Phobos Settlement

Phobos Settlement is a 3D graphical application that serves to demonstrate various 3D mathematics and techniques. The scene takes place on the surface of Phobos – one of Mars’ two irregular moons – using a skybox generated with SpaceEngine and multiple NASA 3D models.

Procedural Animation

The scene is constructed using Hieroglyph’s hierarchical scene graph, animated using simple procedural animation. The satellite dishes in particular exploit the hierarchical properties to “point at” an object above – the dish is attached to the stand, which is attached to the base. The stand’s yaw rotations towards the object are inherited by the dish, which then performs an additional pitch to lock on to the target.

The entire scene is lit with a single rotating point light using the blinn-phong reflection model. The ground makes use of a normal map to create the illusion of depth on the craters.


On the right hand side of the screen, there is a custom 2D GUI panel with buttons, sliders and a checkbox to adjust some camera and scene properties. The “Launch!” button starts a countdown sequence which will cause the shuttle to close its latches and take-off!

The timescale can be adjusted to slow down or completely stop all animation in the scene. The checkbox can be toggled to reveal additional scene information on the left side of the screen.