The Solar System: Explore your Backyard

Developer: Chris Albeluhn
Release Date: May 21, 2012
Consoles: PC, iOS

Click 'HERE' if you'd like to view screenshots of the iOS version.

PC Version: V1.85

The following images are screen shots taken from an education project I developed using UDK,

My goal was to make a fully interactive, immersive learning tool that gets people curious about the universe around us. I have ported over the PC version onto the IOS to be used on the Ipad. This version is a little more colorful, and due to the interface of the Ipad it does differ from the PC version in some ways.

On a side bonus, i will be providing tutorials on different aspects of this applications development. Everything from shaders, to lighting, to matine sequences, to the mouse interacte aspects, to particles and more.

All 8 planets are currently included, along with their moons, rotations periods, orbits and shifts. All of these are precise enough that you can speed through time both forwards and back to see where the planets are at any given time.

Constellations are also included in this package. 88 Constellations, complete with their locations, stars, facts and mythology.

There is a 'Country' mode for the PC which allows you to view each country of the planet by moving your mouse over the country.

This is what you see when you first start the application. There is a scale button, which by default is turned on. This allows the planets to scale up as the viewer zooms out, better illustrating the size relations of the planets.

The bottom right is the time display and controlls.
The bottom left is the planet selection window.
The top right is the information screen readout.
The top left is the options screen.

This application is set up in such a way that only a mouse is required. Left clicking selects your desired options, and right clicking brings up a readout that rotates the screen based on which side/corner from the relative center the mouse is in.

In the planet selection screen (Bottom left), when a mouse is placed over a planet, the planets orientation path will change to red.

There is an option to see the planets orientation in relation to the solar system.

There are two pieces to every planet, one is a ring that indicates the axis of the planets orbit, the other indicates the tilt of the planet as it circles the Sun.

A 'Cross Section' options illustrates the layering of the planets. Since nobody knows what this actually looks like, geometry used to represent the estimated depths these layers are believed to be.

Each layer is color coded with a legend to the right of the planet.

A grid option allows you to better grasp the scale of the solar system.

Information regarding the celestial body in question can be viewed by pressing the 'Info' button. A borad overview as well as facts and figures can be viewed in this menu.

The gravitational pulls of each planet are also illustrated. This is a 3D take on a 2D idea.

Earth has a unique option that allows you to view all the countries. Simply drag your mouse over a country (outlined) and it'll pop out. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with our planet.

Through the Options menu (Top Left) you can activate the Constellations. All 88 major constellations are included, along with the actual positions of the major stars which make up the constellations themselves. Placing your mouse over the constellation will cause the illustration to fade in and the name to appear, and moving your mouse away causes it to fade. The borders and lines that compose each constellation can be easily turned off.

Double clicking the constellation will fly the camera towards it, out of the clutter of the solar system,orientates itself correctly and brings in a screen full of useful information.

When in this mode, the major stars, clusters, Nebula and Galaxies located in the constellation are displayed.

The 'borders' and 'Lines' that compose the constellations can be toggled on and off at this screen as well as the main HUD.