Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 19

Trail building in the mountains, through the land of the giants.

The trail making is complete! Now I can focus on other matters like additional exhibits, what and how to tell about each point of interest.  

But simply providing information isn't the park's purpose. Libraries, museums, and the internet already serve that need.  My overall goal is to engage people's imaginations and convey a sense of how vast and interesting our local neighborhood of planets and rocks and comets really is. Oh, and that nearby star that we're orbiting.

Uranus and the moons Miranda and Ariel.

I've added locating beams to make it easy to see where the moons of a planet are. Most are small and difficult to see in relation to the planet they orbit. The beams can be turned on and off by touching a control on the ground - which appears as an unlabeled cone as this is still in the testing stage. This also solves my problem with the two moons of Mars. They're too small to see but the beams do a good job of showing their locations and motion.

 A view from the observatory.

No base jumping off the deck. Don't people realize how dangerous that kind of thing is? Especially with the ocean below. And there may be sharks - or pirates (and if you do, please send pictures).

An exhibit currently under construction which intends to show how gravity shapes the paths of objects. (video link)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 12

A view from Earth. I've added a deck on the cliff side of the observatory and have the walking trail half complete.  Also I've begun adding orbiting moons to the planets which have them. There isn't room in the sim to space them all at the correct distances, but their sizes and periods of orbits will be right for the scale I'm using. I haven't decided what to do about the moons of Mars as they would be too small to be seen. Perhaps some circles and arrows which would appear on command as part of the informational display.

 An alternate planet walk.

The above is a fully to scale planet walk I'm working on high in the sky. The sun is shown on the far left and each line across the walkway represents the orbit of a planet. The inner planets look cozily spaced but with the sun at 0.1 meters in diameter, Neptune is some 300 meters distant. Its a long walk. The vertical white bars are an animated texture which represent the speed of light. Its slower than you might think - taking three minutes just to reach Mercury. I'm still tinkering with this exhibit and I've just had an idea for making it better. So I'll be taking it apart and rebuilding.  Yay.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 5

I'm pleased with how things are going and the terraforming of the island is almost done - unless I have another idea about it.

On the outer solar system part of the trail.

Inspecting Saturn.

Now I can turn my focus to the exhibits and landscaping details.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Day 1

I've had the honor of being selected as one of the Artists-in-Residence for Round Five of the Linden Endowment for the Arts program. I and nineteen others each have a sim and four months to build our projects.

The blank page.

 My choice is an educational project which focuses on the planets of our solar system. The basic idea is a planet walk located on an island, with a spiral path leading up and out and passing scale models of each of the planets. Each stop along the path will have an interactive informational thingamy (still being imagined) and the path will end at an observatory on highest point on the island.

Round Five runs from August 1st through December 31st. So I'm all about astronomy for the rest of the year. My interest going out in the yard with a telescope waxes and wanes (it especially wanes when its -30C outside) but its been a life long interest.

Hills, stuff, the smell of fresh prims!

 I claimed the sim last night and brought out the bulldozers to start shaping the island and made a great deal of progress - mainly because I found it hard to stop and go to bed when I should have.

I intend to post weekly updates here on how things are progressing and hope to finish the first phase of building and have the official opening in September. But I have ideas beyond the basic planet walk so I'll be adding things throughout the course of the project.