Work in Progress History for Digital Universe version 1.7

April 2009      Planet rendering.

Earlier versions of Digital Universe could only use feature maps of specific sizes. This code has now been re-written to allow maps of different sizes to be utilised. This means that when planet displays are large, Digital Universe can look for higher resolution maps and if available make use of them. The example here shows a high resolution map of Jupiter together with a more appropriately lower resolution map of Europa.

Note that higher resolution data may not be available for all objects.

May 2009      Arexx Information.

Added Arexx commands to enable information to be sent to Digital Universe from a script. This will allow scripts to be written which will inform the user what is going to happen, useful for demonstrations etc.

Information can be displayed in a MUI requester requiring user interaction or using the Alert Window system which is transitory and uses the Information -> Last Message menu.

May 2009      Find Windows GUI.

All the windows that are used to find an object now have a Criteria text field and a Search button. Previously those that were just single lists did not.

The advantage of adding the new gadgets apart from a more consistent look, is that it is possible to locate an object by entering a few characters from its name, often quicker than scrolling through a long list.
For example the two letters Hy in the example would locate Saturn's moon Hyperion.

January 2010      Star Drawing.

The drawing of stars has been revamped. Brighter stars are drawn larger and there is also a tooltype option to draw stars with a crossed flare. It is now possible to render stars in colour according to their spectral type. As the human eye does not see colour at low levels of illumination only the more brightly displayed stars are rendered in colour.

June 2010      Lunar Features 1

If the option to display the names of solar system objects is enabled, the major lunar features are also labelled. Feature names are not shown if the lunar image is small, nor if planetary features are disabled. Only features within the bright phase are shown, objects that remain in darkness are not labelled.

June 2010      Lunar Features 2

The number of lunar features that are labelled increases as the user zooms further into the lunar surface.

August 2010      Control Panel

The Control Panel has a new streamlined appearance without the cumbersome window title bar. The user now has the option to use either a horizontal toolbar or a vertical one. This option is specified at startup and cannot be changed whilst The Digital Universe is running.
The toolbar can be moved by using the left mouse button with the CTRL and Amiga keys, its position will be snapshot automatically when exiting the application.

September 2010      New Menu Structure

The menu structure has been updated. There is now an Arexx menu for running scripts. The old Project Menu has now been split into a Project Menu and a View Menu. Each menu has new entries as seen in the screengrab.

September 2010      Time Entry

The time window has been updated, the date and time string gadgets are now separate. There is also a popup button next to the time gadget, that will allow the user to enter a time from a scrollable listview, the times are available in 15 minute intervals.

September 2010      Date Entry

The time window has been updated, the date and time string gadgets are now separate. There is also a popup button next to the date gadget, that will display a calendar to allow an alternative method of entering the date.

October 2010      DeepSky Objects

Instead of being depicted as circles, deep sky objects are now drawn using ellipses which more closely represent their actual shape. Where available (in fact most objects!) the minimum size and position angle are used to draw the deep sky object.

October 2010      Planetary Phase Shading

Rather than just use a straight on/off method for drawing the planetary phase, Digital Universe now realistically calculates the brightness level of the entire planetary surface dependant on the direction of the incoming sunlight.
Compare the new method of planetary shading to the old method used in DU v1.6 and earlier.

March 2011      Separate Time Windows

The previous Time Window has been split into two windows, Time Settings and Time Advance.

The Time Settings window is the same as the first tab group in the combined window. The Time Advance Window is slightly different and acts in a similar way to the Control Panel, in that changes are immediate and there are no Save nor Use buttons. If using Auto Advance or Realtime Update modes, screen re-drawing is disabled while the Time Advance Window is active, allowing the user to make changes even if the refresh time is fast.

May 2011      Misc Objects Windows

It is now possible to display the orbital parameters for objects in the "Selected Objects" list, previously you had to find the object in one of the many source files and click its entry in the left hand list. The windows for "Selected Objects" are read only and do not allow editing of the data.

It is now possible to open multiple Misc Object Edit or Read windows.

If data in one of the source files is changed, and the object is also one of the "Selected Objects" the data applying to the selected object is automatically updated.

November 2011      Image Display

Digital Universe has always been able to use any image viewer to display images from the help files. The user had to modify an AmigaDOS script called showpic to do this. The script was initially set to use Multiview.

Now the installer will scan a list of available viewers and you can elect to use any of those you have installed. As these are third party applications only Multiview is guaranteed to show on the list and is the default choice.

The image shows Digtal Universe using picshow to display its images. This has advantages over using Multiview such as image resizing, showing an image in negative (useful for deep sky images) and other options. Pressing the Help key will display picshow's keyboard shortcuts.

December 2011      Display Settings

Added an option to hide stars, and deep sky objects that are below the horizon.
Grid lines, constellation names and planets are still shown.

January 2012      New Pointers

Digital Universe can now use 32 bit pointers. If you wish to use the old planar pointers then delete or preferably just rename the Pointers drawer within the Digital Universe directory.

If using the 32 bit pointers there is an additional 'Found' pointer to temporarily highlight an object searched for in one of the Find Windows.

Late 2012      Splash Window

When starting Digital Universe a splash window appears on the Workbench screen, informing the user that the programme is running whilst pre-loading data which causes a brief pause. The pause will be slightly longer if the user has installed the optional Extra Large planetary feature maps.