Feature requests

Currently the view changes so that it's centred on a star that I'm searching for when I search for it and click on the link in the search list - this is actually often unhelpful, as I don't usually want to *go to* a star that I search for, I just want to know where it is.

Would it be possible to add a function whereby a star that is searched for is just highlighted when it's found (as if it's selected), but you don't actually centre the view on it and "go to it" unless you click the link in the search list? Or is there something similar to this already present in the program?


  • One more feature request:

    The ability to delete stars that do not have routes attached. This would make the 2D maps less cluttered (especially if you can't go to the stars without routes).
  • And also, an option to label only the stars that have routes associated with them.
  • This is a user interface issue that I find really annoying:

    Why do we have to switch between "Pointer mode" (the arrow) and "Pan mode" (the hand) at all? I'd really just like to be able to click on an object and then rotate the screen view (centred on the selected object) by dragging the mouse - that's far more streamlined.
  • I agree. Other viewers like this I've seen allow you to click on something with the left button and pan around with the right button. I find those much more usable.

    I would also request that the ability to force a life-giving star to have habitable worlds (AKA terraforming) would be greatly wanted.
  • You know you can switch between pan and select by clicking the middle mouse button, right? A pan & select mode are used because dragging the mouse rotates the selected system around the camera, and the right mouse for the menu.

    As for terraforming, you misunderstand the generator. It doesnt place planets with certain habitability ratings, it determines them after the fact after examining composition, atmosphere, and temperature. If a system cannot physically support a hospitable planet then you wont see one, period. If Terraforming is turned all they way up, you'll get an absurd number of hospitable planets because the generator will start any planet of the right size off with the proper atmosphere components. But even then, there's no gurantee that the local conditions will result in a hospitable planet.

    That said, I've never understood why people just dont use the properties settings and mark a planet as hospitable themselves if thats what they want in a system. You are allowed to edit things after the fact. Astro's generator was never intended to replace a GM's effort in customizing their universe - its intended to help them fill all the extra details.
  • Ed_NBOS wrote:
    You know you can switch between pan and select by clicking the middle mouse button, right? A pan & select mode are used because dragging the mouse rotates the selected system around the camera, and the right mouse for the menu.

    Yes, but why do that at all? I think right-clicking can be kept for the menu, I'm not suggesting changing that at all - I just find it really annoying to have to select a system with one tool and then use another to rotate the view around it when that doesn't need to happen at all.

    What I'm suggesting is to left-click the system to select it, then left-click+drag the mouse to rotate the view - without having to change from Pointer mode to Pan mode to do that. As far as I can see left-click+dragging the mouse in Pointer mode does nothing, and just left-clicking a system in Pan mode does nothing either - so it's not like there'd be any confusion about what the results would be if they were merged.

    It'd make things a lot easier when moving between the systems.

    And I think it'd be really useful to just be able to highlight the star rather than to go to it when it's clicked in the search results too.
  • There needs to be two modes - on a big map there's no guarantee that there'd be a spot to click on that doesnt select a system.

    I can look at perhaps switching to pan mode when the pointer is dragged without a system selected. But unless thats relatively non-invasive to the code and has no side effects, its not something that I'd add to a minor update.
  • Ed_NBOS wrote:
    There needs to be two modes - on a big map there's no guarantee that there'd be a spot to click on that doesnt select a system.

    You could get around that by seeing if the left button is held down for a few seconds before dragging, maybe. If it's a single click on something then it selects it, if the button is held for a couple of seconds then it knows that you want to drag the mouse and pan?
  • That would require implementing a special timer to keep track of that, as its not a normal windows interface action (its not something Windows would send a message for). I wouldnt do something like that in a minor update as there's a world of possible side effects.

    I dont mind feature requests, but please understand that the Astro 3.0 development cycle, after the next update, will go into maintenance mode as I focus my time on new versions of other programs (specifically The Keep & its associated programs). So major changes in operation wont occur unless there's some specific, wide-spread problem. The current pan/select method has worked ok in Astro for 8 years now - changing that is not urgent.
  • When I downloaded the AS3 trial, I looked for the terraforming option. I looked all over for how I could tell it that I wanted it to weight towards habitable planets. I don't mind going through two or three of four times or more to get something that is "close enough" so I can tweak it later. But I couldn't get the system to give me even ONE hab planet the vast majority of the time. And I don't feel like trying fifty times to get it.

    Now I wasn't creating an entire new system here. I was using real universe star maps and trying to get the program to generate a system of planets around that star with at least one habitable planet. Short of that, I'm willing to ADD or REPLACE a world with a random habitable world. The thing is that I want random. Either that, or for your program to recalc stuff if I change something. Say I change the gravity, and it recalcs the atmospheric pressure and stuff. As it is right now, the program dishes out some cool random systems. I just want to be able to tailor it a bit.

    I'm writing in a universe where there are two habitable worlds around Alpha Centauri. This is another program out there where I was able to ask it to generate a random system with two habitable worlds. It took a while but it did it. But as far as I know, there is no way to input that data into AS3 or AS2. Therefore, I'd like AS3 to be able to do something like that if possible.

