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Space nebula backgrounds (and stuff like it)

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Does anyone know where I can find either texture maps, generation algorithms, or any other decent info about space backgrounds that resemble the ones in homeworld? I know Relic released some of the tools for making them, but they all output to a special file format that no one has reverse engineered yet. I''m pretty sure the backgrounds are just spheres of colored vertices (no textures). If I could even find an algorithm for generating soft color patterns like those in the game It would make my day. Any info whatsoever is appreciated. I haven''t had much luck with Google. (I posted this a few days ago in the directx forum w/o any luck) Thanks, -Ben | particlefield.com |

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I use a sky box.

I render a scene in 3D max and then setting the view angle to 90 degrees I render (from the viewpoint) front, back, top, bottom,left and right.

What I do is put a planet in the background (you can find solar system textures on the net, try google), and then place about 1000 particles of varying sizes at a fixed distance.

This gets me a semi-decent sky box. I havn''t tried to render nebulae yet, but I would suggest you try farting about with a smoke tool.

Oh yeah, owning 3DMax helps, but there are alot of free/affordable modeling software out there, just search the GameDev.net fora

D.V.

Carpe Diem

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As a source for textures you could check out pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

I would suggest browsing by category, then, after you click a thunbnail you''ll see a medium sized picture with a description. To get the full size image, click the medium image, which will show a page with a vertical list of formats and sizes for the image. Scroll down until you find one detailed enough for your use (warning!!! The larger images are several megabytes in size, 56k users should use caution)

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DeltaVee: The game takes place in a solar system where you can fly between planets so having a planet in the background won''t look right. I luckily have 3ds max but I''m pretty much determined to use a sphere right now. Most of the space textures I run across have too many imperfections (since they''re real pictures) and they also don''t wrap around a sphere (or box) well since the edges weren''t generated to line up with each other. Homeworld took care of this pretty intelligently. They would analyze a picture with some insane algorithm that would approximate the image with colored triangles. Then they''d somehow wrap this mesh of vertices onto a sphere and it would look perfect. The vertex colors are blended when it''s rendered and you get 0 imperfections and a nice background. If anyone''s heard of an algorithm to do this I''d love to find it.

Here''s a sample:
(The original picture was some stupid picture of a face with glasses that probably took 3 minutes with mspaint and it still looks great)




Michalson: That''s an awesome place for textures. I''ll probably end up using it if I can''t find something similiar to homeworld''s method. Thanks a lot.



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Use perlin noise!!!

First, for each vertex figure out its coordinate in 2D space (such that for each vertex you get an x,y pair). Then use perlin noise in two dimensions on multiple frequencies to get transparency info. Then use it yet again to lerp between two colors. With the right choice of frequencies/colors you should get some good looking nebulas.

If you ever use this method, please post the screenshots, I''m really interested in what it will look like.

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I've never tried this before, so I have NO idea if it'd work right, but you can make just about any space picture's edges "match up". (At least in a tiled sense... not sure if it'd work right with a sphere.) If you have Paint Shop Pro (I guess Photoshop can do it too) you can use something called "convert to seamless pattern" which gets rid of edges. It works perfectly in 2D, but I can't picture in my head how it'd wrap around a sphere....

If you think it might work let me know and I'll clarify what I mean...

[edited by - Tebriel on June 5, 2002 1:52:09 AM]

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Kill:
Perlin noise sounds perfect. I never thought about doing that and it sure as hell is easier than approximating an image with triangles. Plus, I can vary things a bit to get different backgrounds for each level. I''ll post a shot along with any code when I get it working.

Tebriel:
Thanks, I''ll have to look into that for photoshop (I don''t have psp). I have a few other uses for this other than the background.

Cheers,
-Ben


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