New content and interactivity in next Celestia

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ElChristou
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New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #1by ElChristou » 10.03.2009, 11:06

The topic of this thread is linked to the incoming unified UI (http://shatters.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=13551) but need to be developed.

Chris wrote:- A *huge* problem for new Celestia users is simply figuring out what to do. Space is big: there's lots to see, but there are many more places that are very boring indeed. The ability to freely explore the universe is a big part of the Celestia's appeal for me, but the program should also have facilities to guide users to interesting views and provide some explanation for what's on the screen. The way to do this is by expanding the scope of add-ons: instead of just catalogs of objects, there should be a way of integrating them with scripts, camera views, and explanatory text. Already many add-ons come packaged with scripts and HTML files with text and cel URL links. This stuff should be accessible within Celestia and clearly associated with the add-on. The same facilities could be used for the standard Celestia package. It would be a boon for both hobbyist users and educators.

This facilities/features should cover the whole possibilities of Celestia, not just addons as seen previously.
Let's try here to define what could be this new features.

Example:
- You have Sol in front of you; a feature linked to it could be "show system" and Celestia would display the main orbits and labels.
- Sol again, another feature could be to display grids or whatever guides related to the solar system.
- Imagine a star with companions; we could have a feature display a synthetic representation of our solar system for quick comparison.

More ideas?
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #2by selden » 10.03.2009, 13:45

ElChristou,

It seems to me that the particular examples you're giving could be implemented using scripts.
Would providing a set of appropriate scripts with Celestia meet your goals?
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #3by ElChristou » 10.03.2009, 14:31

selden wrote:ElChristou,
It seems to me that the particular examples you're giving could be implemented using scripts.

Yep, part of such content will use for sure some scripts, now that was just some examples I able to imagine with my low level experience in astronomy... :oops:
What would be great is an imagination effort from all of you guys to write down some more content an more interesting stuff... What about eclipses? What about Lagrange points? what about Trojans asteroids? etc...

selden wrote:Would providing a set of appropriate scripts with Celestia meet your goals?

Hey! Not MY goals, OUR goals please!
Of course scripts are welcome and we can use this thread as repository for such material, but again the main goal of this thread is to find ideas and how to implement them. Then back to the UI thread to see how to integrate such feature in an intuitive ease way to use...
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #4by selden » 10.03.2009, 15:47

"Our" goals are to improve Celestia.
"Your" goals are to have these specific functions.
Specific examples of functions are needed in order to decide how they would have to be implemented. If they can be implemented using CelX scripts, with no (or very minor) modifications to Celestia's C++ source code, then one of our scarce resources (ChrisL) doesn't have to be involved at all.
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #5by ElChristou » 10.03.2009, 16:45

selden wrote:"Our" goals are to improve Celestia.
"Your" goals are to have these specific functions.
Ok, I agree sometime my English is bad, but to be clear because I don't like at all this kind of distinction: I've opened these threads because no one will move his butt to help out Chris who don't want to admin any concerted design effort. I do agree "OUR" goals is to improve Celestia, now I never ask for any specific functions that is your mouth seems to be "MY" personal goal.
The examples above are only... examples to initiate some conversation, else we can already close the thread because apparently not much people seems to be interested in helping. Now, I've asked for more ideas form people who know better than I what can be useful for hobbysts and amateurs astronomers. Is that so hard to understand?

selden wrote:Specific examples of functions are needed in order to decide how they would have to be implemented.
And what do you think this thread is for??

selden wrote:If they can be implemented using CelX scripts, with no (or very minor) modifications to Celestia's C++ source code, then one of our scarce resources (ChrisL) doesn't have to be involved at all.
We should not restrain these functions/features to scripts. Scripts are part of this work of course such as some new default addons (why not?) or anything else that can "guide users to interesting views and provide some explanation for what's on the screen". If hard code is needed, then Chris will say yes or no. Anyway the goal here is just to describe what would be the stuff that again could "guide users to interesting views and provide some explanation for what's on the screen". Hope my English is clear enough this time... :oops:
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #6by Imy » 11.03.2009, 10:22

You have Sol in front of you; a feature linked to it could be "show system" and Celestia would display the main orbits and labels.

A "you are here" (in solar system) option!

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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #7by ElChristou » 11.03.2009, 10:45

Imy wrote:
You have Sol in front of you; a feature linked to it could be "show system" and Celestia would display the main orbits and labels.

