Been fine-tuning the math this month. After more than three years, I really did finally get them For a while there I wasn't sure I ever would. Now on to ships...
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.
A while ago I said I wasn't going to get caught up in planets. I lied. Oh 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.
Too addicted to these things. Trying for a bit of a sharper look now.
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.
Oh, and looks like we also get clouds for free!
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.
The last one was after a half-day (morning) of work, now here's after a full day. Better scattering, better surface, and a bad attempt at clouds (they'll get better). Definitely the best so far!
I swore that I wouldn't go to bed until I made a good-looking planet in ShaderToy. No complexity, no frills, no BS...just finding out what makes a planet look good. LT planets look pretty bad IMO.
Thankfully, I was successful. Not to say that this is the best-looking planet ever, or anything, but it's a definite improvement over my previous works. AND, I finally implemented "the real deal" atmospheric scattering, instead of the cheap hacks I've been using up to this point. It took many hours of staring at O'Neil's GPU gems article. In the end, I was able to simplify his implementation to about 13 lines and achieve good results. It's nice to finally have this technique under my belt
Not sure yet if this level of quality will be achievable in-game yet...but given that it's running at 60FPS in just a pixel shader, I would say it will probably be fine