A Planet of my own

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.

Planet 10 Solar System Explorer
Solar System Explorer

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.

Planet 10 World Builder
World Builder

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.

See this quote in context here

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.


Shockwave Status:

Click here to play

20 thoughts on “A Planet of my own”

  1. Hi, I have played this game before and thoroughly enjoyed it, however, my school (Moseley Park) has blocked it because they consider it to be a game. I would appreciate it if you could contact them and ask them to lift the ban by explaining to them that it is not just a game.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Dylan, glad you enjoyed it. I’d love to help but I suspect it’s a bit beyond my powers to sway the opinion of your school.

  2. I just wanted to say I love this game! i have played it ever since i was in elementary school and i still play it now, even though I’ve been graduated from highschool for a little over a year now. this game has so much potential and wish that you would work on it even more!

    1. Glad you like it! Actually, I’m surprised it’s still around and still working. A lot of my work has succumbed to the inevitable bit-rot that comes with time.

  3. Hi! I used to love playing this game, but when I click on the link, shockwave just won’t load. Should I wait a bit longer maybe. Thanks for the info if you can help.

    1. It’s probably fallen victim to bit-rot – the tendency for software, as it ages, to become increasingly unlikely to run on modern systems. Do you have the Shockwave plugin installed? That would be the first step towards finding out if it still works.

      1. I do have shockwave installed, but when I go to the page, nothing loads. It just shows a picture of Adobe Shockwave. Thanks for replying to me actually!

        1. Hmm, how frustrating. It’s been a very long time since I tried to get it to run myself, but I’ll have a go and report back.

        2. FWIW, I’ve been unable to get it to work either. Looks like more digging is required. Sorry about that.

  4. i have downloaded adobe shockwave and all its says is ‘This Plugin is not supported’ have i done something wrong???

    1. I don’t think so. Shockwave seems to be poorly supported these days. Bitrot has taken its toll.

  5. Christian,

    This was a great little thing you built. About 10 years ago I used to use this every year with my science class. It was the perfect blend of creativity, curiosity, playfulness and … hmmm I wonder how we can break it. Which was exactly what my year 8’s loved and it engaged every single class I used this with.

    Returning to teaching again, I wondered where is that great little planet10 thing the kids loved so much. But alas, I have yet to find a live link.

    Is there still a version of this floating around on the interwebs, waiting to be played with?

    – Lisa

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I’ll see if I can somehow create a video on an old computer… fingers crossed I can salvage something.

  6. Another teacher seeking this great tool. I remember there was a stand-alone downloadable version that was only about 10MB. I don’t suppose you have that to share?


  7. I have been playing this simulator since 2004 and it’s sad that Flash and Shockwave are both gone. It would be nice if just a video of it would be uploaded just to have a trip down memory lane.

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