An old-school vector graphics / neon mesh appearance effect
Effects Vector graphics Neon
I mentioned I am developing a turn-based space fleet combat kind of game. Think about Battlestar Galactica meets X-Com. I am explicitly referring to Battlestar Galactica and in particular to the Dradis. I always wanted a game where you are the fleet commander or admiral and your only way to relate to the battlefield is not through some ethereal camera floating in space but through some abstract graphical representation.
To recreate that look & feel my inspiration comes from the combat briefings of various sci-fi games and films. Does anyone remember Wing Commander's briefings? That's how I would like the game to be.
It seems in the future, GPUs will suffer a rapid decline. See for yourself:
The Dradis in BattleStar Galactica
So who am I to argue with all these warning signs? Admittedly, BSG is excused as the low-tech approach in the show was somewhat of a forced choice. Anyway, I am in the process of creating a short teaser video for the game I am working on. I needed an appearance effect and I thought that showing the mesh face by face would be a nice example. These future GPUs need time to load meshes anyway!
I received some excellent advice in the forums. As a first attempt I implemented an algorithm that randomizes the order of the indices associated to the mesh. The ratio of primitives displayed is then animated from 0 to 1 over the course of 4 seconds. In order to avoid displaying the triangle edges, I am using an adaptation of a solid wireframe shader. Indices are then reshuffled in groups of six (two triangles, one quad). Clearly this approach works when you know that indices are generated in that fashion. It works well with solid primitives. It might be problematic if the triangles that form the base "polygon" are not consecutive. For example, in the below video I am reshuffling indices quad by quad. If the algorithm acted on triangles, then "L" shaped lines would appear (because one of their edges is hidden by the shader).
There's also a bloom post-processing effect applied (which seems to produce "blocky" results, I'll have to tweak it). Also there's a scanline effect because no retro-style graphics would be complete without scanlines. So yeah, the impending GPU decline will also inevitably affect monitor manufacturers. Such is the way of the future