Visit Jupiter or Mars without leaving your home.
Space is big. Really big. But game designer and environment artist Christopher Albeluhn is hoping to make it just a little bit smaller with a new program called The Solar System: Explore Your Backyard, which faithfully reconstructs the entirety of our solar system using just the Unreal Engine.
Initially starting out as a project for his portfolio, which includes previous work from Dead Rising 2 and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Albeluhn planned on mapping out the planet Earth in the Unreal Engine as an example of his technical skills. But as he spent more time working on the project, he kept adding more and more levels of detail to the simulator it until it encompassed most of the solar system .
"Every night I began making it bigger, better, and more of what I wanted to see in a space program," Albeluhn wrote on his project's webpage. The current version of Explore Your Backyard includes our sun, eight planets (Pluto unfortunately got the axe), their moons, and a whole host of constellations. Albeluhn's simulator is so detailed it even includes the scientifically accurate locations, orbits, and speeds of nearly every celestial body within our solar system.
"Growing up I had always wished I could explore space my way, and this project has turned into exactly that," Albehun said in an email interview with the Huffington Post. "There are many space related applications out there, but most are bland and unable to draw in new users. This project aims to change that."
Currently, Albehun is aiming to release the program for the PC, but hopes to release a version for Android and iOS devices. You can check out Explore Your Backyard here, and if you're interested in donating a few dollars to the project, visit Albeluhn's IndieGoGo page for more information.
Source: Huffington Post