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Station shaders

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I've been pretty busy this evening to get the shaders ready for the space station. Shawn is making nice progress on it, but it's far from being finished. The results are starting to look nice, so i think i'll be posting a few screenshots of how it looks inside the game tomorrow.

I've implemented a couple effects in the shaders:
- per-pixel lighting with bump mapping
- per-pixel specular lighting with gloss mapping ( making some areas more or less shiny )
- self-illumination ( like small windows ); but i haven't done the glow filter yet, so the contours look sharp.
- ambient occlusion ( still per vertex ), subtle because not very visible.

In the coming months, i'll also implement:
- dynamic shadow maps
- dynamic cube map reflections
- ambient color reflection ( via a small blurred cube map )

At the moment i'm trying to get all the shaders working in object/tangent space, to be able to position and rotate them arbitrarily in world space. The amount of code to modify is very small, but it's very tricky.
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One thing that really surprised me is, when i land on the planet and look at the station, how big it appears in the sky ( note that it appears almost black: i haven't applied atmosphere to the shading of the objects yet ). I checked and rechecked the scales ( of the planet, the station, their distances, etc.. ), and everything is correct. That thing is.. huge! I'm no expert, but i think it's taking a large part of the moon as seen from Earth.

The station is 2.5 Km wide and 10 Km high. It is in orbit at 300 Km from the surface. It really gives a strange feeling in the planet's sky.. as if it was out of place.. a bit "unreal". When i'll have the atmosphere applied to it, i'll try to take some screens too.

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as i've stated before, i think (while reading your extra comment) Infinity will have a huge educational impact on your imagination of scaling. I mean, i have absolutely no idea how big plane Earth is. But if i fly by a similar planet in Infinity i will be able to overview everything and just explore the hugeness of everything.

I think it's a wise thing to keep in mind that this game will get great attention from the educational side of our society. To state it blunt: insert "fun" facts about space. Of course that's corny and silly after you've clicked away the third annoying tooltip with a smart fact. Maybe you or someone else comes up with an idea of implementing 'information' in the game (we all have a hunger to explore, why not adding a dimension to that)

I think missions with the coolest themes will be the ones that drag you into the game most. You must really be able to feel either a space pirate or a merchant or whatever you like (like in 'Spaceballs', and the books of Douglas Adams: Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and such, it was Douglas right?)

-looking forward to those screeny's

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