Over the past couple of days, I continued some work on the planetary atmospheres. First, I created a special version of the skybox that can be tinted to the color of a planet’s atmosphere. Then, I updated the planet and cloud shaders so that they can be “fogged”, which means basically transitioning to a solid color to simulate haze. The color of the atmosphere is also modulated by the atmosphere thickness of the planet; it will tend towards black the thinner the atmosphere is. The atmosphere also transitions smoothly out to space and back for the launching and landing animations.
The three images below is an example of a very thin atmosphere, a moderate atmosphere, and a very thick atmosphere viewed from the same spot on the same planet, to illustrate the effect.
I think I am happy with how planetary atmospheres are working. Coming up next will be some more work done on the landing and launching animations.
I was working on planet landing and launching when I had to redo how some of the player camera cinematics worked in the game. That affected the docking bay launch sequence as well. And you know how rabbit holes go…
I was looking at the docking bay and wondered to myself why I did it using 2D sprites when the rest of the game is in 3D. So… mistake corrected. It’s now in 3D, and not only that… I threw in some fancy lighting effects as well. I hope you all like it!
Note: The video does not show the effect of the air rushing out when the docking bay decompresses… for some reason that effect is working inconsistently. Grrr, Unity… but it is there and when it works it looks really nice (the particles are now lit by the lights as they rush out).
Initialize close up clouds correctly (currently, it is using the default density and color instead of actual planet’s)
Fade in close up cloud transition instead of popping them on
Fade out the clouds at edges of the map
Make the camera field of view go wider when landing
The landing animation itself is pretty close to final. The launch animation needs a lot of love.
In the video, I land at several places on several different planets. I never get tired of it – it is so pretty. Watching the cloud shadows roll across the terrain is nice and relaxing. Just wait until I put in weather effects. 🙂
You might be wondering why I make the camera swing away from the planet. I do this on purpose – I needed some point during the animation to pull a switcheroo on the player – the planet sphere is actually taken away and replaced with a terrain grid. I can’t do that while the player is staring at the planet – it’d be very noticeable and look horribly wrong. I think once I add in the heat shield glow and the audio effects, it’ll all look and sound just right.
Here are some random pictures I took while working on the planet landings. The weird grid you see is the terrain grid, and the idea is that the resolution decreases the further out you are from the center of the terrain grid. And of course, there is the video as well.