I'm turning this into a Dev Blog type thread. People like that kind of stuff.Fun with Backgrounds
I have a love-hate relationship with backgrounds. I love looking at them, who knew coloured clouds of gas would look so nice. But I hate making them, especially with FRED's painful "1 degree at a time" placement. So its no surprise that I like to spend the least amount of effort as possible on backgrounds. For JAD3, I just ran each mission through a random background generator and the results were... good enough. There was no semblance of artistic vision, it was just random nebula backgrounds, which is what I would probably just do anyway! Since these were the days before Lightspeed's nebulas were a normal addition to the mediavps, I was just dealing with either Volition's backgrounds, or the slightly touched up ones that were in the Mediavps. It didn't help matters anyway.Even the new Arcadia cannot save this picture being a travesty
For Vassago, seeing as the campaign took place in Capella, I just took a background from a mediavp upgraded mission that takes place in Capella. It was pretty sparse though, but I didn't want to waste time with them. I like a background that you can see from any angle you're viewing it from. It may be less "real" but it helps build a familiarness to a region of space, and it can help see ships that are far off in the distance (even though the low poly-ness can hurt that). Then I got a slightly "fuller" background from someone on IRC (I forget who!), and the only thing I changed were the bright orange-red nebulas to a not as bright tan. The more desaturated scheme, with that small batch of red, fit will with the campaign.The Arcadia looking slightly better here... Can we do better?
So now we're in JAD2.21. As I was building the first mission, which was like a FreeSpace remake of the beginning of Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0. I sort of had to make a new background as a result. So I went with a just using the nice bright blue nebula backgrounds, scaling some of the simpler ones up high so they would be a good background to the other more detail backgrounds. And it worked pretty nicely. So nice, that I decided to use it as the primary background for the FRED Knossos system.Better... better...
But it wasn't perfect yet! I still felt the background could be better, needed to be brightened up a bit. I had already released JAD2.21, but I could get away with slightly retconning the background a bit. Well, I was getting a little annoyed with how I could see the fuzzy pixellated edges on some of the highly scaled bitmaps. So I decided to try my hand at using Spacescape. It took a bit of tinkering with, but I finally was able to get something that had the same color scheme as the original bitmaps. No, thank YOU, eyedropper tool. The only problem was that I didn't like how Spacescape did stars. I liked Herra's starfields so much more.
Luckily, I knew that without an alpha channel, skybox textures render additively. Thus it was just a simple matter of taking the skybox from another model and making it into a subobject of my main colourful nebula. I loved the result so much, it was a no-brainer to make the switch.Ah, there we go!
Thinking about nice skyboxes made me think of the first mission again. The first mission takes place at the Beta Prime Research Facility, which is supposed to be in another system (Cause like the 4th Beta Tester jumped in from there!). What to replace it with? Sins of a Solar Empire had very beautiful skyboxes that I had been eyeing for quite sometime.Welcome to the hell system!
In fact, I had already nabbed the skybox files and even had a skybox model that would show the graphics properly. Their skybox files are mapped really weird, so when I showed one to Herra them. SO crazy that he did some magic stuff to it that better utilized the mapping space and filesize, while sacrificing very little quality. BP: Tenebra was going to use a recolored version as the background to the Jupiter mission before I thought the majestic clouds were a little too visible for a gas giant. So things went full circle for a bit and I thought the original was perfect for the Beta Experimentation Testing/Analysis Zone System. So in the next big release, you'll be seeing that in the first mission!Oh and this one, you'll be going here next time Holley goes shopping.
Gee Axem, are you just teasing us with all your pretty pictures? Are you just hoarding them?!
How dare you, good sir! Why, I had this nice package of 3 skyboxes to share! Now I'm hurt. Nah, I can't stay mad at you.Axem's Skybox Pack 1!
- Includes Bright Blue, Bright Green and Blood Red skyboxes.
Bright Blue and Bright Green skybox textures made by Axem
Starfield textures made by Herra Tohtori
Blood Red skybox texture from Sins of a Solar Empire, modified by Herra Tohtori.
Note: The Bright Blue and Blood Red Skyboxes use the mediavp starfield (starfield0001, included in the download), while the Bright Green skybox uses the Blue Planet skybox textures (SBTOP etc etc). The Blue Planet skybox is a lot more dense with stars, so you may like it more or less. You can use PCS to edit the skybox textures if you want something a little different.