Blog

  • Working on OrbitSweeper – an Orbital Debris Clearing Simulator

    Working on OrbitSweeper – an Orbital Debris Clearing Simulator

    I’m currently working on an orbital debris clearing simulator called OrbitSweeper. Read More

  • OrbitLab 1.1 for iOS is released and ready for sale on the App Store and Google Play

    OrbitLab 1.1 for iOS is released and ready for sale on the App Store and Google Play

    Still waiting for Amazon. Also, I have a new video advertising the new features.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WW0mRLMwVuQ
    OrbitLab is not a game, but a physics laboratory for experimenting with orbital mechanics.
    OrbitLab is an orbital simulation that lets you experiment with planets in a solar system. The setup is simple so you can get started right away.
    There is a Sun, surrounded by a number of planets. Equations of gravity control the motions of all the bodies in the system, and they all have gravitational influences on each other, just as in the real world.
    Certain initial conditions are randomized with each restart. Randomization happens within certain bounds for most parameters. These bounds are described in the info sections for each parameter control.
    Key Features

    Select 1 to 100 planets with a controlled but randomized initialization
    Easily change the mass of the Sun and planets to see the effects
    Replay from the start, or restart with new randomized values
    Planets emit a pleasant tone and flash discreetly on closest or farthest point in their orbits
    Save a Solar System if you like, for replay later
    Edit Solar Systems to discover new effects
    Translated into 33 languages, of which 11 are human translations
    Setup screen allows access to various display and simulation parameters
    Exploding satellite mode

    New Features for 1. Read More

  • Finally ready for beta testing OrbitLab 1.1b!

    Finally ready for beta testing OrbitLab 1.1b!

    Ran into some problems with things you might think were simple, like getting thinks to work right when you reorient your device. But now it’s ready for beta testing. Here’s a link to be invited to beta test via TestFlight: http://tflig. Read More

  • Update is complete, but there’s a bit more to do before a release

    Update is complete, but there’s a bit more to do before a release

    The update is complete, but it took a little longer because I made it work vertically as well as horizontally. Sounds simple, right? But I had it all laid out to be horizontal, and couldn’t think how to lay it out vertically until I made the buttons slide in and out from the sides so they would fit on a small screen without being super tiny. So now everything rotates and rearranges when you rotate your device – as any polite mobile device app should do!
    Now I have people beta testing, and I have to get translations for new features, do a promo video, submit for acceptance to iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. Probably another week or so. Read More

  • OrbitLab 1.1 Teaser, release expected by end of April

    OrbitLab 1.1 Teaser, release expected by end of April

    I’m almost finished with a very beautiful 1.1 update for OrbitLab. Read More

  • What’s that about the “Music of the Spheres”?

    What’s that about the “Music of the Spheres”?

    Someone on reddit wondered about part of OrbitLab’s tagline “listen to the music of the spheres”. It’s a good question!
    According to the article in Wikipedia:
     
    Musica universalis (lit. universal music, or music of the spheres) or Harmony of the Spheres is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies—the Sun, Moon, and planets—as a form of musica (the Medieval Latin name for music). This ‘music’ is not usually thought to be literally audible, but a harmonic and/or mathematical and/or religious concept.
    In OrbitLab, it’s a matter of playing a tone at the farthest and nearest points of an orbit (the apsides). The tones assigned are relative to the distance of the planet from the sun at those points. The net effect is something like a celestial wind chime, though it’s more periodic. And it depends on how many planets you have, of course. A single planet in OrbitLab will go forever just emitting two tones, possibly separated by many seconds. Read More

  • OrbitLab version 1.0.04 released on iTunes and Google Play

    OrbitLab version 1.0.04 released on iTunes and Google Play

    Here’s a short video of OrbitLab:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMevZvCmoNU
    I fixed some issues that were small, yet important to the usability of OrbitLab, and these are now available for iOS on iTunes and for Android on Google Play.

    OrbitLab is a continuation of something I first released as an app for Macintosh back in 1986 – Orbital Mech. That was written in Forth, with a little 68K assembly language to make some of the calculations go faster. OrbitLab is written in Lua using Corona SDK, so it runs natively on iOS and Android. In 2014 they’ll also compile to Windows Phone 8.

    I plan on adding a phone-sized version. Initially I had thought that wouldn’t fly, but I have some ideas on how to make it work. After that I will add guided missions, where you will rocket your way to retrieve a disabled satellite, dock with a space station, mine an asteroid, or land on another body like the Moon or Mars. Read More

  • New version but iTunes Connect is closed until the 28th

    New version but iTunes Connect is closed until the 28th

    I have a new version, 1.0.04, that fixes some minor issues, but I can’t release it until the 28th, when iTunes Connect is back up. Read More

  • OrbitLab 1.0.0 launched

    OrbitLab 1.0.0 launched

    OrbitLab orbital simulator was accepted at the iTunes store on December 11, 2013. Some problems with file systems delayed the launch of the Android version until December 16, 2013. Read More