Yesterday I spent some time coming up with the component that populates planets with rocks. Not elements, mind you… that’s next. These are just plain old ordinary rocks that you don’t mine. Why? Because if the planet was populated with just elements, it’d look really weird. So having a blend of ordinary rocks dotting the terrain along with elements you can mine should make things look and feel more natural.
Also, the number of rocks present on a planet is proportional to the mineral density reported by the ship scanner. And, they will generally be placed in the higher elevations.
I have made it so that you collide with the rocks instead of driving through them. Having the TV drive through 3D objects in the game would just look broken and wrong. The collision behavior works nicely for the most part but will need some fine tuning later to clean up the extreme angle cases.
I have discovered another weakness in Unity. Unity takes 4 whole seconds to instantiate the 2500 rocks I am placing on the planet. And that is on my bleeding edge 10 core Alienware PC! That is a ridiculous amount of time. So, real-time instantiation is a major performance issue with Unity and I’m going to have to try and think of alternative solutions.
Here is a video showing a nice cruise through the terrain finding and bumping into ordinary non-mineable rocks.