Getting Started

MaxQ

Spaceflight Toolkit for Unreal Engine

MaxQ combines SPICE, powerful Toolkit developed by NASA, with Unreal Engine 5.

MaxQ brings to Unreal Engine:

  • C++ Spaceflight API
  • Blueprints Spaceflight API
    • 1-1 Parity with C++
  • Sample project that demonstrates Spaceflight API features

image example

What does MaxQ do?
MaxQ can solve a wide range of Space related problems, and utilize the results in Unreal Engine. This can be instrumental in building space-based gameplay. Or, hardnessed to create Cinematics of space missions or celestial events.

MaxQ:

  • Position and Orient Planets, Moons, Spacecraft
  • Create a mirror of reality, display the Solar System exactly as it stands now.
  • Or, pose the Solar System at any given time epoch.
  • Or, create a fictional solar system of Planets, Comets, Asteroids, etc.
  • Move objects based on past or predicted “Ephemeris Data” supplied by JPL.
    • Many complex systems and interactions have been modeled and captured by JPL etc.
    • Axial Precession, Astronomical Nutation, LaGrange points, Abberation due to light travel time can all be simulated.
  • Compute positions of objects in Near-Earth-Orbit based on NORAD “Two Line Element Sets” (TLEs)
    • Estimate trajectories as accurately as NORAD or JPL from within Unreal Engine
  • Animate objects in orbit using basic “conic” Orbital Elements.
  • Compute and display orbits of objects undergoing Rigidbody Physics.
  • Record motions and orientations of Unreal Physics Objects into Native SPICE kernel files.
  • Create celestial body meshes from NASA’s “DSK” Kernel data files.
  • Solve geometric problems in the space flight domain
    • When will an Eclipse happen?
    • What is the closest approach between two objects?
    • At what time will this object be in a field of view?
    • Where will this ray intersect a body’s surface?
    • Is this spacecraft in a shadow or in Sunlight?
    • Can this Spacecraft receive a signal? How long will it take the signal to arrive from here?

MaxQ exposes both a C++ API, and a blueprints API - with 1:1 parity between C++ and blueprints. All of the above are acheivable without writing any code, using MaxQ’s Unreal Engine blueprint actions.

MaxQ is powered by NASA’s SPICE toolkit, which is very well documented. Thankfully, Unreal Engine 5 users of the toolkit can readily find examples based on NASA’s SPICE as found on the NAIF website. The names of MaxQ Blueprint Actions are consistent with SPICE routines. This enables users to quickly find reference materials by searching the web or by reviewing documentation produced by NASA/JPL.

The toolkit is available in the form of an Unreal Engine C++ Project. This project builds the four key modules of the toolkit. Developers should have no trouble integrating the modules with their own projects.

The MaxQ spaceflight toolkit is available to Unreal Engine 5 developers under the MIT license, as of December 25, 2021. The generous MIT license allows anyone to use these tools free of charge for all projects, commercial or otherwise.

Still Didn’t Find Your Answer?

We’d love to hear from you, whether you’re looking for an answer
or just had a really good day and want to tell someone about it.

Reach Out