So I'm working on a space exploration / sim. Here is the puzzle, some of you may already have experience with this and I thought I'd pick your brain. If you don't have experience... that's fine... let's hash over some development ideas.
I am currently looking at a "level" or a "stage" as an entire solar system. What I do not want are "rooms" in a system (meaning the earth system, the mars system, the jupiter system, etc... where each system is its own scene).
My idea is that as space is fairly large but empty... modern renderers should have little issue rendering what is really constant in a system:
1) the sun
2) the planets
3) some large moons
The rest (asteroids, comets, minor moons, minor planets) can be instantiated as i need them to be. Perhaps trigger zones on a system that when crossed let the system know to create them.
This would mean that if I am orbiting earth and I point at the sun and accelerate, that I should eventually be able to get to the sun and that I shouldn't need a loading screen to load me into the proper zone to do so. If I'm orbiting the earth, then the other planets should be present on the screen as tiny dots, much as they are in our sky in real life, and that if you point at one and accelerate towards it that you'd eventually reach it... that the earth would shrink to a dot... and the target planet grow until you were actually there.
We can go a step farther and incorporate an orbital formula and have the planets orbit the star and also be in motion as well as add a rotational formula to let the planets rotate as well as with their moons.
While this would be hard to perceive... if you stayed put for 24 hrs and took screen shots you'd see changes.
Do you feel that this is a realistic model or do you feel that rendering these large objects (the sun for example would be a massive sphere and light emitter) constantly would cause performance issues?