Strange planet names

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Gibbon
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Strange planet names

Post by Gibbon »

I was reading an article in the Guardian from 2003 about Elite i found on Ian Bell's homepage. Firstly i'd like to know if Oolite is a port of Elite at any point or is it created from the ground up? The reason i ask this is simple, the Fibonacci sequence.

This for those wondering what i'm on about is the mathematical sequence used to create the galaxies, planets and also their names amongst other things in Elite. Which brings me to the more important point. When Bell & Braben were making Elite, they were very careful no swear words got into the planet names for obvious reasons.

Now after reading the article it's obvious one slipped through, i of course am talking about the legendary, Planet Arse. In the BBC version it existed, no question about that, so i'm wondering, is it in Oolite? If so where? This is why i'm wondering if it's a port as the Fibonacci sequence is surely used in Oolite as well?

Here's the article just in case you all think i've gone mad.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2003/oc ... es.weekend

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Re: Strange planet names

Post by another_commander »

Not sure why this is PC port (Windows) specific. Moved to Discussion.

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Re: Strange planet names

Post by Fatleaf »

Well, there is a planet named Rear. And it is scourged by an evil disease! :shock:
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Re: Strange planet names

Post by Phantom Hoover »

My understanding is that planet Arse was one of the examples of names that caused the galaxy they were in to be scrapped, not one that slipped under the radar. My (brief) sourcedives strongly indicate that Oolite's RNG is a precise recreation of the original, and I'm sure this has been confirmed elsewhere.

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Re: Strange planet names

Post by CheeseRedux »

Gibbon wrote:... i'm wondering, is it in Oolite? If so where? This is why i'm wondering if it's a port as the Fibonacci sequence is surely used in Oolite as well?
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Re: Strange planet names

Post by Commander McLane »

Gibbon wrote:I was reading an article in the Guardian from 2003 about Elite i found on Ian Bell's homepage. Firstly i'd like to know if Oolite is a port of Elite at any point or is it created from the ground up? The reason i ask this is simple, the Fibonacci sequence.
First, there is no Fibonacci sequence, and there never was. The galaxies are created pseudo-randomly from a seed which consists of six 8-bit integers. For the next galaxy these six integers are converted to six new integers. All information about each galaxy (position of planets, names, techlevel, inhabitants, short description; just everything you find on the F7-screen) is generated through algorithms. That was the only way to create eight galaxies with 2048 planets having only a couple of Kilobytes(!) of RAM. And because the six seed integers could be converted again and again, there is a virtually limitless number of galaxies. Using only eight was actually an artificial limitation on B&B's side.

The bottom line is: Elite used a sophisticated system of creating pseudo-random, just like a Fibonacci sequence would create pseudo-random, if you would only look at the last two digits of each number. The talk about the Fibonacci sequence is simply a comparison, in order to explain what Elite's seed mechanism does, but Elite didn't use the actual Fibonacci sequence.

Second, Oolite is a faithful re-creation of Elite in this respect. It uses the same seed values and the same algorithms, and therefore gets the same results as Elite. Only it does it in Objective-C. Here lies the answer to your question: Oolite was created from scratch by Aegidian (Giles Williams). It contains no actual content of any Elite version whatsoever (which would be important, if there ever would be a copyright infringement lawsuit; let's hope there never will be one, because it's doubtful whether the game would survive it anyway).

If you open any save-game with a text editor, you will somewhere find the line which contains the seed for your current galaxy, six integers between 0 and 255. And—for the planet names—if you open the file descriptions.plist inside Oolite.app/Contents/Resources/Config, you will somewhere find a long nonsensical string in allcaps, from which an algorithm extracts the actual planet names.
Gibbon wrote:This for those wondering what i'm on about is the mathematical sequence used to create the galaxies, planets and also their names amongst other things in Elite. Which brings me to the more important point. When Bell & Braben were making Elite, they were very careful no swear words got into the planet names for obvious reasons.

Now after reading the article it's obvious one slipped through, i of course am talking about the legendary, Planet Arse. In the BBC version it existed, no question about that, so i'm wondering, is it in Oolite?
Really? All I know about it is that B&B indeed checked the pseudo-randomly created galaxies for swear words, that they found a planet named 'Arse' in one galaxy, and decided to scrap that whole galaxy (they simply created another one; it's possible that they scrapped other galaxies for other reasons, perhaps for a bad distribution of planets). Thus planet Arse never existed in any version of Elite. And because Oolite is a faithful re-creation of Elite, it doesn't exist in Oolite as well.

