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Realistic Space Rendering in Games

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Does anyone know of any resources/tutorials for rendering realistic space in games? Think something link Freespace, X-Wing, or even that new MMORPG Eve: The 2nd Genesis. I can never seem to get it down right myself. - Ben

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IMHO the reason you will not find any is because there is not a single game that renders space realistically. Sorry to say that Freespace or X-Wing are not at all realistic renderings of space.

Ever wondered why all those spaceships were visible and bathed in light, even though there wasn''t any lightsource near (like a star) ?

Oh, and don''t forget to turn of the "sound". Sound doesn''t propagate in space, as there is no air. But in every "space" game you will hear explosions, etc... I understand it''s for more immersiveness, but it''s not realistic

Space is huge, but the differences in scale are even larger. The solar system is more than 40 AU large (astronomical units - the average distance between Earth and Sun), but the nearest star is 4,3 light years away. Our galaxy is 100''000 light years large across, part of a local group of galaxies, itself part of a supergroup. Makes it quite hard to map

I understand that you may not be seeking to render the entire universe, but even rendering a galaxy is a challenge. The galaxy is filled with clouds of matter of bizzare shapes and sizes that obscure any light that goes through them (through diffusion), or re-emit it fluorescently. It''s likely doable using imposters or such, but AFAIK no game ever bothers with rendering that accurately since the end-user hasn''t a clue and it''s hardly an important issue.

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As Dora-Chan pointed so correctly, there isn''t a single game that simulates real space, and thank god, otherwise it would be monotone.

And no a galaxy isn''t all just pretty points. ;-) It''s in fact very complex, it''s possible to make a program that simulates one but it isn''t possible to make it simulate all of a galaxies details.
Heck, we can''t even fully simulate our solar system due to the scales involved!

But try searching google for galaxy rendering or realistic galaxies, who knows, you might get lucky and find something.

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I remember that David Braben spent years modelling the galaxy for Elite 2; it became rather anal to play as you just sat around waiting for it to travel between points.

Felt as if all that detail was wasted because it was just so boring.

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I've been investigating galaxy rendering since some time now. One of the problems you'll meet is the lack of informations from scientists about galaxies, or even our own galaxy. For a distant galaxy you can basically find its shape and its distance, and that's all. For the Milky Way, as we're actually inside it, a large part of it is unknown to us. The best you can find is online databases about the closest stars, like the Hipparcos database with the 110 000 brightest closest stars, generally less than 1000 LY away (which is not a lot compared to the 100 000 LY diameter of our galaxy, and the 200 billion stars it contains). For the same reason you won't find a photo of our galaxy, some artist drawings at best.

Y.


[edited by - Ysaneya on January 14, 2004 5:24:39 PM]

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Why is it that there is no real info on our galaxy?

If you think about our understanding of galaxies, it''s from distant observation only. If you open up an anthil and look at what''s inside, it becomes amazingly complex - far more so than from distant observation.

Is it because the technology to study stars ''up close'' isn''t available?

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well, we can''t get a photo of our galaxy because we are inside it... we''d have to send someone (or something) far away enough to take the photos, and then it''d take a long long time for it to be transmitted back to us.

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Okay, maybe I didn''t explain this properly.

I want to fly a ship around space. I don''t care so much for realistic in the sense that every star is where it should be ... I mean, I want it to just _look_ realistic. IE, how to make a game _look_ like X-Wing or Freespace.

- Ben

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Will you be having the old "thrust and glide" technique or will it be more like Wing Commander?

Homeworld has interesting looking graphics, I think it''s just a distorted skybox (or even sky cube) that has decals on it to show distant space thingies. Coulds are particle / fog systems.

Again, we can''t ''really'' know what it''s like to fly in space as many of us haven''t (and probably never will!) fly in space. I assume that games are just guessing. I personally prefer the Wing Commander, non-realistic methods over the Elite 2 style flight model

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Remember, the source code for Homeworld 1 and Freespace 2 is available. You should be able to get plenty of hints from these sources.

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