Author Topic: Celestial Objects Thread  (Read 212497 times)

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Offline blowfish

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
What happened last time when somebody tried to use actual modeled planets?
That would take care of the lighting and shadow - the only problematic area I see is the air coronas. Putting them into the skybox would also solve the scaling issues and make them render after everything else.

It wouldn't take care of shadow as FSO has no shadows (yet).  Only lighting.  Atmosphere could be a problem, but there's also the fact that unless you make the model really high-poly, it is easy to see the edges and know that it is not round (just look at the Earth model from inferno in the last mission :rolleyes: ).  There's also the fact that with a skybox, you couldn't scale the planet and you would be stuck with whatever size it was.

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
What happened last time when somebody tried to use actual modeled planets?
That would take care of the lighting and shadow - the only problematic area I see is the air coronas. Putting them into the skybox would also solve the scaling issues and make them render after everything else.

It wouldn't take care of shadow as FSO has no shadows (yet).  Only lighting.  Atmosphere could be a problem, but there's also the fact that unless you make the model really high-poly, it is easy to see the edges and know that it is not round (just look at the Earth model from inferno in the last mission :rolleyes: ).  There's also the fact that with a skybox, you couldn't scale the planet and you would be stuck with whatever size it was.

There are several issues with using models as planets. Here are what I can think of...

1. Resource intesity. To look good, planets need BIG textures. Practical aesthetic minimum is 4096x2048 sized texture. However, many non-recent cards (as I've come to notice) don't support textures this big, and only go up to 2048 pixels as maximum width and/or height of the texture. With ready planet images, a 2048x2048 sized planet has HUGE amounts of detail and usually 1024x1024 sized planets are more than enough. And look better than models.

2. Need to use anti-aliasing to get non-jagged planets. Sucks for those who get a slideshow with any kind of anti-aliasing... With readily baked background images of the planets, this is not a problem at all.

2. Lack of advanced lighting effects like volumetric/shaded atmosphere layer result in visually less stunning end result than planet background images, in which you can bake the effects in with varying amount of accuracy - depending on whether you use renders or purely photoshopped/GIMPed planets. Renders have more realism, but for some reason I prefer doing my planets in GIMP from the beginning to the end... I've done some experimenting with adding an "atmosphere layer" above the ground, with very limited success... it makes the planet flicker from long distances and doesn't look too stunning from nearby.

3. Same applies to clouds. You have two options with clouds - either use another model layer above the ground level to house the clouds (which ends up problematic from long distances) or bake them onto the terrain texture. Neither method ends up looking spectacular, and usually the clouds look flat no matter what you do... normal/height maps might help in this, though, but I haven't tried that. :shaking:

4. Shadows are not really that big of an issue, since the model itself is most likely just a sphere, if you don't want to go absolutely nuts with polycount and planetary detail. If you want to have mountains, normal maps can take care of them... but the level of detail you can achieve is rather limited anyway. Talking about polycount, the planet doesn't need to be ultra-high-poly model. Properly done smoothing is way more important. About the only way you can notice the polygon seams is when you go looking at the speculars from small distance.

5. Size. Correctly sized planets just don't seem to work in FS2_Open, or at least with my model conversion skills... also, realistic distances are problematic and end up with flickering planets and stuff. And miniature planets look a bit stupid IMHO, and can't be considered any more realistic than background images.

The modeled planets do have some benefits, though mostly only with objects that have no visible atmospheric glow. Gas giants and their rings work spectacularly well (if you ignore their ridiculously small size), speculars and lighting are somewhat more accurate than with bacground planets - or rather, with model planets the mission designer does not need to think of the planet lighting issues like having the lit side of the background pointing at the sun with roundabout correct angle - and since you can move around the planet, you can see it in more phases than just the one offered by background images.

Mostly, though, the cons win the pro's in this case. At least for the time being. :blah:


Here are some screenies... most from Cardinal Spear, although the atmosphere/normalmap test doesnt' belong there.








This one has edited brightness/contrast to bring the Orion forth better...




