Realistic stars, the return...

Discussion and information relevant to creating special missions, new ships, skins etc.

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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

Post by cim »

mossfoot wrote:Assuming that's not possible
Not yet. Being able to put a lightmap onto planets is something we want to do, and submersible has a basic demo of what it might look like somewhere, but the planet shaders are difficult to get right.

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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

Post by Knotty »

Thanks for the help
I'll see if I can get the script detection of sensible suns working, then I won't have to worry about manifest dependencies.
Maybe I should test for Torus to sun, then make the sun even further away :-)

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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

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Zireael wrote:Mossfoot, I love that picture!
Would be nice if someone could find a way to make it happen in game :D
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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

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mossfoot wrote:
Zireael wrote:Mossfoot, I love that picture!
Would be nice if someone could find a way to make it happen in game :D
It would be beyond awesome. However the problem of where to place the lights is a difficult one. How do you make sure that all your cities aren't in the middle of the sea? Or maybe you'd want them underwater on certain (crustacean) worlds. OK, you could tell the game to put lights on green but not blue or vice versa, but what about those pink/red/ purple/ yellow planets with yellow/ purple/ red/ pink seas?

Ideally, you'd want the lights concentrated around coastal areas and natural features like harbours, with strings of light stretched between them... although, would a society with access to such cheap energy and casual spaceflight bother with things like "roads" and "harbours"? Planets described as having most of their cities underground would also need special treatment - just a few big spaceports and nothing else at all.

I suspect writing code to do that kind of thing intelligently would be challenging, to say the least. I guess someone could hand-craft a custom light-map for each and every planet but that would be one hell of a project.

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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

Post by Disembodied »

Potential Debris wrote:Ideally, you'd want the lights concentrated around coastal areas and natural features like harbours, with strings of light stretched between them... although, would a society with access to such cheap energy and casual spaceflight bother with things like "roads" and "harbours"? Planets described as having most of their cities underground would also need special treatment - just a few big spaceports and nothing else at all.

I suspect writing code to do that kind of thing intelligently would be challenging, to say the least. I guess someone could hand-craft a custom light-map for each and every planet but that would be one hell of a project.
It would also mean tackling the question of what the TL numbers stand for ... is TL1 Dawn of Spaceflight or Dawn of Agriculture? Earth's night side would have been pretty black across almost all of its surface until just a century ago, and would still have been mostly free of illumination, even in its inhabited areas, until just a few decades ago.

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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

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Potential Debris wrote:
mossfoot wrote:
Zireael wrote:Mossfoot, I love that picture!
Would be nice if someone could find a way to make it happen in game :D
It would be beyond awesome. However the problem of where to place the lights is a difficult one. How do you make sure that all your cities aren't in the middle of the sea? Or maybe you'd want them underwater on certain (crustacean) worlds. OK, you could tell the game to put lights on green but not blue or vice versa, but what about those pink/red/ purple/ yellow planets with yellow/ purple/ red/ pink seas?

Ideally, you'd want the lights concentrated around coastal areas and natural features like harbours, with strings of light stretched between them... although, would a society with access to such cheap energy and casual spaceflight bother with things like "roads" and "harbours"? Planets described as having most of their cities underground would also need special treatment - just a few big spaceports and nothing else at all.

I suspect writing code to do that kind of thing intelligently would be challenging, to say the least. I guess someone could hand-craft a custom light-map for each and every planet but that would be one hell of a project.
However, to simplify - at least where my Realistic Stars game is concerned, the black in the world is REALLY black - as in Yikes no light is escaping and I think I'm being sucked into it black. You'd never see what the colors are supposed to be on that. So you could simply have it set to randomly generate only on the dark side. You'd have to be awfully nitpicky to wait for the orbit to see if it fits ;)

If this was taken on (please someone take it on), I'd suggest a similar feature be added for the additional planets and moons, but with a highly scaled down number of lights (main planet being where most of the population is, moons and other planets being colonies)
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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

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Disembodied wrote: It would also mean tackling the question of what the TL numbers stand for ... is TL1 Dawn of Spaceflight or Dawn of Agriculture? Earth's night side would have been pretty black across almost all of its surface until just a century ago, and would still have been mostly free of illumination, even in its inhabited areas, until just a few decades ago.
This is something that is easily over-analyzed, though. All the planets in game have populations in the billions and even a tech 1 anarchy is probably going to be lit up like earth today given that they have a space station overhead and are doing interplanetary trading with them.

But making the above suggested "black side only" light speckling work could use a combination of Tech Level and Population to determine how many lights to use. A Tech 15 world would probably be lit up like Courscant in Star Wars.
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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

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But making the above suggested "black side only" light speckling work could use a combination of Tech Level and Population to determine how many lights to use. A Tech 15 world would probably be lit up like Courscant in Star Wars.
Yup, great idea.

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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

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mossfoot wrote:A Tech 15 world would probably be lit up like Courscant in Star Wars.
Maybe. Light like that is basically wasted energy, which even today we're trying to reduce, and 6 billion (about the largest population) spread out over even a 3000km radius world is still a very low overall population density (it's probably safe to assume that at that tech level, almost all of the planet is "habitable area" if you want it to be, for at least some of the Cooperative's species).

I would expect the nightside of the higher tech worlds to either be almost completely dark (with perhaps a few beacons to point to spaceports, and maybe a dim glow around the major cities) or brightly lit but in a much more intentional way than stray city lights - art, advertising, edge highlighting of continents, etc.

