Planet Creator Release

Community Forums/Showcase/Planet Creator Release

Krischan(Posted 2012) [#1]

I present you the release version 1.0 of my current project. With Planet Creator, a free piece of software (check License.txt), you can create your own planets on the fly now. You can create wallpapers, fly around or create whole texture sets for your own 3D scene or other programs like Celestia. It is written in BlitzMax, uses the modules "MiniB3D" and "MaxGUI" and comes with the FULL source.


Download latest version from Google Code

Last edited 2012

shinkiro1(Posted 2012) [#2]
I've waited for this. Awesome!
Downloading now.


As seen on the picture there is a black gap between the planet and the outer border.
Also could that border be antialiased?

Other than that, I have to say I'm really impressed.
Thanks, for giving it away for free. Very generous of you.

Last edited 2012

Krischan(Posted 2012) [#3]
Which graphics card do you have? Did you install the latest drivers for it? Here on my three year old laptop everything runs fine, even with antialias.

therevills(Posted 2012) [#4]
I get an error on startup, the GUI loads but then I get an "EXCEPTION_ACCESS_VIOLATION".

Krischan(Posted 2012) [#5]
Did you execute the tools/convertmaps.exe first before the first run? By the way, I moved the whole package including all maps to Google Code now so I don't care about bandwith anymore.

therevills(Posted 2012) [#6]
Yep, that fixed it... Readmes? Who reads readmes!? ;)

Instead of just crashing display a runtime error stating the user should run the tool.

Another suggestion is to add a feature to allow you to alter the "palette.ini" and "presets.ini" inside the application itself.

Krischan(Posted 2012) [#7]
Hey this is version 1.0 and a Windows App, what do you expect? :-p

shinkiro1(Posted 2012) [#8]
Tested it on a iMac 21,5', 2011 model.
Gfx card: AMD Radeon HD 6750M 512 MB

And yes drivers are up to data (as the os takes care for you)

Krischan(Posted 2012) [#9]
I tested it on 4 different systems:

- nVidia 9600M on x64 W7 Professional
- nVidia 360M on x64 W7 Home
- nVidia Quadro NVS 140M on x32 XP Professional
- Intel GMA 945 on x32 XP Professional

And it works flawless from the start on every system - so I don't think it is a general problem of the App (beside that it uses the newest miniB3D version). Did you run it in a VM? Or it could be an Ati related OpenGL issue, but I don't have an Ati system around here as I only use nVidia in the last years.

If you want to hunt for the bug here is a hint from me - my App uses 5 identical spheres with the same size at the same position (in the TPlanet Create Method), to get the blend effect without shaders I used this trick. Perhaps the spheres or only one of them must be scaled different here, only a little bit. To me, it looks like a sphere render error, the planet itself and the milkyway backround looks ok so far.

Armitage 1982(Posted 2012) [#10]
Waw it's awesome !!
Great shadow on rings.

Run perfectly on my machine by the way.

One cool addition would be using uniform triangles to create the sphere rather than quad. That way with the adequate mapping you would not have shadow/texture stretch at poles.

Blitzplotter(Posted 2012) [#11]
This truly looks awesome, will try at the weekend.

fsoft(Posted 2012) [#12]
This looks great. Is there any Linux version available?

blackgecko(Posted 2012) [#13]
@fsoft: Compile it from source - The Download is an self-extracting archive which can be extracted with 7-zip.
It has some bugs on Linux but I'm sure they are Maxgui-related.
Great App!!!

Captain Wicker (crazy hillbilly)(Posted 2012) [#14]
LOVE THIS APP!!!!!!!!!

Captain Wicker (crazy hillbilly)(Posted 2012) [#15]
I've taken the liberty of helping you out here.
Here is a pre-compiled zip file of your Planet Creator 1.0 for MacOSX :)

Richard Betson(Posted 2012) [#16]

But I get an all black screenshot.

This is just so cool and it will fit with my Phoenix SS project ( ) like a glove. Just great stuff.

Now if I can just figure out why I am getting all black screenshots.

- Rich -

System specs below.


I still can't get it to save the screenshot but I did screen capture the window and re-sized it. Here's a pic of a planet in my Phoenix SS game.

Last edited 2012

Krischan(Posted 2012) [#17]
You could try to save the canvas only but you need to modify the sourcecode below "Case EVENT_GADGETACTION" a little bit. To get higher screenshot resolutions than the current window size I needed to use a trick, resizing the canvas temporary to a larger resolution, grab'n'save it and resize it back again. Perhaps this doesn't work in all cases.

Anyway, here is a compiled EXE with the change applied, if this doesn't work you should hunt the error in your system as it only saves the unresized canvas now:

Download EXE

Richard Betson(Posted 2012) [#18]
Hi Christian,

Well, it is saving the the screenshot, but at a resolution of 1213 x 637 no mater what screenshot size (resolution) I select. So 1024 x 768 is saved as 1213 x 637 for example.