A "you are here" (in solar system) option!

How would that work?
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #8by Vincent » 11.03.2009, 11:25

Imy wrote:A "you are here" (in solar system) option!
That would be indeed a great feature. It's currently not possible to do
this using a script since markers can't be associated to a position.

ElChristou wrote:How would that work?
Like this: :wink:
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #9by ElChristou » 11.03.2009, 12:37

Vincent wrote:
ElChristou wrote:How would that work?
Like this:

Ok, but how would that really works? I mean, in your example, how the system choose between the galactic view or the solar system view in the position window?

For such feature I'm wondering about a switch of the whole OGL window to a "global positioning overview" (could be "GPO") that would be in reality something that mark your position, then let you zoom in/out (or choose predetermined distances to show several scales) and rotate to clearly see your position in 3D. No displacement possible the view is tracking your previously saved position. Then a "Quit GPO" button will return you to your position and reestablish the normal behavior of Celestia... The switch between modes should have a neat transition effect to makes things clear...

EDIT: Ideally the best would be your thumb but with my above behavior. You can manipulate the view in the thumb...

EDIT2: In fact could be a split of the screen with some characteristic on the side of the positioning view such auto marking of your position, tracking, button to close the view etc...
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #10by Vincent » 11.03.2009, 12:59

ElChristou wrote:Ok, but how would that really works? I mean, in your example, how the system choose between the galactic view or the solar system view in the position window?
You could choose your reference object, e.g., Sol in my above examples, and the view would be automatically
computed according to the distance from that reference object.


ElChristou wrote:EDIT2: In fact could be a split of the screen with some characteristic on the side of the positioning view such auto marking of your position, tracking, button to close the view etc...
Yes, I was also thinking about using split views. The problem is that currently, such an imbedded square view
can't be obtained with the split view option.
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #11by Imy » 11.03.2009, 13:09

I have not a close idea of this. I've thought about whereever user is in solar system, he presses a special button and in a special animated 3D trip (like when you use CTRL G) , he gets a special 3D view (over a 3/4 view on elliptic plan) of all current system where a flashing red arrow points his current location between magnified planets which then plays as reference localisation ticks... He presses again the same button and come back exactly in the last location and position with its last view options...Well... An idea coming from this kind of images usually used for galaxies map http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Group
Is the idea could be available for each system, earth system, solar system, galaxy system then? With a different automatic algorithm for selecting the best system? When you are on iss, what you want is earth system first, when you are between mars and earth, solar system would be more interesting. But when you are on iss you also may want to see how you are in solar system or even in galaxy... user must choice then! He has to choice between system scale to be located.

This what I've thought, :wink:

Vincent your ideas of image insert is rather a quick interesting view. But are 3D capabilities still available in this image insert, particularly for showing your position in galaxy profil?

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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #12by Imy » 11.03.2009, 13:28

Ok, but how would that really works? I mean, in your example, how the system choose between the galactic view or the solar system view in the position window?
Using database closed parent, no it can't be? Adding a clickable option or a pop menu in this insert in a way that user can still choose what reference he wants? Another solution would be a sub pop up menu like vectors reference pop menu, in each object, that suggests to the user bookmarked reference zooms : view this object in solar system, view this object in galaxy ...
Yes, I was also thinking about using split views. The problem is that currently, such an imbedded square view
can't be obtained with the split view option.
Following the concept, user may want to have severals reference views too.

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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #13by Vincent » 11.03.2009, 13:34

Imy wrote:Vincent your ideas of image insert is rather a quick interesting view. But are 3D capabilities still available in this image insert, particularly for showing your position in galaxy profil?
As specified above, the imbedded view I suggested is a real 3D view, not a image overlay.
I used a photoshop montage because this can't be performed in Celestia so far. But a
3D view, like the one you can obtain using the split view option, would be indeed the
best approach here.
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #14by ElChristou » 11.03.2009, 15:07

Quick mockup just to dev the idea:

The "GPO" (could be whatever name, someone better than I in English may find it) could use a simple slider to zoom in/out. The distance is displayed and some scripts are attached to some particular distances. In a few words, deepening on the distance, the GPO will show particular grids, labels or orbits or any other guides automatically using a specific script.
The user simply have to zoom in/out (still can be attached to the mouse wheel) and rotate the view to appreciate his global positioning...

