Did you see the Orion Meteor Shower last weekend? It was absolutely beautiful. Watching the night sky is a wonderful opportunity to learn about astronomy, but we don't always get to drive away from light pollution or get an astronomer to explain what's going on. The app Stargazer allows you to watch and learn the beautiful night sky anywhere, anytime.
What it does
Our project is an iOS VR app built with Unity. By viewing their phone through Google Cardboard, users can observe an artistic representation of that day's night sky. The app shows constellations, star names, star properties, and interesting astronomy facts when user focus on a particular star. Stargazer creates an enjoyable learning experience for anyone interested in astronomy!
How We built it
We used Unity2017 Game Engine for the overall design. For the background, We used the Sky Nest Skybox by NinjiaPretzel on Unity Asset Store. To build the scene and user interaction, we used assets from Google Virtual Reality SDK 1.7&0.6 and wrote custom C# programs. Star facts come from Wikipedia and background music is Claude Debussy's Moonlight. In the end, we generated an Xcode project from unity and exported it to iPhone.
Challenges We ran into
- We are two freshmen with nearly no experience of VR app development. It took us some time to learn.
- Different versions of SDK and iOS often cause errors, and we switched many versions to debug this.
- Unity and Xcode crashed multiple times.
Accomplishments that We're proud of
We finished in 12 hours and had a lot of fun with virtual reality!
What We learned
We learnt to use Unity, to write C# programs, and to use GVR SDK.
What's next for Stargazer
Integrate APIs that provide real-time location of different stars to render the sky more accurately.