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Populous and Spacepod and Spore game style

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I love games that sits on a spinning globe where you can rotate in any directions and have the enemy coming from any directions! I know how to program in Direct3D but I have no idea how these games were done. Can someone give me some ideas or code examples on how these games were done? Are there any other games similar to these? How are the math calculated to do a game like this? I would like to to program something similar. Even Google Earth has the ability to zoom all the way out to space. Please point me in the right direction. Thanks. Populous The Beginning SpacePod Spore Google Earth

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