Exoplanet Explorer is finally ready to be submitted to App World!
It was a good thing I didn’t try to send it off blind, like I did with Solar Explorer. My first attempt to run the app on the Playbook last week saw it freeze as soon as the title screen appeared. It turned out to be a minor bug that also affected Android, but by pure chance, was only being triggered on Playbook.
Once fixed, Exoplanet Explorer started up and everything worked flawlessly.
That’s the nice thing about working with a cross platform tool like Shiva3D: I don’t have to worry about “fragmentation” on Android, and I also don’t have to worry about porting my apps to other platforms. I’ve only had two reports of Solar Explorer not working due to actual hardware issues in nearly 5,000 installs of the app on Android. Most of the support issues I have to deal with are Android Market glitches.
There’s going to be a couple of new features in this release for existing users of the app.
The first is an improvement to the orbit simulation, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. The app had been showing highly eccentric orbits (oval shaped) with the planets moving at the same speed all the way through the year. This isn’t how it works in the real world, where a planet’s speed is constantly changing unless it’s in a circular orbit. I couldn’t fix it because of the Shiva’s 32 bit math performance limitation, but now I’ve gone back and implemented the necessary code as a plugin, using 64bit math.
There’s also some new buttons on the toolbar, including a back button which works the same as the physical back button on an Android phone. This was added for Playbook users because it’s needed to navigate the app.
The other button that’s been added controls the speed the simulation runs at. There’s some really bizarre systems out there that have planets that whip around their parent star(s) in a few hours, and others that take hundreds of our years to complete just one orbit. This button will slow the action down or speed it up so you’ve got a better idea of what is going on.
Apart from that, there’s a few bug fixes as well.
I plan to release the new version on Android Market early tomorrow and submit it to App World later in the day.