As I slogged away on the scene coherency, I discovered that I had long broken Debris Fields, the principal component for planetary ring systems (amongst other things).
Fortunately, it wasn’t too badly broken, and after some digging I got them back on track, but having derailed myself I had piqued my interest in getting these things to the point where you can ‘fly into them’ from afar.
This involved some further development of the ‘Debris Field’ system (which is, ultimately, a collection of items like a particle system, within a confined volume) and now provides me with the following toys;
- infinite field volumes
- wrapping in XYZ space for an extremely large field of items
- wrapping in XZ space for a planar field like a ring system
- biased Halton Sequence distribution
- dense centre with sparse edges
- uniform distribution
- finite field volumes
- various field volume shapes
- moving debris
- rotating debris
Loads more work to do though, as ever. I need to get Impostor support in (rendering 3D models to small textures to use in place of the model), and then the Debris Fields will get much, much busier and denser as I’ll be able to fill in far more instances at a larger distance. But, for now, it’s shaping up pretty well. Collision yet to go in as well.
This led me to killing off one of the main bug-bears I’ve left on the edge of the radar (quite literally!) – scanner contacts. A small bug where contacts behind you tended to flick from one side of the scanner to the other is now dead, so you can actually decide on a contact and then aim toward it from whichever direction you are facing. I’ve also beautified it a little, with visible ‘rings’ for contacts to glide along.
This is a small change with a major impact. Each ring depicts the volumes of space you navigate through. The inner ring is ‘local space’ i.e. stuff that’s your most likely going to hit, or shoot at, or get shot by. Then there’s planetary space, which is more navigation oriented, then stellar and finally galactic. So the further out the ring, the less ‘immediate’ the contact concern is.
I’ve also added contact filtering in – so you can turn off waypoints, or vessel contacts etc.