I'll look the code over tonight when I get back.

- Rich -

Richard Betson(Posted 2012) [#19]
Hi Christian,

I am pretty sure that in BlitzMax you can only apply GrabPixMap() to the current display resolution and display buffer. So if i had a current display resolution of 1366 x 768 the maximum size for GrabPixmap() would be 1366 x 768 or GrabPixmap(1,1,1366,768). It has been a while since I have dealt with this issue but I think it still applies.

I will look around the forums and see if there is a workaround, or maybe someone out there has some insight.

- Rich -

Last edited 2012

Richard Betson(Posted 2012) [#20]
Hi Christian,

This fixes the problem. It was an issue with the panels and canvas. The panel is a client to the canvas and therefore the panel must be re-sized instead of the canvas. It now saves screenshots at all the resolutions listed. So I guess you can grab pixels out of the display buffer area after all.

There is also one other issue. I added an extra render and flip. For some reason it will not work with just the one render and flip. I added it suspecting that the render time was to long or out of sync. I am still not sure exactly why this is needed.

BTW, what installer are you using?

- Rich -

Edit - It is just the extra flip that is needed. Still not sure why.

Last edited 2012

Last edited 2012

Krischan(Posted 2012) [#21]
Richard, it works fine and I added a "patch" to the Google Code page.

Some background information to the screenshot function: I had to find a solution to make a screenshot larger than the current window size. My notebook has a resolution of 1280x800 but I needed a screenshot for a Desktop with HD resolution and that's why I coded this strange workaround with SetVirtualResolution and hide/grab/show the canvas. I didn't test this very much as it seemed to work fine here (and on other systems, too).

Here is the very nice wallpaper of Saturn in HD resolution: Saturn.jpg

The installer is a simple 7zip SFX archive, very simple. 7zip. I only add the files/folder, check the box for SFX and that's it.

The extra flip is strange, I don't need it here. Could be a system specific error? Driver issue?

Last edited 2012

Richard Betson(Posted 2012) [#22]
Hi Christian,

Very cool Saturn pic and I was just interested in the installer because I am in need of one.

I would like to add some features and add this as part of my Phoenix SS project. I will maintain a Phoenix SS version here, as well on my other Phoenix SS sites, if that is OK with you. I will of course maintain links to your project page and web page (do you have a web page?) and keep in line with your license.

I can not tell you how on-time and on-task this app is for my project. Just awesome. :D

- Rich -

Last edited 2012

Sung(Posted 2012) [#23]
Fantastic Krischan,
it makes me a lot of fun to play with the creator. Sell it to NASA :)

misth(Posted 2013) [#24]
This is awesome!

But for some reason, I get these annoying artifacts on the planet texture....

Krischan(Posted 2013) [#25]
Hmm this looks like the detail texture (and the rings texture, too) is not scaled correctly, never saw this before in Planet Creator. Did you try a different / newer graphics driver? Planet Creator uses miniB3D which uses OpenGL.

misth(Posted 2013) [#26]
I'm currently installing new drivers. Seems like I haven't done it before...
Gonna update this post after I'm done testing.

NOW it works perfectly! Thank you so much! Never thought about driver issues... Thanks!! :)

Just linking the image, since this page is full of them already:

Krischan(Posted 2013) [#27]
Ah glad to hear that. Have fun with it :-)

Who was John Galt?(Posted 2013) [#28]
Amazing work, Krischan. Thanks very much for sharing.

DjBigWorm(Posted 2013) [#29]
I had a go at this must say super good stuff. I tried the screen shot
and all it saved were black images?

Also can you add a way to make the background a single color. That way when it is screen captured the background can be remove for easy overlays.

Thanks and keep up the good work!

Richard Betson(Posted 2013) [#30]
I actually modified the code with an option on the toolbar for a black background. I'll dig it up if needed. Planet creator rocks it.

Krischan(Posted 2013) [#31]
DJ: did you apply the Patch001 at the Google Code Downloads page - or look at the Posts #17-#20 here in this thread?


For the background: no at the moment I don't plan any updates for it but it should work this way. Just add these two lines before the main loop, this should give a violet background, you must only hide the infos and the minimap in the icon bar and save the screenshot.

CameraClsColor Camera,255,0,255
HideEntity Milkyway

DjBigWorm(Posted 2013) [#32]

Ahh Works Perfect thanks for the fast responce!!

@Richard Betson
Thanks for the offer, but this will work I think.

Thanks again you two

misth(Posted 2013) [#33]
Richard or DjBigWorm,

I'd like to have that version also compiled! I don't have BMax so I can't compile it myself... *sadface*


DjBigWorm(Posted 2013) [#34]
@ misth or anyone else interested
(If its Ok with Krischan)
I Can Put it in a dropbox for you.
With Krischan's Permission of course.

