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Submitted by Jake Cannell, posted on September 29, 2000




Image Description, by Jake Cannell



This is a decent shot from my procedural planet, Khundali IV.

It has an essentially infinite procedural texture, and the planet itself is about the size of earth.

Its part of my research engine called Immersion, follow the link to learn more about it and get some more screenshots.

Or just try the demo.

The engine doesn't have any special effects per se. It could really use atmospherics and a star background, but that will have to wait. It still has a little ways to go still before its ready for use in a game (performance optimization, geforce stuff, etc). My approach so far has been to focus on some very specific and important component(in this case its planet sized terrain texturing/modeling), rather than throw in a bunch of mediocre special effects that everyone else has.

For my next project, I am going to start working on a volume renderer to extend the Immersion engine. I think the hardware is about ready for this, and its absolutely necessary for rendering just about everything interesting: forests (millions or billions of realistic trees, not the poor excuses we have in games now), clouds/gases, the rings of saturn, etc.

If any of you coders out there are interested in working on this or other related projects, let me know.

Jake Cannell
jcannell@cs.ucsb.edu


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
 
Phantom

September 29, 2000, 09:32 AM

I've looked at the screenshots on your page, and some of them are even better than the one you send... It's absolutely amazing. Especially the whole concept behind it! I surely hope you'll add more features to the planet; it's a very cool place. :) Would it be possible to generate a whole universe this way? I mean, Elite could have used this kind of graphics... Incredible.

 
Chiguire

September 29, 2000, 09:35 AM

wow, that looks great!!! it looks so realistic. Does it have some preprocessing stuff, not just the generation of the terrain, but something else, or it justs generates it? how many polys are in that screenshot? how's the fps?

 
Nick

September 29, 2000, 10:48 AM

Awesome! Is there a basic set of input data or is everything generated from one constant formula? I mean, would it be possible to approximate the surface of Mars by giving just a few thousands exact coordinates and colours?

 
Timothy Barnes

September 29, 2000, 12:33 PM

Cool. I'm sick of Earth landscape engines. This is actually pretty cool and useful.

 
The Wolf

September 29, 2000, 01:34 PM

I agree with what Phantom says, the screenshots on your site are even more impressive... IMPRESSIVE, that's what you should call the engine :), instead of immersion, call it Impressive :) but serious now, i gotta say Excellent job, I have been trying to do something similar for a while but due to lack of time I got nowhere near this level of detail.

 
Lucid

September 29, 2000, 06:36 PM

Hmm, demo finally crashed when the error log reached 1.29 megs in size(yeah, just left it in the background for a while after I got bored waiting and when I maximized it again, cratered)... are there any hardware/software requirements that I might need...?

 
Lucid

September 29, 2000, 06:39 PM

oops, probably should give some specs...
TNT2 M64
128 Megs Ram
PII 400
Win2k

 
Jake Cannell

September 29, 2000, 08:27 PM

Thanks for the encouragement guys ;)

Lucid: I should have warned you, there is a serious bug in the D3D system - resizing or minimizing the window cause it to crash . . . I'll fix that soon - I forget about it for a while.

I also forgot to get rid of some debug comments in the log file - so it can get pretty big after a while - but this shouldn't cause a crash. Read the readme files to see how the movement controls work.

Nick: The planet shader/texture has alot of parameters, including a few tables of input colors and shape parameters. As far as approximating the surface of Mars: I wish! The input colors I used for Khundali IV actually came from shots of Mars on the web - hence the colours look a little 'martian' - but the planet itself looks nothing like Mars.

Modeling planets is really quite difficult, especially in the time constraints for real-time. You could start with a real dataset, say a mars heightfield and texture, and then add detail procedural, which is something I may try as I extend the engine further.

Chiguire: There is a small amount of input data harcoded into the texture itself, and when it creates the planet texture, some large color tables are intiliazed, but other than this, there is no precomputation no. The framerate was probably around 15 (its a fixed framerate, user-settable), and the number of tris I would guess around 10k - not that many actually.

