MojoWorld is a most remarkable new program. The critical stats:

Developed by Dr. F. Kenton "Doc Mojo" Musgrave, it's interesting because it lets you explore virtual worlds. The associated company is Pandromeda.

/me pauses and considers.

Wow, that sounds incredibly staid. They've been promising that for years. Why is this interesting?

Well, it's interesting for what it isn't. It's not networked, and it makes no promise of being some sort of interactive 3d chat program.

It does just one thing - rendering planets - and it does it well. It's got atmospherics, moons, and water. Unlike Bryce, it isn't a plain heightfield based landscape. When you zoom out, it becomes spherical. When you zoom in, it generates detail using fractals so that you don't have to (as in Bryce) generate huge height fields to get good close-up detail.

MojoWorld comes in two varieties: MojoWorld Transporter and MojoWorld Generator.

Transport is available free off the website (www.pandromeda.com; for Mac and Win), although for $25 you can upgrade it to allow rendering of arbitrary image sizes. The upgrade also removes the Pandromeda logo that the free version stamps in the corner of all renders. It's equivalent to the viewer app - you can look at any world in Transport, but the creation abilities are limited to 4 sliders and some time controls.

Generator is available for $249 bucks, and it allows you to get far deeper into the depths of MojoWorld - you can actually edit the fractals that define the world with it (either graphically, or in a direct mathematical sense). If you go to the gallery on the Pandromeda site, you can see some of the possibilities with Generator - there's a _lot_ of variety out there.

Both programs support rendering stills, movies, or QTVR Panoramas. They both also feature a unique and interesting GUI - according to interviews, it's dynamically generated based on published interfaces from loaded modules. I can't say anything on the dynamic aspect of it, but I can say that it's one of the most intuitive and pretty UIs I've ever seen.

The entire program is component-based, including the default capabilities - Pandromeda is planning to release the SDK to develop components at some point in the future. No doubt there will be networking components to integrate it into a virtual world, as well as rendering components to add new abilities - plant life is one they did mention as being on the horizon.

Our goal is the construction of cyberspace: the realistic place that exists only in your computer, where you will ultimately go to access all the data on all the world’s computers. MojoWorld 1.0 Near Space models a single planet. Later versions will model solar systems, galaxies and nebulae, clusters of galaxies and an entire synthetic universe.

-- From the Pandromeda website

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