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deadlydog

"Skybox" techniques

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I'm thinking about doing my masters research project on skyboxes. I know that right now the popular way of doing them is by using a cube, sphere, or hemisphere and applying a texture to them. This is quick and simple and provides a relatively nice effect, but it has some disadvantages like not being very dynamic and whatnot. I was thinking about developing a new sort of skybox system, where clouds and the sun and moon and whatnot would be actual objects with properties, and you could adjust the weather by changing the temperature, humidity, winds, etc and having all of the sky objects interact based on these properties. Also, by adjusting the moisture and amounts of clouds in the sky, they could dynamically combine to form rain clouds and storms too. I was just wondering if this type of thing has been done already or not. I know this would add some complexity and require more processing power than a simple traditional skybox, but you could have a dynamically changing sky environment with some nice effects. This could possibly be done with 2D or 3D objects. I was just wondering on other peoples comments about this sort or thing, and I would like to know if there is already something like it out there or not. Thanks.

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I was thinking about developing a new sort of skybox system, where clouds and the sun and moon and whatnot would be actual objects with properties


That's not new at all. For a master's thesis, I'd assume you actually did an initial review of research before proposing it, and then propose one specific improvement to make -- extend something to use modern shader hardware, or base it off a weather simulation computation, or whatever. Just pick something specific, and related to the current state of the art in the area.

Also, "skybox" is a very specific way of generating a sky, where you render a box CENTERED ON THE CAMERA to render the assumed infinitely distant environment. Anything that does dynamic sky will do something different (or at least add additional geometry).

For some good ideas about cloud and sky rendering, see the [url=http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=957189]various[/url] [url=http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/J.Kautz/GameCourse/]articles[/url] by Naty Hoffman and others on light scattering, and the [url=http://www.markmark.net/clouds/]SkyWords Clouds[/url] rendering, for example.

It also sounds like you haven't quite focused what you want to do -- real-time weather simulation? That typically needs massive vector computers, but you can probably do something "game-y" a lot quicker. Rendering? There are lots of papers and libraries out there, but you can probably pick a specific situation (say, the atmosphere of an alien planet based on methane?) and adopt them. Just pick one, and stick to it, once you've scanned the available research.

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