I've been lazy last week. I only finished the implementation of planetary nebulae. Technically, nothing fantastic: it's just a matter of normalizing each point, and the lerp-ing the point's original position with the normalized position by a constant factor, which i called the "spherical factor". When this parameter is 1.0, all the points end up on the surface of a volumetric sphere, the emitting star being its center. When the parameter is 0.0, you get the "old" nebulae.
I also spent a bit of time to optimize performance for the cloud point generation and operations, like lighting. No spectacular speed up, but every little gain is welcome.
On simplex noise:
Natume mentionned on the forums that simplex noise can be faster than improved Perlin noise ( what i'm using in Infinity so far ). Unfortunately, the results i've measured show the contrary ( at least in 3D ), my own improved noise implementation being a lot faster than simplex noise, and i've tested on 3 different configs ( see the thread above ).
If anybody's got a working version of simplex noise that is running much faster than improved noise, please let me know and/or send me the code.
On people, part I
I have noticed an increasingly annoying trend in the past weeks, which is to disturb me or to ask me mundane questions. I'm getting a lot of emails that ask me questions who have direct answers in the F.A.Q. I'm getting a lot of people on IRC asking me what i'm "up to", what i'm doing ( hint: if i bother maintaining a dev journal, it's to avoid loosing too much of my time explaining to different people what i'm doing ) ; or even contributors who've added a bunch of details to their work and want some feedback. I somewhat feel guilty about it, and believe me, i would really love to spend hours to chat with everybody and to give feedback on everything, but the community's growing quite a bit recently and i find myself loosing hours just answering emails or questions on IRC.
So, from now on, any mundane question will be strictly ignored, and you will get ignored if you PM, email or irc me with such questions. If you have to ask me a question, the first thing you should ask yourself is: "is Flavien the only one who can answer ?". If the answer is no, *please* do not disturb me. There are other devs on irc you know, and if all devs are busy, there are other people or contributors who stay on irc all day.
On people, part II:
Another annoying trend, at least to me, are people who suggest ( sometimes quite innocently ) that feature X or Y should be implemented in Infinity. For instance, today Darknos PMed me with a suggestion to use Navier Stokes equations for fluid dynamics in order to simulate oceans on the planets. Wouldn't it be fantastic to have water that have proper waves and reacts to your ship when you fly over the surface ?
Hell yes. Will that be implemented ? Hell no.
You see, there are a lot of features that would be cool to have. The "todo" list is already very long. It would not be wise to add more to it right now, as i'm already going to be busy in the coming 2 years with the currently planned features. In addition, it's common sense that any feature requires some work to be implemented, so if something has no consequence on the gameplay ( or if it's graphics related, like this water discussion, if it's something that people usually won't see or experience ), it's simply wasted time.
So, please refrain from posting things such as "Infinity should have this or this feature".. it's causing me stress, especially when i think of all the hard work needed for the current list, and that it's unlikely to happen.
In the same idea, please keep in mind that all images i post on the website, unless otherwise specified ( like the nebulae, when i say it's considered "done" ), are work in progress.
On HDRI (high dynamic range)
I have started to write the render pipeline for HDRI. Nothing special to say. Lots of render to texture, many typos / bugs fixed, a few more subtle bugs fixed, overall it's going smoothly.
The main things worrying me with HDRI are:
- no antialiasing ( any idea on how to support antialiasing with HDRI in OpenGL ? )
- cannot rely on blending ( thanks ATI )
- cannot rely on the alpha test ( thanks NVidia )
- cannot rely on texture filtering ( thanks to both )
I still have to improve the bloom quality ( better blurring ), and to make exposure a function of the image brightness ( at the moment the exposure is manual and can be changed with a pair of keys ).
Stannum uploaded two buildings, with are made of many sections each. I'm not sure of the number of combinations, but it's pretty safe to say that it's in the order of thousands, maybe more. Now, two buildings only aren't enough to make varied cities, but at least all the buildings are "unique" and have subtle, but different details.
The buildings are procedurally spawned into the city. At the moment, nothing complex; each building is spawned on a grid, meaning everything is square ( too much ). In the future, I plan to generate main avenues and smaller streets and to spawn buildings near them.
Shawn is still working on a dome for large cities. Not all cities will have a dome, but it's necessary for those who are in space, or on planets with no (breathable) atmospheres.
New fleet render
Koshime has retouched the latest fleet render:
Click here to see it