In this mockup I chose a frame to clearly separate views; I think it's important, this way no confusion between split view, normal view, GPO view...

GPO.jpg
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #15by Cham » 11.03.2009, 15:21

ElChristou wrote:Quick mockup just to dev the idea:

The "GPO" (could be whatever name, someone better than I in English may find it) could use a simple slider to zoom in/out. The distance is displayed and some scripts are attached to some particular distances. In a few words, deepening on the distance, the GPO will show particular grids, labels or orbits or any other guides automatically using a specific script.
The user simply have to zoom in/out (still can be attached to the mouse wheel) and rotate the view to appreciate his global positioning...

In this mockup I chose a frame to clearly separate views; I think it's important, this way no confusion between split view, normal view, GPO view...

GPO.jpg

This is really ugly !

If I understand Vincent's idea, the small view is like any normal Celestia split view. Once clicked, the user can change the view orientation and zoom factor, like in any other Celestia view. We just need to mark the user's location and a generalisation of Celestia's split view system (so the small view can be resized and moved around, and the observer be "observed" by a second observer ! *).

* We could even setup two views refering to each other : in one small view, we see the position of observer #1, while in a second small view, we see the position of the second observer ! :lol: Hmm, could feel weird and confused ? :?
Last edited by Cham on 11.03.2009, 15:30, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #16by chris » 11.03.2009, 15:27

ElChristou wrote:
selden wrote:ElChristou,
It seems to me that the particular examples you're giving could be implemented using scripts.

Yep, part of such content will use for sure some scripts, now that was just some examples I able to imagine with my low level experience in astronomy... :oops:
What would be great is an imagination effort from all of you guys to write down some more content an more interesting stuff... What about eclipses? What about Lagrange points? what about Trojans asteroids? etc...

Transits and occultations. Binary and multiple star systems. Transiting planets. The different groups moons of the outer planets...

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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #17by ElChristou » 11.03.2009, 16:27

Cham wrote:This is really ugly !

If I understand Vincent's idea, the small view is like any normal Celestia split view. Once clicked, the user can change the view orientation and zoom factor, like in any other Celestia view. We just need to mark the user's location and a generalisation of Celestia's split view system (so the small view can be resized and moved around, and the observer be "observed" by a second observer ! *).

* We could even setup two views refering to each other : in one small view, we see the position of observer #1, while in a second small view, we see the position of the second observer ! :lol: Hmm, could feel weird and confused ? :?

As your comment is almost useless, could you tell us how you would see such feature? Or do you mean showing the position of the observer (OR in reality of any body - see next post) in a more general frame with some guides and other stuff makes no interest at all?
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #18by ElChristou » 11.03.2009, 16:31

Question; is this feature wanted for the position of the observer or could it be related to a body which become the center of interest? (we could trigger the function at contextual level with a "Show general view" or "Show GPO" or else...
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #19by ElChristou » 11.03.2009, 16:34

chris wrote:
ElChristou wrote:Yep, part of such content will use for sure some scripts, now that was just some examples I able to imagine with my low level experience in astronomy... :oops:
What would be great is an imagination effort from all of you guys to write down some more content an more interesting stuff... What about eclipses? What about Lagrange points? what about Trojans asteroids? etc...

Transits and occultations. Binary and multiple star systems. Transiting planets. The different groups moons of the outer planets...

Sounds like a whole program... Kind of tutorials? activities? Thinking this way, can be some official addons downloadable from Celestia website? or better be in the default package?

Transits and occultations... Any way to show cone of shadow?
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Re: New content and interactivity in next Celestia

Post #20by Cham » 11.03.2009, 17:00

ElChristou wrote:could you tell us how you would see such feature? Or do you mean showing the position of the observer (OR in reality of any body)?

Well, consider this : Suppose we have a way to mark an observer and we have (as an example) three splitted views. Marking the observer in one view should automatically mark it in all other "splitted" views at the same time. And since there are other views as well (3 splitted views in this example), we then have other markers in all the views. The markers should then be identified with different colors and/or symbols so we don't get confused with all the observers marks. For three splitted views, we get two observer-marks in each view.

I think this could be very usefull, especially if there's a color code associated to each observer-mark.

Maybe the views should be independant also, so we could have markers turned ON in one view, and markers turned OFF in another view.
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