Ever fancied a planet of your own design? Wondered what would happen if you then let it loose in the Solar System? Well theat’s just what you can do with Planet 10, a Shockwave 3D project that I programmed at Telepathy for NESTA’s Planet Science website way back in 2001.
The Planet Science blurb says:
Explore the planets, comets and asteroids on an interactive virtual fly-through. Zoom in close on a particular planet or choose a different orbit view to see the whole system from afar. The data sheets let you discover more about some of the elements that make up our Solar System.
Think you could create the perfect World? Here’s your chance to try. With World Builder, you call the shots. Work your way through each of the creation screens, but make your choices wisely, only certain conditions will ensure your planet is a successful place to grow and evolve.
The project won a Technical Achievement Honorable Mention from Macromedia in their eLearning Innovations thingy… Planet 10 was the first project where Flash had been integrated with Director’s (then new) 3D capabilities. Here’s what they said:
Planet 10 exemplifies an incredible use of interactive 3D to teach science imaginatively. Learners get to “fly through” the solar system and gain a sense of the size and relative location of the planets. By building their own planet, learners discover first-hand what it takes to make a viable planet. Students specify attributes for a planet, such as water and geographic composition, and the application determines how the planet will fare in the solar system. This is a great example of incorporating logical thinking into an application: in this case, getting kids to blend decision-making with scientific know-how and then see the results of those decisions.
A word of sadness, however. I spent almost a week on the explosion effects that take place when your planet collides with another — and then both DirectX and the Shockwave plugin underwent upgrades which seem to have disabled the explosions completely. Not that anyone other than me noticed, but I should really mention it to the client even if there’s no money to fix it.