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DevLog #6 - The Milky-Way

Posted by , 21 August 2011 · 841 views

It has been a long time since last update. Personal life stepped in and the development was freezed for a while as I had no taste for anything. Fortunately I am slowly grabbing powers again and the StarDust project is waking up from its hibernation.

I am bringing you now some screens of the Milky-Way as it appears right now. The star-generator presented in previous dev-logs was temporarily disconnected, so there isn't many stars inside the disc.
There are still some TODOs for the Galaxy:
- the bulge needs to be made thicker
- dust and stars should respect the arms
- dust particle performance needs improvement
- a dark (light-blocking) dust should be added with the arms

The Galaxy arms are not going to be fully procedurally generated to get completely random spiral galaxy, but a Galaxy image will be used for detection of arms and their generation. It is a harder way, but is more likely to result in something recognizable as Milky-Way and not only a generic galaxy.

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That looks pretty cool - would you mind describing how it is rendered?
It's all made just by texturing (no shaders used as I still don't know how to write some ^_^` ).
There are few thousand (i think it was 3,000 at that revision) cloud billboards randomly scattered throughout the disc and blended together using additive blending. Stars are GL_POINTS.

For now it's quite slow and to get a temporary speed up I've baked all the dust clouds into one display list. Obviously this can't be used as final solution as it doesn't allow dynamic billboard rotation, so later I'll have to switch to imposters or rendering to sky-box texture.
Ow, and if you're interested about the bright core, it's just a result of additive blending. The dust clouds are only more dense there and so their color sums up to be brighter at blending than the less dense surrounding areas :)
I see. Would it be possible to post a wireframe shot of the scene? That's pretty cool that you are doing it without shaders too :)
Here it is ;)

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