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Planet Generator for Macintosh

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One of my hobbies since college has been creating and using computer programs randomly generate planets and solar systems. A couple years back, I came across a fractal planet generator that worked a good deal better than my best one. It was written by Torben Ægidius Mogensen of Denmark. For a couple of years, I used his program, my own and occassionally one or two others to create images of planets. After a while, I decided that the only thing I liked better about my own than his was the color scheme and the fact that mine generated a different format of graphics file, one that I had fewer problems converting to something displayable on a Macintosh. I adapted my color scheme and XPM output code to his program and abandoned my own program.

After adding my code to a couple of different releases of Mogensen's program, I contacted him and proposed a bit of a colaboration. He's agreed to add my code as options to his program, and I said I'd be willing to maintain and distribute the Mac version and here we are. Never the one to leave well enough alone, since we agreed to merge our code, I've added another feature, a "Martian" coloring scheme. Most of the work is his and he should get the credit.

Sample Images

Here are a couple of sample images showing the various coloring schemes. They are all images of the same basic planet, tilted 45% towards the viewer. The Mollweide projection at the top of this page is of the same planet. The earth-like images all use an option which takes both latitude and altitude into account so as to create an ice cap. The bumpmap image is a JPEG, since the bitmap requires 24-bit color.

Mogensen's original color scheme

Mogensen's scheme with
bumpmap shading

My color scheme

My Martian color scheme

The Macintosh version

You can download the Macintosh version here. Currently there are two files. Both contain PPC and 68K versions of Planet and documentation in HTML format for both Netscape and Internet Explorer. One is a StuffIt file in binary format. The other is in MacBinary format. Pick one:
  • Planet.sit This is the 233K StuffIt version.
  • Planet.hqx This is a 316K MacBinary file. If you have trouble accessing the .sit, try thus one.

Planet68 is, naturally enough, the older 68K version of the program. The current release is version 1.0b1, and it's 168K on disk. It runs in 1500 K Bytes.

Planet is the Power PC version of the program and is, of course, much much faster. The current release is version 1.0b1, and it's 156K on disk. It runs in 1500 K Bytes.


Updated: Tuesday, July 15, 2008
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