... but every time?
  • Late to the game here, but I wan the ability to generate just a solar system. Later I might want to add that solar system to a larger map. At the very least I want a way to see only the solar system on the screen and to show a 3d display of their orbits to my players (not to scale of course).
  • Is there any chance that the System Diagram will have the capability of selecting and showing a ship's flight path by selecting the origin and destination? For example, you select Earth as the origin and Mars as the destination and the flight path is displayed. The alternative requires either a lot of math OR trial and error.
  • VVGM wrote:
    Late to the game here, but I wan the ability to generate just a solar system. Later I might want to add that solar system to a larger map. At the very least I want a way to see only the solar system on the screen and to show a 3d display of their orbits to my players (not to scale of course).

    Astro has always supported adding individual stars.
  • Hey Ed, any chance of an ETA or status update please? I'm really looking forward to this. Also, has a price been determined?
  • Just wrapping things up now - the programming is completed. Price will be in the neighborhood of FM8's price, with a discounted upgrade for owners of previous Astro versions.
  • Hello!

    I love what I've seen of AS2 so far. Is there any update on the ETA of AS3?

  • The previews look gorgeous guys!

    Were you able to add the ability to create a marker/object (such as a Jump Point) that DOES NOT rotate around its primary?
  • Hmm, no, it only will show objects that orbit.

    What you might be able to do is place a marker for the jump point on the 3d map with coordinates that represent its position to the star its near. Then you can use the travel calculator to handle travel times.

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