Here’s a tutorial about a possible way to create planets and indeed Earth. I’ll briefly explain the main textures used and from then on go through the code step-by-step to explain what I did and why.

I had to tone down the size and fps, and leave out the bumpmap for this demo because my Opera browser was halting when I added the other images and clouds swf demo 😛

(notice the dynamic clouds and the glow around the globe)

On my core 2 duo laptop I get about 20-25 fps whith a slightly larger stage size and the movie set to 30 fps. Although the planet looks very nice to me, I also realize it isn’t very practical for games or other realtime simulations. To get better fps, you can remove the bumpmap texture, replace the realtime clouds with a fixed texture, user fewer segments in the spheres, zoom out more, or use lower resolution textures for land- and cloud materials. A combination of two or more of these suggestions should easily get you above 35 fps.

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Many space shooters use this concept where you are the pilot that looks out from the front window, lasering down enemies for bounty, right. Ever noticed spacedust? It’s very subtle when it is used, but it adds to the realism of outer space, making the space feel less empty, less static.

Here’s how you can do that in Papervision3D, using ParticleFields. I’ve used the trunk of the papervision code repository, revision 851, but it should work with the last release without to much hassle. Note that I’m no PV3D guru; I just started to learn this stuff and I’m just sharing what I’ve learned so far.

(note: space dust uses the skybox from the skybox tutorial)
    Here’s how it works:

  • divide space into a 3d grid and parts of the spacedust cloud on 8 gridpoints directly around the camera (the ship), we’ll call these dustpockets
  • when the camera moves, dustpockets are removed and created to keep only the 8 gridpoints around the ship occupied

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Adding a skybox in Papervision3D is extremely easy. I couldn’t find a whole lot of examples/tutorials about skyboxes in Papervision3D, but I managed to find a skybox tutorial source and learned how to do it. The tutorial I got the initial source from is actually about adding stars using particle fields, but I just used the skybox part of it (and used the textures).

I decided to clean it up and make a nice class out of it. I’ve used the trunk of the papervision code repository, revision 851, but since it’s very basic stuff I doubt it’ll break with future versions.


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