8 July 2013
Comments: 8

Galaxy Explorer: Nearly there

Although I lost a few days last week to other tasks, I’m back on Galaxy Explorer and it’s nearly complete, just a few UI issues, some testing, create an icon, and it’ll be ready for release.

Importing is working well now – I’ve decided to restrict the app to the 15,000 of the closest nearby stars, taken from a modified version of the XHIP database, because it has a lot more information than the HYGXYZ database.

As mentioned previously, the reason for the limit is that low-end devices don’t have enough RAM to handle the full dataset. I’d estimate that a 1GB device can manage about 100,000 stars, and still offer reasonable performance.

I could offer the option to activate the full 60,000 stars in the XHIP database, but if I did that, a significant portion of users are just going to turn it on immediately, crash their devices, and blame me for it.

To give you an idea of performance, I installed the app for the first time on my craptastic tablet today. Amazingly, it worked fine with 15,000 stars, and even ran at a reasonable 15fps, all on a $35 tablet that only has about 350MB of RAM.

For those that really want to use the full XHIP or HYGXYZ database, or to create their own data file, there’s always the unlock option, which also gets rid of the ads.

The main outstanding issue is that I need to figure out some way of blocking input on “background” windows. This can crash the app because a user can start an import, the progress bar appears, and then they can close the window behind the progress dialog. I’m thinking of creating a translucent panel that fills the screen (and has a box collider attached) and moving it up the Z order so that it’s always underneath the topmost panel. This would intercept touches so that the user would have to close the current window, or wait for the current process to complete. The only issue I have is that I don’t know of any NGUI function that returns the topmost panel, so I’ll have to try and figure out a way of doing it myself.

Disable Background Panels

  • Hernen

    Hi Neil! Will the app show multiple stars with all components as well as systems with exoplanet? Greetings

    • http://apps.burlock.org Neil B

      This app will show the data that’s in the XHIP database, which includes multi-star systems, though there’s no planet info, besides whether a star has planets or not.

      There’s a lot more information about the stars that have exoplanets in the XHIP database which this app uses, so much of what I’m learning through writing it will end up in Exoplanet Explorer when I rewrite that.

  • Ed

    Hello Neil,
    Is there any chance that you can bring the app to the Playbook?
    Regards,
    Ed

    • http://apps.burlock.org Neil B

      I had intended to, but unfortunately, last month Blackberry decided that BB10 is no longer coming to Playbook, and Unity will only compile for BB10.
      It’s especially frustrating because I’m already fully invested in Unity and I’ve now got no way to port the upcoming updates for my existing apps to Playbook. After Shiva’s death, there’s not really any affordable cross-platform tool that can target Playbook (that I know of), and as a one-man-band, I don’t have the resources to be able to rewrite my cross-platform stuff to a native Playbook language – especially since I’m relying on Unity’s large library of plugins which have saved me hundreds, if not thousands of man-hours of development time.

      • Ed

        Hello Neil,
        From the Shiva forum’s there appears to be some signs of life in the company. Have you heard whether there may be renewed support for this product?

        • http://apps.burlock.org Neil B

          I had heard a rumour that rescue might be at hand, though, unless this saviour has very deep pockets and will throw unlimited money at development and marketing, Shiva’s going to continue to struggle.
          Unity’s big advantages are it’s huge user base and well stocked asset store, which is the result of a huge user base + time.
          I just don’t see how Shiva’s going to be able to attract the kind of support it needs to become a viable business.

      • Ed

        Hello Neil,
        I also wanted to mention that I am a huge fan of your programs. Sorry to hear that they Playbook will no longer be supported. I have purchased all of your Apps to date.
        Ed

        • http://apps.burlock.org Neil B

          I wish I could support Playbook, after all I’ve got one sitting on the desk in front of me. I reckon that the excuse that the hardware isn’t up to it is rubbish.