Modding, Mission Design, and Coding > Modding Tutorials

Planets! Tutorial for ingame planets.

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Many of you already seen the glorious in game system viewer, but that thing is pretty complex, everyone would think... "i would like something like that, but simpler for me to actually use it."

Recently I've been searching on the web, and accidentally stumbled upon an useful tool, and decided i could share it with you all!

Here i present you... Planets!

Here is a link to the demo MOD, containing all the files that will be needed and mentioned further:

Step 1. Generating a planets surface

All planets need unique surfaces, or else they're not fun at all. There is a very nice tool that allows us to generate us a surface map for the planet.

Link to the tool: (Its completely free, if asked what to do, save it and open with your browser or open in with your browser directly, whichever you feel better.)

After entering, you will face a menu like this:

with a map's preview bellow.

Seed is nothing more then a random generation key for your planet, just type in anything, or press the NEW button to generate a new random one. Planet's surfaces are generated randomly from the seed.

Procejction is nothing more then a way that map is represented, but for our needs here, we should stick with the square.

Pallete Here you'll decide the type of your planet. There are few pallets to choose from, but not all generate a effect we need. Pick the one you'll see fit for you planet.

% Water Just as the name. Percentage of water present on the map.

% Ice Just as the name. Percentage of ice present on the map. (mainly polar caps))

Height Maps file height. If you're using a planets model larger then i have provided, you can increase the number there, so the map fits your planets model.

Iterations To be honest, i don't know quite yet, but it seems that its another random factor... maybe you'll know better!

Rotate Center of the map. Map is moved left or right based on the given value.

After you're done, just click the Save as PNG button, and save the file to your hard drive. You will get a file looking like this:

Don't panic, this is nothing serious. Just rename the file to what you wish, and add a .png extension yourself, and it will work just fine:
Here we got our nice planet's surface map!

Step 2. Arrangement of the files, models.

For this step, you'll need a PCS2 which can be found at the forums here pretty easily. You will also need a planet's model file. If you don't have one, take one from the demo I've provided above.

Place your new map texture in the maps folder. (i won't explain the FS2 mods folder structure here now, i guess everyone knows where things supposed to go.)  Open up your model with PCS2, add your texture, and save it, also remember to create table entries for your planet's model. (Also provided with the demo).

Step 3. Profit

Now all that remains to do, is to launch FRED, and place down your new pretty planet on the mission. Might scroll back a little since that thing is huge.

If you want to have more planets present, just generate yourself more maps, and use the texture replacement option. Voila!


Where is this useful? You can make yourselves cutscenes, featuring planets, and maybe fleet movements between them, player movement between them? That's my idea, but well... i leave the doors of imagination open.

But just to have an idea about what sizes we are talking about, a screenshot of planet and an Orion.

I hope that tutorial wasn't just a waste of time, i hope this will be usefull for just anybody :) Have fun.

P.S. I know, the maps aren't the best quality, but well... what can you expect from a free fractal generator? Its basic stuff.

Very cool, and looks relatively painless as well. Will be interesting to see what people will come up with using it.

I just found out that link to the generation tool, was broken. It is fixed now.

Uhm, interesting, downloading to check   :yes:

Quality could be a lot higher if we add clouds.


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