‘My God, it’s full of stars…’

Sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂 Thanks Arthur C. Clarke for being such a visionary!

Star rendering… I’ve left it alone for quite a while – as we’ve got plenty of other things to be working on at the moment – but now the planetary renderer is up to speed, capturing footage of a low orbit into a false dawn is really, really starting to bug me when I see that horrid textured sphere bulge over the horizon. No HDR bloom, no flares or effects. Plain ugly.

But, this brings me to one of my pet hates about games (in general, but specifically space games). Lens flares.

Lens flares occur inside complex lens arrangements – such as a telephoto lens – as light reflects internally leading to chromatic dispersion (called aberrations). There is one flare per lens. You can often see this effect in football matches, where telephoto lenses are used in the cameras, whenever they cross a light source such as a floodlight – you get a myriad of rainbow glows across the picture.

If we are being realistic, in space, through a cockpit canopy, no lenses are about to cause lens flares. We can stretch things a little – a carrier would not have a canopy, and would rely on video feeds relayed to a screen, so then we might have lenses and thus flares – but far future tech would probably have produced lenses which don’t reflect or cause dispersion… so again, I win. 🙂

But, when done properly, they do look ‘pretty’ and pretty catches the eye, So improbable as they would be, and as irritating as they are, lens flares are next on my rendering ToDo list.

It looks a lot better in action – so here’s a direct link to a quick video capture!


The technique here is taken from Michal Belanec’s superb OpenGL tutorial with his kind permission. We’ve licensed it for use in Dominion due to it’s subtle and extremely effective – umm… “effect”!

All I have to do is wedge it into the rendering pipeline 🙂 Work work work…

[Update] : Here it is wedged into the rendering pipeline 🙂 Next stop, Dominion!

Lens Flares in Engine


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Author: Mak View all posts by

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