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Re: Strange planet names

Post by Zieman »

I checked the Oolite Planet Lists in Elite Wiki: no planets named "Arse" in Oolite. In the list(s) I did find a grand total of 23 planet pairs that share same name (like Xeer, one in G1 & one in G7), of which one in same galaxy (2 Inzaans in G8).
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Re: Strange planet names

Post by JensAyton »

Phantom Hoover wrote:My (brief) sourcedives strongly indicate that Oolite's RNG is a precise recreation of the original, and I'm sure this has been confirmed elsewhere.
Yep, right down to performing sixteen-bit adds as a series of eight-bit instructions.
Commander McLane wrote:First, there is no Fibonacci sequence, and there never was. The galaxies are created pseudo-randomly from a seed which consists of six 8-bit integers.
I think you got that information from me… and I was wrongish. The algorithm is similar to the Fibonacci sequence, but it sums three sixteen-bit numbers (modulo 2¹⁶) for each step instead of two.

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Re: Strange planet names

Post by Gibbon »

Thanks for the flood of information guys. Still doesn't answer my question though. For anyone who bothered to read the article i posted, in that at least it clearly states it does exist and i quote,

"The reviews of the game were rapturous. The bulging boxes flew out of the shops. Evidence began to trickle back to Acornsoft that people were exploring the bottled universe more obsessively even than the publishers had dared to hope: for hour after hour, day after day, week after week. Word reached them that an intrepid explorer had, indeed, discovered a Planet Arse in one of the seven galaxies, which Bell and Braben hadn't checked for expletives."

Bearing in mind this is a quote from a newspaper and not from the horses mouth, doesn't mean it's true. It also means it could have slipped through the net as the reports clearly claim this happened after release. Would be amusing to encounter it for sure.

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Re: Strange planet names

Post by another_commander »

There was no such named planet in the original version (and almost certainly in any version). I question the validity of the information in the article quoted.

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Re: Strange planet names

Post by Disembodied »

Gibbon wrote:Thanks for the flood of information guys. Still doesn't answer my question though. For anyone who bothered to read the article i posted, in that at least it clearly states it does exist and i quote,

"The reviews of the game were rapturous. The bulging boxes flew out of the shops. Evidence began to trickle back to Acornsoft that people were exploring the bottled universe more obsessively even than the publishers had dared to hope: for hour after hour, day after day, week after week. Word reached them that an intrepid explorer had, indeed, discovered a Planet Arse in one of the seven galaxies, which Bell and Braben hadn't checked for expletives."

Bearing in mind this is a quote from a newspaper and not from the horses mouth, doesn't mean it's true. It also means it could have slipped through the net as the reports clearly claim this happened after release. Would be amusing to encounter it for sure.
"... one of the seven galaxies ..." – doesn't say much for standards of journalistic accuracy! :D It's not true: it might be true that there once was an untrue rumour, or perhaps the journalist created the rumour himself (knowingly or unknowingly), but the closest it got in Elite (or gets in Oolite) is the fabled Planet Rear in Galaxy 8.

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Re: Strange planet names

Post by Eric Walch »

Gibbon wrote:.... Still doesn't answer my question though. For anyone who bothered to read the article i posted, in that at least it clearly states it does exist.....
In this I would trust more the words of David Braben himself. In an interview with David from 2006 this subject is also mentioned. There he clearly stated the name was removed before the gave was presented to potential publishers:
David wrote:For instance, we threw away a whole galaxy because it had the word "arse" in it. The names were also random. When we took it to companies we were met with blank faces.

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Re: Strange planet names

Post by ClymAngus »

Gibbon wrote:For anyone who bothered to read the article i posted, in that at least it clearly states it does exist and i quote,

"The reviews of the game were rapturous. The bulging boxes flew out of the shops. Evidence began to trickle back to Acornsoft that people were exploring the bottled universe more obsessively even than the publishers had dared to hope: for hour after hour, day after day, week after week. Word reached them that an intrepid explorer had, indeed, discovered a Planet Arse in one of the seven galaxies, which Bell and Braben hadn't checked for expletives."
It's a good story. I would however applaud the person who asked Mr Francis Spufford, to quote his source on that. Reading through what your saying is galaxy 1 was checked and the others were not?

The thing that makes me sceptical is the lack of quotes round the "Juicy" titbit. As a side note; it is I'm sure accidental, (due to lack of inflection) but your coming across a little abruptly. A paranoid man might mistakenly assume a point scoring exercise was occurring, when it is of course not.

Maybe the statement would have been better put as a question, to avoid ambiguity.

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