This is the atmosphere/normalmap test... doesn't look too great IMHO. Normal maps have potential, however they are a bit exaggerated in this version IMHO.
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Offline Retsof

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
Sooo, is that a model or a normal background?
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Offline Wobble73

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
Sooo, is that a model or a normal background?
That must be taken in game, you can see the FPS!v :nervous:
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Offline Flaser

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
Thanks for clearing that up Herra!

It does have promise, but it isn't up to reproducing the same detail a background image can store.
However I think, some sort of hybrid would be needed for low-orbit situations.

Namely, in BTRL when you're close to the planet and have this huge bitmap below you - the lack of geometry and the rendering distortions when you change your bearing inevitably give it away, and it looks - FLAT.

Any idea how one could combine both techniques (high quality pre-baked bitmaps and models) into a good low-orbit planet?
"I was going to become a speed dealer. If one stupid fairytale turns out to be total nonsense, what does the young man do? If you answered, “Wake up and face reality,” you don’t remember what it was like being a young man. You just go to the next entry in the catalogue of lies you can use to destroy your life." - John Dolan

 
Re: Celestial Objects Thread
miniature planets look a bit stupid IMHO, and can't be considered any more realistic than background images.
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Fun while it lasted.

Then bitter.

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
Thanks for clearing that up Herra!

It does have promise, but it isn't up to reproducing the same detail a background image can store.
However I think, some sort of hybrid would be needed for low-orbit situations.

Namely, in BTRL when you're close to the planet and have this huge bitmap below you - the lack of geometry and the rendering distortions when you change your bearing inevitably give it away, and it looks - FLAT.

The modeled planet would look just as flat for the most of time... you can count how long it would take at 200 m/s to change the view point sufficiently for the planet's appearance to change notably (200 m/s = 720 km/h, whoop de doo...). In fact, a model would appear even more flat because you wouldn't be able to cram as much detail (cloud shadows, terrain elevation effects on lighting etc.) onto the model... without inordinate amount of time, or autogen script for planets, and quite frankly there are a few more important things to use the resources on IMHO...

Besides, effectively the only difference you could see would be rotation of the planet, since FreeSpace_Open doesn't (yet!) support orbital mechanics and if it would it would be a nightmare to fly... if you want to try that, load and install Orbiter, start a scenario docked with ISS, then head a dozen klicks away and try docking with the station again... then try to think what it would be like to try and actually hit enemies with primary weapons. :p

Also, if the (habitable-looking) planets are anything like Earth, it would have ~20-30 hour rotation time - not exactly what you would notice very much in a typical mission completion time in FS2/BtRL... in half an hour, Earth rotates a whopping 7.5 degrees.

It would be almost like demanding that the grass needs to grow in a first person shooter game for it to be realistic. No one will spend time watching the grass grow... or planet to rotate. And since orbital mechanics will hardly appear in the game any time soon, if ever, that's the only change you would be able to see anyway.

Quote
Any idea how one could combine both techniques (high quality pre-baked bitmaps and models) into a good low-orbit planet?


No, but in this case, pursuing realism is not worth the advantages. If you're a physics accuracist like me, you'll just have to ignore the fact that there are no orbits or gravity in FS2_Open. :p

Let's just go with what looks cool, right.
There are three things that last forever: Abort, Retry, Fail - and the greatest of these is Fail.

 

Offline jdjtcagle

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
Quote

That is awesome!
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Offline blowfish

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
I can still see the edges of that sphere.

 

Offline feltoar

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
Just had a go of the tutorial on the front page and came up with this:



Making stuff is almost as fun as blowing it up :D

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
Going ahead... planetb.pcx from retail, and my version of it. Rest of the phases coming later today.


There are three things that last forever: Abort, Retry, Fail - and the greatest of these is Fail.

 

Offline Snail

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
Needs more craters IMO.

 
Re: Celestial Objects Thread
Ditto.
Fun while it lasted.

Then bitter.

 

Offline Admiral Nelson

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
I do like the fact that it isn't obviously Callisto any longer. :)
If a man consults whether he is to fight, when he has the power in his own hands, it is certain that his opinion is against fighting.

 
Fun while it lasted.

Then bitter.

 

Offline Flaser

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
Thanks for clearing that up Herra!

