There will always be more to do. Even as far as I've come, you could easily single out a thousand things to improve. The texturing is awful. And is that a complete lack of bumpmap? Yikes. Spec map is boring. Every plate is pretty much the same -- no color, no different texturing, no nothing. Boring. The geometric structure? It's a 60-line algorithm, terribly simple and still terribly illogical.
And yet, somehow, I find myself falling in love with these ships. They are something more than the sum of their parts. Somehow, in the childish simplicity of it all, there is beauty.
Three years ago I was on the tip of the iceberg. Now, I feel, nothing has changed in that regard. The ships are a thousand times better, and yet, every moment that I explore proceduralism is another moment in which I realize that the iceberg is bigger than I ever did -- perhaps ever will -- comprehend. I now find it quite likely that I'll live out my entire life on the tip of this iceberg. It isn't a bad thing
Color grading was fun. It was cool. But it was hand-written.
In the true style of Limit Theory, let us give the computer the freedom. Allow it to generate procedural color transformations. An interpolated, n-point bezier grade applied (independently) to color channels. Control points generated using fractal noise. And now, you no longer have something that is cool, but rather, something truly magical. To watch the computer apply new artistic interpretations to the same image. This is Limit Theory
Searching for the perfect place to call home. Not that it would matter, since I haven't been saving the seeds. It's nice to think that maybe someday I could fly my ship right down through one of these atmospheres, pitch a tent and spend a year exploring. It will be a happy day when I finally do implement seamless landing. Maybe in a year or two
I think the last one is my favorite
I think Earth-like planets are pretty much done for now. Still need to fix the distortion in those clouds, though. Maybe add a little variation to the clouds as well.
Better scattering, better surface functions, better storage of textures (using cubemaps now instead of cylindrical maps for less distortion), better clouds, and finally some "real" bumpmapping via dynamic heightmap marching. Overall, pretty big improvement in visual appeal! Still needs more interesting/detailed color.
Naturally, I can't leave well enough alone! Attempt IV was pretty cool, but it obviously lacked volume. No surprises there: it was 2D. Here's my first attempt at volumetric light inside of the same type of nebula as shown in the previous post. I'm sure it will get better over time, but already you can notice a much better sense of volume, softness/cloudiness, and of light transport. Light is correctly modeled using emissitivity and absorption as it passes through the nebula. I'd say this is a pretty good amount of nebula-related progress for 2 days!!
This method is about as expensive as the current LT nebulae...but it looks way better...so I think it's safe to say this will be replacing them soon I am very happy with these, and I think I would quite enjoy seeing them in the background! All the parameters - softness, brightness, feature size, absorption, wavelength-dependence of scattering, etc. are all easily-tweakable to get a lot of different styles.
Tonight, I feel like I have closed a chapter in my life. For almost three years, I have been trying, on and off, to understand nebulae. In particular, I've been trying to generate them procedurally. If you look back over the log, you'll find several attempts:
Arguably, I've been getting better over the years. As my understanding of math improves, so does my ability to craft these lovely things. Although 2013's nebulae are significantly better than the rest (and, arguably, some of the better procedural nebulae out there on the web), let's face it, they still don't look like nebulae. But tonight, tonight I think that I have discovered the secret of nebulae. After three years, I finally feel that I understand these things. And I'm proud to say that my nebulae...finally look like nebulae.
In yet another attempt to drive the lesson of simplicity into my mind, the universe has shown me that nebulae - in my opinion, some of the most gorgeous and complex objects out there - are actually simple. The image above was produced by 31 lines of code, which is far, far less than any of my previous attempts. The code that actually defines the nebulae itself is about 20 lines. Dead simple.
An Exploration of Procedural Content in Art, Music, and Reality