Exoplanet Explorer 2.5.1: A new beginning
I’ve finally finished the new version of Exoplanet Explorer!
This is a complete rewrite of the original Shiva code, for Unity. Though it’s taken some time, now that it’s done it should be a lot easier to maintain. The old Shiva code was very awkward to work with, mainly because Shiva wasn’t really flexible enough to do what I tried to do with it.
The biggest difference between new and old can be seen in the HD version, which is the former paid version of the app. Instead of downloading updates from my server, you are able to update as often as you like, direct from the Planetary Habitability Laboratory. After linking the app to your DropBox account, you can download the data file you want to use. These are zip files, so they will need to be extracted into Exoplanet Explorer’s DropBox folder. The process will be manual initially, but when I get some time, I’ll add a zip extractor to the app, make things easier.
The import function can handle the three main databases available on the PHL website: confirmed planets, unconfirmed planets and Kepler candidates.
If you choose not to perform manual updates, the built in database will updated to the latest list of confirmed planets with each new release.
I was able to reimplement nearly everything form the old app. As mentioned, the only real missing features is that binary stars are no longer displayed. The PHL data is structured so that each planet can only have one associated star, and stars cannot be associated with each other. There is no way to determine which systems are binary. There are other data sources though, and as I mentioned, I am hoping to incorporate another source that identifies binary systems at a later date.
There are some minor things that are still outstanding in the new app. The Glossary will appear in a later update. Little things such as Uranus, which isn’t tipped on to it’s side, will also be fixed up later. There’s also an occasional glitch where the camera does a quick 360 degree spin when navigating to a new star. I have a rough idea what’s causing it, but I’ll need to spend some time on it to narrow down the problem. It’s just a visual glitch and doesn’t affect use of the app, so I’ve decided to release it with this “feature” still present.
I’ll be releasing the paid version update first, which will be renamed to “Exoplanet Explorer HD”. A few days later, the “Lite” version will be updated and become “Exoplanet Explorer”. The HD version of the app has increased from about 18MB to 80MB, thanks to all the HD goodness.
Finally, if you find any bugs, then please report them to me. I’ve tested it as best I can, but it’s very hard for me to spot rare bugs in my own code. Who knows what bug could be triggered by a combination of actions that I haven’t thought of?