Krischan(Posted 2013) [#35]
You don't need my permission, only check the License.txt :-) Anyway, I added the feature to Patch 002 on my own which can be found at the Planet Creator Download Page now.

You can choose between three different background colors now and it is easy to switch the galaxy background and the colors from two new icons at the toolbar or just use the new keyboard shortcuts "B" and "U" :-D

Steve Elliott(Posted 2013) [#36]
Nice piece of work :)

Krischan(Posted 2013) [#37]
Just a "small" update - I've decided to post my current state of work of my Planet Creator progress. I started again from the scratch for a new project I'm working on - this time a whole game (don't ask me about this as it is in a very early state - yes, it will be in space). It's just an unoptimized tech demo and I'll use the experience I've learned from this in my game - so don't expect too much. Again, only Blitzmax+MiniB3Ds last version.

- simulated seamless space to surface transition
- uses normal maps for more detail
- adaptive scale (solarsystem->planet surface)
- four different templates (Earth, Mars, Moon and Jupiter)
- all source, maps and textures included
- a tool to convert existing normal maps to detail maps used there
- a tool to create realistic planet surfaces using surface textures

I think the last one is the most important piece of code inside the archive as the textures really look stunning and detail-rich, I've spent a lot of time on this algorithm. Feel free to use the source in your own projects. I really would love to have a seamless subdivided planet in future but for my project I'm happy with this state. Perhaps anybody of you could write some code which doesn't need shaders using my project as a base.

Use Mouse and Arrows to move around, some keys have functions:
SPACE = Wireframe switch
V = VSYNC switch
I = Infos switch
M = Minimap switch
L = Planet Lighting switch
A = Atmosphere switch
G = Glow switch
C = Cloud switch
Right SHIFT = speedup

Download: PlanetCreatorWorx (100MB 7zip SFX Executable)


And just a shot from the new project's starmap WIP, procedurally generated, I really like the "Mousehead Nebula" from the current seed ;-)

MCP(Posted 2013) [#38]
Great program. I love the space to planet surface transition. :)

Wiebo(Posted 2013) [#39]

Jon Pool(Posted 2013) [#40]
Hello Krischan.
Before, I downloaded your solar system app and I thought it was very cool.
I want to know if you have ever looked into the expanding earth theory.(you prob have)
anyway your new app look very cool also.

Mainsworthy(Posted 2013) [#41]
Good app to get my graphics for spacegames thanks.

Santiworld(Posted 2016) [#42]


Krischan(Posted 2016) [#43]
Thanks, but this one is outdated. You should check out the newer one which I didn't develop further yet but will include parts of it into my space game:

Temperate Planet Post, Video + Demo

And there are many, many more things to come I didn't release yet. Some WIP teasers:

A much more detailed milkyway background

Pseudorealistic star systems

Advanced planet texture creation

Rover exploration

Molten planet surface

3rd person view

RemiD(Posted 2016) [#44]
@Krischan>>Nice renders ! Especially the one with the terrain and the lava and the sun. Very good !

RustyKristi(Posted 2016) [#45]
Amazing work Krischan. I think you can match Outerra's tech or at least near what they have done.

They licensed their planet creator to the military. search for Outerra in youtube, you can also try the standard edition for free

Krischan(Posted 2016) [#46]
Thanks. The lava scene was the hardest part as I'm using no shaders here. But it really looks like it is very hot there. It is done with clever blending of two textures and fog/vertex colors.

Outerra is a nice engine but in a game I don't see any sense in such large planets beside the cool space to surface landing transition effect. For a game, a planet must be much smaller than in reality or you only play at a specific location. I'll go for the second one and for both scenarios I don't need a engine like Outerra. I thought about creating an effect like that but I want to finish the game before I'm getting too old for that.

But there is so much work to do.

Blitzplotter(Posted 2016) [#47]
Very impressive work, visually stunning and quite something to see :-D

Hardcoal(Posted 2016) [#48]
Indeed , great work..

Xilvan(Posted 2016) [#49]
This project looks wonderful...
Starmap project looks

Hope it will continue
to amaze us...

Krischan(Posted 2016) [#50]
Yes it will. Currently I'm setting up a new Blog where I'll summarize my previous work and to inform you about the progress. At the moment all the Information is spread over several threads and posts here, that's a total mess. There will be a lot of Information, Screenshots, Videos and executable Downloads.

angros47(Posted 2016) [#51]
From what I see you are using equirectangular textures now, aren't you?.

Krischan(Posted 2016) [#52]
No, I'm creating a cubemap and calculate a spherical map (or equirectangular if you want) from this cubemap on the fly. I described the process in detail here.

The spherical map ist only for the map survey and visualization of the player's position as seen in the upper left corner of the molten planet screenshot.