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Planet rendering...

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Time for a small update.

I spent the last weeks working on version 2 of my planet engine. At the moment i'm only working on the geometric part of it. No eye-candy: no real lighting, no textures, no particles, no additional effect.. only the spherical terrain engine.

You can view a video here:

And some screens:

It features seamless transitions in space and between planets. I worked hard to reduce the floating point precision problems, and think it's starting to look good. You can zoom up to a few meters above the ground. The heights are procedurally generated by 18 octaves of Perlin noise.

The terrain engine is currently going up to 60 millions triangles per second when the geometric complexity is high, ie. at ground level. There is around 300k to 500k triangles per frame, but it still runs at more than 110 fps on my 2.8 Ghz + Radeon 9700 system.
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Looks cool. I assume the popping issues are going to be fixed at some point? It would be cooler if the terrain changes blended better.

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Yes, that's actually the next point i'm going to work on. I also want to switch my noise generation code to diamond square instead of Perlin noise, since it's *a lot* faster.

Once that is done, i must also implement streaming for the real planets, to load actual heightmap and textures data coming from the Nasa. I don't think it will be particularly hard, but i'm not sure how it will affect the performance.

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Guest Anonymous Poster


I must say that is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I thought that I was just looking at texture mapped spheres until I got closer and then HOLY SHIT!

Wait, that is an excellent idea, making things just simple textures until you get within a certain distance of what your looking at, then it displays the true 3d model! I AM A GENIUS!! I wonder if someone has done that before...

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No, but because you said that I will assume that it is some common thing to do and I should go google it. If my assumption is correct can you please tell me the name of it so I can google it?

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