It does have promise, but it isn't up to reproducing the same detail a background image can store.
However I think, some sort of hybrid would be needed for low-orbit situations.

Namely, in BTRL when you're close to the planet and have this huge bitmap below you - the lack of geometry and the rendering distortions when you change your bearing inevitably give it away, and it looks - FLAT.

The modeled planet would look just as flat for the most of time... you can count how long it would take at 200 m/s to change the view point sufficiently for the planet's appearance to change notably (200 m/s = 720 km/h, whoop de doo...). In fact, a model would appear even more flat because you wouldn't be able to cram as much detail (cloud shadows, terrain elevation effects on lighting etc.) onto the model... without inordinate amount of time, or autogen script for planets, and quite frankly there are a few more important things to use the resources on IMHO...

Besides, effectively the only difference you could see would be rotation of the planet, since FreeSpace_Open doesn't (yet!) support orbital mechanics and if it would it would be a nightmare to fly... if you want to try that, load and install Orbiter, start a scenario docked with ISS, then head a dozen klicks away and try docking with the station again... then try to think what it would be like to try and actually hit enemies with primary weapons. :p

Also, if the (habitable-looking) planets are anything like Earth, it would have ~20-30 hour rotation time - not exactly what you would notice very much in a typical mission completion time in FS2/BtRL... in half an hour, Earth rotates a whopping 7.5 degrees.

It would be almost like demanding that the grass needs to grow in a first person shooter game for it to be realistic. No one will spend time watching the grass grow... or planet to rotate. And since orbital mechanics will hardly appear in the game any time soon, if ever, that's the only change you would be able to see anyway.

Quote
Any idea how one could combine both techniques (high quality pre-baked bitmaps and models) into a good low-orbit planet?


No, but in this case, pursuing realism is not worth the advantages. If you're a physics accuracist like me, you'll just have to ignore the fact that there are no orbits or gravity in FS2_Open. :p

Let's just go with what looks cool, right.

No I'm not talking about a moving / rotating / orbited planet.
Just a static mesh.
What I'm talking about, is that close to the planet, you can no longer accurately depict it with a single bitmap. When I said flat, I wasn't talking about the planet's surface - you still too high to notice that. What I talked about was the way this bitmap is transformed / distorted when you look at it from an angle. It's a giant plane in space, not a globulus planet.

Maybe you don't even need a model, but a tricked out bitmap, that's too big to fit into your field of view, and therefore on the edges you can do tricks by already incorporating the 'curveous' effects of the horizon.

Now that I imagined that, I know what the problem is: when you look at planet bitmaps from an angle, you see an almost straight edge. Instead you should be seeing an arc. I can't make what I mean any clearer.
"I was going to become a speed dealer. If one stupid fairytale turns out to be total nonsense, what does the young man do? If you answered, “Wake up and face reality,” you don’t remember what it was like being a young man. You just go to the next entry in the catalogue of lies you can use to destroy your life." - John Dolan

 

Offline jdjtcagle

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
Here's a planet I've been working on...

"Brings a tear of nostalgia to my eye" -Flipside
------------------------------------------
I'm an Apostolic Christian (Acts: 2:38)
------------------------------------------
Official Interplay Freespace Stories
Predator
Hammer Of Light - Omen of Darkness
Freefall in Darkness
A Thousand Years

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
:):yes:

Nice!
There are three things that last forever: Abort, Retry, Fail - and the greatest of these is Fail.

 

Offline jdjtcagle

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
#2

Added clouds, sharpened the features, and added some moons for the heck of it

"Brings a tear of nostalgia to my eye" -Flipside
------------------------------------------
I'm an Apostolic Christian (Acts: 2:38)
------------------------------------------
Official Interplay Freespace Stories
Predator
Hammer Of Light - Omen of Darkness
Freefall in Darkness
A Thousand Years

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Celestial Objects Thread
The first one looked betteras a whole. Ditch the sharpening and as far as clouds are concerned, I'd use less so that the extremely good looking (IMHO) surface texture is not drowned under them...
There are three things that last forever: Abort, Retry, Fail - and the greatest of these is Fail.