I am looking for some Star System and/or Galaxy modelling/procedural generation software for a project.

I am primarily interested in the properties of the generated bodies -- graphical output is a nice-to-have.

Stargen is the closest I have found, but as it is based on 70's-era astrophysics AFAICT (the core accretion model), so its model is missing some modern nuances informed by the discovery of exoplanets. And it models star systems, not galaxies.

The heavy-hitters in the field seem to be Arepo (~2009), StarBurst (~2005) and Athena (~2012) which are designed to run on super-computers and are sadly beyond my budget & timescale ;)

What I am looking for is something inbetween;

  • that uses more modern astrophysics models
  • can run on consumer hardware
  • Unix-like or Win OS
  • open-source

Recommends for both galaxy and star system generators most welcome!

1 Answer 1


In my own searching for a detailed planetary level generator I have found a number of Solar System and Galatic scale generators (and a few planetary ones, but not yet quite what I need). I present a short list:

StarGen tends towards the scientific, though perhaps not the detailed accuracy you are looking for.

Grand Designer Seems more artistic and game designer oriented, than anything to do with science. Also, not open source. Very pretty results, however.

Space Engine also leans towards the realistic and is open source. Designed to display real known systems, and to use procedural generation for systems for which data is not known. This one also includes galactic scale.

If you are willing to work, or know someone that can code, the Virtual Terrain Project has some tools that might be able to be applied to or modified for your project.

All of the above (and more I didn't include as they did not include the scale you wanted) will run on consumer machines of either Win or *nix variants.

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