The new Celestial Body renderer at work… check out the Videos section as well for a more interesting look!
These aren’t to scale – as they would all be miniscule against the gas giant! – but they are scaled just to show variety.
The renderer is currently using free ‘authored’ texture maps sourced from the internet, which are placeholder only. They won’t be used in the final game, as a procedural renderer will be used by default, with our own authored maps overriding them where we see fit so we have full control over ‘key worlds’ that have a pivotal role in the game.
The system for planets uses a diffuse texture map for the colour appearance of the planet surface, combined with a normal map for extra lighting detail. There is also an ‘effects’ map – which packs specular and emissive properties into the red and blue channels, leaving green and alpha free for other effects. Our uber-planet-shader then performs the magic of combining this all into the planet surface you see. On top of that, another cloud layer is added where appropriate – which is a single texture normal map, combining normal and diffuse into a rgb, and alpha.
The textures used here are all 4096 x 2048 – which uses about 5 to 9 Mb per texture as PNG!
The system for stars is much simpler, with a single diffuse texture map being all that’s needed. The lens flare system takes care of the rest!