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Topics - gbCerberus

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Spore: General / You wanted a planet-creation editor?
« on: September 11, 2006, 03:01:04 pm »

I managed to crash a huge gas giant into the Sun on my first try and for my second I tried making something in the Inner Solar System that ended up wiping out Mars. Oops...

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to scour the Internet for applications like this that allow interactive modeling of the Solar System (not just tours) and modification of orbits using simulated physics.

Your monitor will self-destruct in 10 seconds...

Earth-like planets may be more common than once thought, says new U. of Colorado-Penn State study

More than one-third of the giant planet systems recently detected outside Earth's solar system may harbor Earth-like planets, many covered in deep oceans with potential for life, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder and Pennsylvania State University.

The study focuses on a type of planetary system unlike our solar system that contains gas giants known as "Hot Jupiters" orbiting extremely close to their parent stars -- even closer than Mercury to our sun, said CU-Boulder researcher Sean Raymond. Such gas giants are believed to have migrated inward toward their parent stars as the planetary systems were forming, disrupting the space environment and triggering the formation of ocean-covered, Earth-like planets in a "habitable zone" conducive to the evolution of life, according to the new study.

"Exotic Earths: Forming Habitable Worlds with Giant Planet Migration" was published in the Sept. 8 issue of Science and authored by Raymond, Avi Mandell of both Penn State and Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Steinn Sigurdsonn of NASA's Goddard Center.

The study indicates Hot Jupiters push and pull proto-planetary disk material during their journeys, flinging rocky debris outward where it is likely to coalesce into Earth-like planets, said Raymond. At the same time, turbulent forces from the dense surrounding gas slow down the orbits of small, icy bodies in the outer reaches of the disk, causing them to spiral inward and deliver water to the fledgling planets. Such planets may eventually host oceans several miles deep, according to the study.

"These gas giants cause quite a ruckus," said Raymond of CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. "We now think there is a new class of ocean-covered, and possibly habitable, planets in solar systems unlike our own."

Scientists had previously assumed that as Hot Jupiters plowed through proto-planetary material on their inward migrations toward parent stars, all the surrounding material would be "vacuumed up" or ejected from the system, he said. "The new models indicate these early ideas were probably wrong," said Raymond.

The research team ran exhaustive simulations lasting more than eight months each on more than a dozen desktop computers, starting with proto-planetary disks containing more than 1,000 moon-sized, rocky and icy bodies. The initial conditions for each computer model were based on current theories of how planets form in our own solar system and simulated about 200 million years of planetary evolution.

The team concluded that about one of every three known planetary systems could have evolved as-yet-undetected Earth-like planets in so-called habitable zones like the one Earth is in, he said. A whopping 40 percent of the 200 or so known planets around other stars are Hot Jupiters, although the percentage probably will decrease as more distant planets are discovered, said Raymond.

In addition to Earth-like planets that form in habitable zones outside Hot Jupiters, the simulations showed some rocky planets known as "Hot Earths" often form inside the orbits of Hot Jupiters, said Raymond. A Hot Earth, with a radius twice that of our own Earth, was discovered in 2005 in a nearby star system orbiting just 2 million miles from its parent star by a team led by University of California, Berkeley, planetary scientist Geoffrey Marcy.

The new simulations showed both Hot Earths and Earth-like planets in habitable zones formed with large amounts of water, up to 100 times the water present on Earth today, he said. The models indicate such water-rich planets would probably contain a lower percentage of iron - which may be important for the evolution and possible oxygenation of evolving atmospheres - than Earth, he said.

According to the team's simulations, Hot Earths can form astoundingly fast, in just 100,000 years or so. Earth-like planets in habitable zones form much more slowly, taking up to 200 million years, said Raymond. Geologists believe Earth took about 30 million years to 50 million years to fully form.

"I think there are definitely habitable planets out there," said Raymond. "But any life on these planets could be very different from ours. There are a lot of evolutionary steps in between the formation of such planets in other systems and the presence of life forms looking back at us."

The new research effort may allow planet hunters to determine "rough limits" indicating where to search for habitable planets in known systems of giant planets, according to the team, whose research was funded by NASA's Astrobiology Institute headquartered at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

"Upcoming space missions such as NASA's Kepler and Terrestrial Planet finder and ESA's COROT and Darwin will discover and eventually characterize Earth-like planets around other stars," wrote the authors in Science. ""We predict that a significant fraction of systems with close-in giant planets will be found to have a Hot Earth or potentially habitable, water-rich planets on stable orbits in the Habitable Zone."

