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Forum » SpaceEngine » Development Status » ToDo list contains many similarities to SimEarth
ToDo list contains many similarities to SimEarth
BonesledgeDate: Sunday, 04.01.2015, 23:30 | Message # 1
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First of all, thank you for an awe inspiring program! I used to follow the development of Celestia until it ebbed out, and was exhilerated to discover Space Engine. Also thanks for posting updates, info and thoughs so frequently; the other somwhat similar projects I follow (Outerra and I-Novae Engine) don't do that. I noticed that many of the more excotic features on the ToDo list, such as continental drift, computational atmosphere models, vegetation and so on actually once existed in an old game called SimEarth.
It was maybe my favorite game as a child, and might well have been part of the inspiration for why I chose to do a PhD in computational fluid dynamics. Anyway, while the hardware limitations of the time are now laughable, the physical thinking that went into the game was not. A summary of the games model choices is given here: http://www.eolss.net/sample-chapters/c15/E1-47-17.pdf. Not surprisingly, they used cellular automata. The games original grid was rectangular, and I guess a spherical geometry is slightly more difficult. Anyway, for continental drift, ocean currents and atmosphere, the cellular automata probably equates to iterative solutions of Finite Difference schemes for various Partial Differential Equations. Having such functionality to play with in Space Engine would be immensely cool. It wouldn't need to be be real-time like the rest of the program,
but could perhaps be a separate module. For instance, given the rotation, core heat, solar heat and atmospheric composition of a gas-giant, you could obtain cloud bands as on Jupiter, which to my knowledge is the result of thermal convection cells and the Coriolis effect (but unfortunately is an inherently 3D phenomenon). Anyhow, simple climate, biome and tectonic models would make the program incredibly fun (of course, it already is), and possibly, large research governmental organizations would be interested in helping you with both expertise and funding, as they set aside PR budgets to promote the importance of their Research, and Space Engine would be a really beautiful and accessible showcase.
For some inspiring (but of course way too computationally and conceptually heavy) work, see eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xSbn2RKUuw and https://www.youtube.com/user/MITgcm.
A more practical algorithm for plate tectonics, which geneates much more realistic looking continents than pure fractals, is discussed here: http://forum.outerra.com/index.php?topic=980.0

Edited by Bonesledge - Monday, 05.01.2015, 22:13
InariusDate: Monday, 05.01.2015, 08:02 | Message # 2
Group: Local Moderators
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I also thought a lot about Sim Earth, a very inspiring game I also used to "play" a lot as a kid, and long, long years after. I still long for a game of this type today !
I don't know if your model can be used for this huge machinery, but I support the concept of your idea !
Forum » SpaceEngine » Development Status » ToDo list contains many similarities to SimEarth
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