Phantom: Thanks;) Thats exactly one direction I would like to take it to, the creation of whole galaxies. A first step would be a texture/shader language and compiler for the textures, and then a planet/system/galaxy editor. I think it could be used to great effect in epic space games.

 
EGreg

September 29, 2000, 10:38 PM

Very impressive work indeed... and immersive, too! :)

I remember about 5 or 6 years ago reading in Scientific American magazine about fractal planet-generating techniques that this guy was working on (back when I wasn't into programming :), and I was interested. I downloaded and watched 1 or 2 MPGs, in one they wree zooming in on a planet that looked a lot like Earth, with an atmosphere and all, all th way down to a cool rocky landscape. Same type of detail level ... fractal methods. However, back then of course they weren't donig it in real-time. Is yours in real-time, by the way?

I LIKE IT!
-Greg

 
Jake Cannell

September 30, 2000, 01:20 AM


Thanks for the encouragement guys ;)

Lucid: I should have warned you, there is a serious bug in the D3D system - resizing or minimizing the window cause it to crash . . . I'll fix that soon - I forgot about it for a while.

I also forgot to get rid of some debug comments in the log file - so it can get pretty big after a while - but this shouldn't cause a crash. Read the readme files to see how the movement controls work.

Nick: The planet shader/texture has alot of parameters, including a few tables of input colors and shape parameters. As far as approximating the surface of Mars: I wish! The input colors I used for Khundali IV actually came from shots of Mars on the web - hence the colours look a little 'martian' - but the planet itself looks nothing like Mars.

Modeling planets is really quite difficult, especially in the time constraints for real-time. You could start with a real dataset, say a mars heightfield and texture, and then add detail procedural, which is something I may try as I extend the engine further.

Chiguire: There is a small amount of input data harcoded into the texture itself, and when it creates the planet texture, some large color tables are intiliazed, but other than this, there is no precomputation no. The framerate was 20 (its a fixed framerate, user-settable), and the number of tris I would guess around 10k - not that many actually.

Phantom: Thanks;) Thats exactly one direction I would like to take it to, the creation of whole galaxies. A first step would be a texture/shader language and compiler for the textures, and then a planet/system/galaxy editor. I think it could be used to great effect in epic space games.

EGreg: Yes, its real-time - try the demo (but be warned: read the readme).

What you probably saw a few years back was Ken Musgrave's fractal zoom mpg. Ken just started his own company this year, www.fractalworlds.com, and they are working on a bryce-like planet terrain editor that will have a real-time viewer. I met with Ken this summer and we talked for a while about using this engine for his real-time viewer. Unfortunately, it looks like now they are going to make their viewer in house. I wish them luck ;)


 
Mark Friedenbach

September 30, 2000, 01:44 AM

from error.txt (before it quit):

"sorry, your device must support 32-bit texture formats"

Now isn't this rather limiting..

(I was looking forward to viewing your demo, but [since I run on a Voodoo3], it doesn't look like that is possible..)

 
MrDevlin

September 30, 2000, 06:06 AM

Wow, those screenshots on your site are great!!
What formula do you use to generate all this, the landscape looks very natural. I'm just starting a project for school to test genetic algorithms and i think it would be very cool to simulate an entire world :-). I actually do not know how to generate realistic looking terrain at all. Maybe somebody has a link?

 
Squint

November 24, 2000, 09:05 PM

Am I a little late to jump on this thread?

Ive been trying to do the same thing, using perlin noise - generate a procedural planet - but mine is flat and has a maximum size of 2^16 x 2^16 in the heightmap (short + short = integer). Still, its quite pretty so far. The thing yours does which I only wish mine did is LOD (Anyone know a good 'horizon detecting' algotithm? That's the only bit of ROAM I don't follow yet...)

More to the point, anyone know a fast random number generator? (I mean FAST! I saw an excellent open source one for cryptography once and I can't find it now...)

 
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