2D Graphics Coursework – Solar System Simulation now on Windows 8

Solar System Simulation on Windows 8 - Elliptical Mode with Trajectories on

Before Christmas I submitted my Assessed Coursework for my 2D Graphics and User Interface Design module, a  2D Orrery (or Solar System Simulation in laymen terms) using the HTML 5 Canvas Tag and associated JavaScript API’s. I think I did pretty well, as I implemented every feature outlined by the specification to, what I feel, was a high standard.

6 days after the hand in date my friends Rob, James and I went to ‘Appy Christmas, an event set up by Microsoft to encourage the development of Windows 8 app in the holiday period. Whilst there I ported my application from a browser based webpage to a fully featured WinJS Windows 8 application. When I told my lecturer, Dr. David Parker about it he seemed interested in the ease of the porting experience, so I shall outline it here.

  • I added all my “Business Code” and classes by just adding the .js files to the solution
  • I edited the HTML page to make it fit better, as scrolling pages don’t look great in apps — all of the Windows 8 style came for free with no work

And that was it! At this point the application worked, however it wasn’t very touch friendly and the Koch Snowflake fractal algorithm would lag on some lower powered arm devices, including the Microsoft Surface RT, so I made the following enhancements

  • Lowered the amount of iterations my fractal function went through, lowering the computational power required
  • Added an “App Bar” to hold buttons which controlled all of the functions — the coursework spec asked that all functions were called using keyboard input, so this made it much more usable on a touch screen
  • Added support for the share charm. When you press it a bitmap image is created from the canvas and sent to whatever application you chose.

If you want to play with the application now, you can do so by downloading it from the Windows store here.

Below you can see some screenshots of the application in action.

I hope you enjoy using the solar system.

Danny

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