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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

Post by Disembodied »

mossfoot wrote:This is something that is easily over-analyzed, though. All the planets in game have populations in the billions and even a tech 1 anarchy is probably going to be lit up like earth today given that they have a space station overhead and are doing interplanetary trading with them.
Depends, really: the Co-op station, and even more so the spaceport beneath (which might just be a large, flat area) might be all the technology there is. Goods might meander in to the spaceport/large flat area on wagons, or be brought on caravans of tromedaries (3 humps :)). A toehold of technology within a huge, almost tech-free (apart from the inevitable grey/black market) hinterland ... very much a Heart of Darkness sort of vibe, or a fur-trading station a long way up the St Lawrence river in the 17th century. To the huge majority of the population, the spaceport could be semi-legendary at best, and the Coriolis would just be one more point of light in the sky.

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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

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cim wrote:
mossfoot wrote:A Tech 15 world would probably be lit up like Courscant in Star Wars.
Maybe. Light like that is basically wasted energy, which even today we're trying to reduce, and 6 billion (about the largest population) spread out over even a 3000km radius world is still a very low overall population density (it's probably safe to assume that at that tech level, almost all of the planet is "habitable area" if you want it to be, for at least some of the Cooperative's species).

I would expect the nightside of the higher tech worlds to either be almost completely dark (with perhaps a few beacons to point to spaceports, and maybe a dim glow around the major cities) or brightly lit but in a much more intentional way than stray city lights - art, advertising, edge highlighting of continents, etc.
I really doubt that. Most city lights come from people in houses and apartments/condos or offices working late who don't want to sit in the dark in their rooms. And all those rooms have windows. We might be trying to conserve electricity, but people still want to see where they're going at night, too. Unless you're expecting everyone to drive with night vision viewscreens and walk with night vision goggles, there are still going to be street lights.

Regardless, this is a SF setting, and conventional wisdom of a city/planet like Courscant would be for it to be lit up like a Christmas tree. I mean, I live in Vancouver, and it's not like it's Akihabara, Tokyo at night (honestly, go there at midnight, don't look at the sky, and you'll swear it's noon it's so bright.). I go outside my place and it's clearly dark out. Just enough light to get around in until you hit the main streets. But it still shows up like a beacon from space.

Anyway, while the details of how much light shows up can be debated, I think the more important point is it should exist. Looking at plants with completely dark sides just isn't logical.

(I'm sure an easy combination of Tech Level and Population can determine it, and perhaps in some of the higher tech levels the light density goes down instead of up, a kind of bell curve, perhaps.)
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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

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mossfoot wrote:Regardless, this is a SF setting, and conventional wisdom of a city/planet like Courscant would be for it to be lit up like a Christmas tree. I mean, I live in Vancouver, and it's not like it's Akihabara, Tokyo at night (honestly, go there at midnight, don't look at the sky, and you'll swear it's noon it's so bright.). I go outside my place and it's clearly dark out. Just enough light to get around in until you hit the main streets. But it still shows up like a beacon from space.

Anyway, while the details of how much light shows up can be debated, I think the more important point is it should exist. Looking at plants with completely dark sides just isn't logical.

(I'm sure an easy combination of Tech Level and Population can determine it, and perhaps in some of the higher tech levels the light density goes down instead of up, a kind of bell curve, perhaps.)
I'm definitely in favour of having glowmaps for planets, but if possible I'd like them to be less conventional than George Lucas's imagination. There's something to be said for playing to the audience's expectations, but there's something to be said for undercutting it, too: humanity - especially current, early-21st-century western humanity - doesn't have to be the measure of all things.

Cim's almost certainly correct, in that a high-tech civilisation would not uselessly pump out energy into space in the form of light. Not only is it inelegantly wasteful, it's an environmental pollutant, interfering with the ecology. If you're far enough up the tech tree to build starships in your garage, then it's surely likely that everyone has easy access to night vision, either through technology or biological manipulation. Then there's the other side of biology: who's to say that a particular species, regardless of tech level, isn't nocturnal? Or that they don't possess natural IR vision? Or that their eyes use a different part of the EM spectrum?

There are a few things in the F7 descriptions that we could use to affect any potential planetary glowmaps. Tech level is one of them: higher TL = more city lights, rising from (say) TL5, where they might first appear, to TL10, after which they could tail off (and perhaps change in characteristic: move from tiny stipples of generally white light to mixing in something perhaps more TRON-like, with solid lines of glowing colours). This could then be modified by where the planet sits of the Poor Ag - Rich Ind axis. Even a Poor Industrial planet will probably have more urbanisation than a Rich Agricultural one of a similar TL. Population would be another factor. "Hoopy/exotic night life" could add some Vegas colouring, and "volcanic activity" might add a few cracked red glows too. Then there could be one or two species descriptors which could affect things: "shyness" could reduce the amount of glow, and "bug-eyed" might even turn it off altogether.

Most high-tech worlds might be lit up, but then there could be one like Bierle: it might be a Rich Industrial TL12 world, but the bug-eyed lobsters that live there don't like bright lights. Granted, it's likely that this might largely be lost on the player, but it would be there nonetheless - and it would mean more variety.

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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

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Disembodied, I love the ideas!

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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

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Disembodied wrote:There are a few things in the F7 descriptions that we could use to affect any potential planetary glowmaps.
"Civil war" too - seeing plumes of smoke or fire from cities, or perhaps even explosion flashes at night with a fancy enough shader. "Unusual oceans" gives a lot of scope too - really bright bioluminescent plankton in some of them?

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Re: Realistic stars, the return...

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cim wrote:
Disembodied wrote:There are a few things in the F7 descriptions that we could use to affect any potential planetary glowmaps.
"Civil war" too - seeing plumes of smoke or fire from cities, or perhaps even explosion flashes at night with a fancy enough shader. "Unusual oceans" gives a lot of scope too - really bright bioluminescent plankton in some of them?
Definitely, yes! 8)

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