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Nokturnal
08-05-2005, 07:05 AM
Hi guys,
A professor at my college has suggested me something which sounds really interesting & I am planning to pick it up.

Well since I was begging him to give me something to work in graphics, here are the two topics which he suggested.

The first one I am really interested in is

1) Modeling the Solar System

Hereís the synopsis that I wrote :-

The project will re-create our solar system. All the planets will be represented in 3-dimension either made in a 3D editing tool (3D Studio Max or Maya) or 3- Dimensional primitives (Sphere) textured. Based on the orbits which the planets will follow , it will give out the occasions on which either a solar or lunar eclipse will take place. The planet earth will be divided into 8 sections to limit the scope of the project ,the project will also say at which section the eclipse will be observed & the necessary details such as date (& if possible the time).A zoom in / out function will be added so that the user can have a panoramic view of the entire system .

Language used to demonstrate this will be Win32 & C/C++ for the core, supplemented with one of the APIís namely Microsoftís Direct-X or OpenGl.

2) Making A Fern using Fractals

I havenít looked into this topic at all, but I believe it is something which can be done in good old C/C++ graphics. Since the topic being a part of my curriculum, the professor deferred the discussion when we encounter it.

Before I dive into the questions I have , I would like to explain what all I know ,
I know quite some of C++ , I have worked with numerous languages like java , c# , but the knowledge of each one of them is kind of superficial , I donít know either of them in detail. But I am through various concepts of programming , OOP , but as mentioned I havenít muscled my way through anything complicated.

Out of interest I had started out with DirectX & a bit of Win32, as of now I can only work around with loading bitmaps & animating them. Actually up to the 8th chapter of La-Motheís tricks book, which explains concepts like double buffering, line algorithms etc. I was hoping to have a longer run with the 2D stuff before I picked up 3D , but this has come up out of no where and I need to submit my synopsis as soon a possible. I have just assumed about the planets can be either shown as textured or loaded from 3D models , I m not aware of either of the processes .I have other extensions to the project thought up , but I at least need to get the bare basics I mentioned above up & running.

Here are some things which i would like to know , what kind of complexity does the task I have mentioned above hold , some ideas were just brainstormed so I havenít given them much thought , neither have I worked in 3D , so my train of thought may not hold up. Given time to work on the project is around 5 months, so considering someone with average skills , is it possible to pick up the 1st mentioned project , since it really interests me.

Any other suggestions are welcome. Thanks

Aeluned
08-05-2005, 07:29 AM
It's not clear to me exactly what your question is.
Modeling the solar system isn't a complicated task - from a graphics point of view all you need know is rendering spheres, texture mapping and a good understanding of object vs. world space as well as transformations.

You should pick up the 'OpenGL Red Book (http://www.opengl.org/documentation/red_book_1.0/) ':

Using fractals to generate a fern or snowflakes or whatever is much less an excercise in the OpenGL graphics API.

Peace outty.

jide
08-05-2005, 07:42 AM
The first one seems pretty well :)

But you mentionned the ability for the user to see all the system: that's not feasible but if you scale up all the planets and moons. At least you'll see the sun (and maybe Jupiter) but that's all.

The success of your work will mainly depend on your maths knowledges and the realism you want to do. For example, planet trajectories aren't circles but elliptic and all the planets don't have the same rotation plane. This is the same for the moons around the planets.

About the graphics, all I can say is that you should simplify planets and moons to spheres and apply to them textures.

Hope that helps.

Nokturnal
08-05-2005, 10:06 AM
Thanks for the prompt replies, I guess i wasn't able to convey my ideas clearly, since i am still pondering over it , here is what i have in mind , I was hoping to have kind of a free-look camera , but I have no clue of the complexity it will involve , at minimum , Iíll need to give 2-3 views of the system from different angles. I am planning to simulate it as closely as possible , thus I have in mind the orbits are not circular , more of elliptical , each planet has its own rotation/revolution figures & a ton of details which I havenít cogitated upon . As you brought up a good issue as to how the planets be resembled if the entire system needs to be shown , well I guess I ll need to deal with the math to keep the orbits in the view & then scale the planets neglecting their actual size with respect to the entire system , just a thought. Or may be I can demonstrate the thing with only 3 entities I am interested in.I can roughly come up with a game plan as to move the planets according to the equation of their orbits (ellipse) & may be check for a line passing through all the planets I m interested in,but again thatís just rough work.

What I am actually worried about is from the graphics point of view, how much of OpenGL I will have to know?? As much as my desire to learn OpenGL / DX I need to make sure I am not missing out on other activities of my college & not to mention other competitive exams I am preparing for. So basic constraint is of time & my skill level in graphics is that of a beginner.

If you guys can come up an idea as above as above I would love to hear it . Thanks

Aeluned
08-05-2005, 11:50 AM
As I said before, the rendering tasks are simple - it boils down to a few texture mapped spheres for a simple representation.

The part you will find most difficult is wrapping your head around transformations and the 'camera'.

If you're not familiar with transformation matrices and object vs. world space and view vectors and projections etc... then I highly recommend reading chapter 3 of the Red Book. This section will have the steepest learning curve.

Most people have a hard time grasping these concepts when they first set out into the world of computer graphics.

After you learn to place things, move them and setup your view vectors properly you can get to the drawing, which in the case of a solar system model, should be relatively simple.

Nokturnal
08-05-2005, 12:16 PM
thanks for clearing that up Aeluned , I will get my hands on the red book asap :) i belive 1.1 is free to download