Original press release:

Artist's impression the surface of an ocean-covered planet in the habitable zone of a system with a "hot Jupiter." A "hot Earth" and the hot Jupiter are seen close to the setting sun. Massive waves and storms wash over the planet, a possible result of a lack of continents.

edits: Added hyperlink to the illustration and quoted the whole article.

Spore: General / You're turning this into Fable hype
« on: September 06, 2006, 04:32:49 pm »
AKA Over-speculation is bad for your health

I'd like to share a little story with you. Years ago I lurked the Fable forum much as I do this Spore forum. I specifically remember this one discussion pertaining to how the game was going to deal with the player's death, going on the following premise: Moleneux had mentioned really hard games like Ninja Gaiden and said they'd never want to punish the player the way they do. One poster assumed this meant that when you 'died' you'd wake up back in town after being drug back by a towns person.

One day I in Fable I decided to die and see what happened. I attacked a group of bandits, put down my controler, watched as my 9 auto-ressurrect potions were used, and saw...

A game over screen. :-\ Nothing different than what happens when you die in Ninja Gaiden. Was it my fault for expecting something cool and never seeing it in game? Yes.

My point is this: I like to get worked up about a game before its released the same as the next gamer, but there's excitement and fanboy-ism... and then there's the flamefests based on scraps on vague information that have seemingly invaded this forum.

So please, calm down and remember Spore isn't complete and don't know what the finished product will be.

Thank you.

Spore: General / Let tomorrow be awesome
« on: March 22, 2006, 11:20:57 am »
Please Will, one-up your presentation at last years GDC and really blow our minds again. We know you can do it, don't let EA censor you! Here's to an insanely exciting revelations and new information that'll carry us on for another year of waiting if necessary. Cheers!

Or, would you rather him not give away much? Could Will, in spilling the beans about Spore, turn into Peter Molyn-hype (*cough* Fable *cough*)? Don't tell us stuff that you're just going to cut out!

I'm going to lock the poll (and edit it to let non-voters view it) once Will's speach hits the net, and provide a link to a FAQs thread or somesuch.

Spore: General /
« on: November 18, 2005, 10:20:03 am »
To further the community's scientific understanding of the Solar System, I present an old standby of mine:

"This website is an overview of the history, mythology, and current scientific knowledge of each planet and the major moons in our solar system. Each page has [Bill Arnett's] text and NASA's images, some have sounds and movies, most provide references to additional related information."

For instance, Jupiter's <> magnetic field is massive and powerful. It's tail (swept back by the Sun's energy) stretches out past the orbit of Saturn!

Explore the site, go to your favorite planet, and tell us what you think.

Spore: General / Space Ships, both NPC and Player-controlled
« on: May 30, 2005, 10:49:31 am »
Firstly, has there been any indication that there will be other space ships populating the galaxy once you get to the UFO level? To me it seems that interstellar space is rather devoid of space-faring civilizations. I hope there will be lots of ships out there; I mean, every other stage was about competition and interaction… why not at the space level too?

Secondly, will we just be able to build a single space-ship, the UFO, that we do all of our work from... or can we build freighters to ferry passengers and carry ore from mining colonies back to manufacturing centers (travel in this case would be inside a star system)? Do we have to teleport colonies to a planet’s surface, or can we also send colony ships off to inhabit a new planet?

On a side note, can we build space stations?

Lastly, it seems the money that colonies earn is magically pooled (across interplanetary distances) into one fund to go towards upgrading technologies and our UFO tools. I hope this isn’t the case, that we could see the movement of trade ships, materials, cargo, and colonists… but then again Spore is supposed to be a very light game and most galactic civilization sims (why does Microsoft Word want me to capitalize “sims”?) have rather steep learning curves.

Spore: General / Discovery Channel's "Alien Planet"
« on: May 02, 2005, 04:21:43 pm »
Finally, science programming! (Hi, first ever post. *waves*)

I came across a banner (on for something called 'Alien Planet.' After blinking a couple times, my first thought was: "Is this Spore, in some twisted marketing campaign?" Well, bad news is that its not Spore and I realize the EA media gag order is still presently in effect. Good news is that, come May 14th, we can all salivate over something that could resemble Spore gameplay.

Here's the 'about' section -
...and here's the splash screen, the page the banner took me -

There's a lot of stuff on the site including the fictional back-story (including a tour of the fictional interstellar ship -- USS Enterprise it is not), video interviews with "big thinkers and scientists" such as Steven Hawking and Michio Kaku, and an image gallery.

So yeah, do you know what you're doing the night of May 14th?

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