    Right now AS2 does what I NEED it to do. And AS3 doesn't do enough beyond that to make me make the jump. When I saw that it did habitable worlds assuming terraforming, I thought it would work. But as noted, I can't find the option to trigger that anywhere. So for now at least, AS3 is of limited use to me when I already have AS2 that works. That is why I asked if anybody had any idea about stuff like that, to see if there was a reason to shift. I so far haven't seen many...
  • There's an XML import option (it may be a plugin). If you had something that could turn your data into that format then you could import it using that?
  • Though that reminds me, the CSV import seems a bit limited... e.g. I don't think there's a way to include Political Affiliations or GM Notes in the CSV file. Why not add those fields to it so they can be read in along with the rest of the data, rather that having to add them to each system manually within the program?
  • Medron wrote:
    But I couldn't get the system to give me even ONE hab planet the vast majority of the time. And I don't feel like trying fifty times to get it.
    Then I think you're probably doing something wrong. I just made 2 10x10x10 sectors at low density. The first one gave me 24 hospitable planets, the 2nd one gave me over 30. About one third of the systems had hospitable planets. Are you sure you have it generating the planetary data? Do you have the terraforming slider all the way to the right?
  • I didn't generate a new sector, and I couldn't find a habitability slider anywhere that I did look.

    I was using the real universe sector map and trying to add a planetary system TO an existing star. Alpha Centauri in this case.

    I'm not interested in a random sector. I want to take real world known astronomical stars and add planetary systems to them. And the ones that CAN be habitable based on our best knowledge, I want to have come up with habitable planets. But I can't find a habitable slider anywhere in those menus or in the basic program preferences.

    Is this habitability slider you talk about only available in the sector generation sub menu? If so, that would be why I can't find it.
  • For that matter, I created a 10 LY sector (subsector the way I organize things) on lowest system density and was getting 20-30 systems myself. Seriously? If you look at the stellar density near Sol, you can get from 0 (yes zero) to maybe 15 stars. I did an average some years back and came up with an average of 6-10 systems per 10x10x10 LY chunk of space. And while I'm on the topic, I also created a 10 LY sector on max density and got a mess that could NEVER have any planets. In fact the stars would all attract each other and form a super black hole before planets could form. Forget the fact that many of the systems Oort clouds would be inside the habitable zones of its neighbors.

    So I guess my point IS, can you at the very least drop the lower end of the random system generator down by an order of magnitude?
  • The 3.01b update, as posted at the top of the forum, does lower the frequency for the lowest setting of the slider. A 10x10x10 cube will give you about 5-ish systems.
  • In the solar neighbourhood, the stellar density is around 0.002 stars per cubic lightyear - or to put it another way, 1 star per 500 cubic lightyears. That sounds really piddly, but it isn't - 500 cubic lightyears would be a cube that is about 7.93x7.93x7.93 lightyears. Or would be a spherical volume with a radius of 4.92 lightyears.

    In an stellar cluster the stellar density is higher. In a globular cluster (outside the galaxy) the density is much higher.

    e.g. The Pleiades star cluster apparently has a radius of about 8 lightyears, and contains 1000 stars (considerably more than the brightest seven or eight that we can see with the naked eye). That sounds crowded, but consider that the volume of a sphere that is 8 lightyears in radius is about 2150 cubic lightyears. So the stellar density in the Pleiades is about 0.47 stars per cubic lightyear.

    If you assume that's a cubical volume (i.e. a 16x16x16 ly cube) rather than a sphere that is 16 ly in diameter then that volume goes up to 4096 ly³, and the density is more like 0.25 stars/ly³. Apparently the way to calculate the average separation (assuming a cubical lattice of stars at least) is to take the cube root of the (total volume/number of stars). So that would mean that the average separation of the stars in the Pleiades is 1.6 lightyears.

    If we took that same cubical volume of 4096 ly³ and filled it with stars equivalent to stellar neighbourhood density (0.002 stars/ly³) then we'd expect to find only about 8 stars, and their average separation would be about 7.93 lightyears apart.

    Put another way: The probability of having a star in a given cubic lightyear is 1/500 (0.002), so the probability of NOT having a star in a given cubic lightyear is 499/500 (0.998)

    If you check two cubic lightyears, that probability of NOT finding a star is 499/500 * 499/500 (0.998²), which is about 0.996. In three cubic lightyears, it's (0.998³ =) 0.994, etc.

    So, if the probability of finding a star in a cubic lightyear is p, and the probability of not finding a star in a cubic lightyear is q (which is the same as 1-p):

    The probability P of finding a star in n cubic lightyears is given by:

    P = 1 - (q)[super]n[/super]

    This means that in a 500 cubic lightyear volume (corresponding to a spherical volume that is 3 pc in diameter), the probability of finding a star is only about 63%.

    In an 18 cubic lightyear volume (corresponding to a spherical volume that is 1 pc in diameter - i.e. a Traveller hex), the probability of finding a star is only about 3%.
  • Might seem like an odd request, but I'd like to be able to define the length of the time periods in my sector(s). I.e., setting the year is good; but being limited to 12-month years and 30/31-day months limits me to Earth time, and so far, my stories have taken place out in the Galaxy where Earth isn't even remembered (the Imperial 'standard' time is Base 10).

    I can understand if you had to keep the seconds (rather than just asking "how many seconds is your minimum standard time unit?"), but it'd be nice to shift to a story's custom time rather than having to stick to Earth time.



Leave a Comment