For some time now (about 8 months) I'm spending my weekends programming this new engine + demo in C++ from scratch (using only the OpenGL API, because of the obvious hardware acceleration advantage).
All planets are 100% procedural, real sized, have their own characteristics (some are Earth like, some not), and have orbit and rotation. Planets may have moons orbiting around them as well. It is perfectly possible to land at any of them, leave the ship and walk around. You can even see sunrises and sunsets.
I am developing this demo with a Core2Duo @ 3GHZ and an ATI HD5770 with an average of 350 fps in space and 75 fps at ground level, using moderate quality (the one shown here). Quality is configurable from very low to very high quality (at below 30 fps in my 5770, though). But it runs even on integrated hardware, like some Intel chipsets (around 20 fps in low but somewhat acceptable quality mode, at ground level).
This is a "teaser" that shows some features of the engine.
Etherea1 Teaser is a preparation for my upcoming (independent) interplanetary multiplayer game that I am starting to code (expecting around 8 weekends more to release a working game prototype).
Although the engine itself already allows for full control including landing at any of the planets, the demo presented today is only semi-interactive. It won't allow you to fully control the ship, but will allow you to look around using your mouse. Moving the mouse will look up/down and roll. Moving the mouse with left-button (or space) pressed will rotate left/right. You can change the field of view with the '[' and ']' keys.
There is a lot of work to be done yet, but the engine is stable enough to allow me to start the game coding.
SEMI-INTERACTIVE DEMO CONTROLS:
Mouse : roll and up/down
Mouse+left-button: left/right and up/down
'[' : less field of view
']' : more field of view
ESC : quits demo
On this teaser, the voyage is automatically controlled by the CPU, but you need to keep looking around (use your mouse...) to find the best views.
SOME TECHNICAL INFORMATION
This is a custom spherical quadtree engine that can split indefinitely and generates GPU ridged-noise in real-time. Because of floating-point limitations (to be revisited), the teaser is currently capped at level 14. All planets and textures are procedural and real-sized. All planets have independent properties and orbit around a star. Planets can have moons. Planets can be landed on and explored.
Many sources of technical information were very useful, including Nishita, Sean Oneil, Perlin, Stefan Gustavson, Hugo Elias, DevMaster and GameDev, and others.
The chip-tune music is based on Amiga music from 1992 by Grim and Mel O'dee.
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Teaser download link: http://www.imersiva....=Etherea1Teaser (64 kb)
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Please note that this demo executable is highly compressed and, because of the non-standard exe header, some anti-virus will falsely flag it as "malware", as is happening with many 64k demoscene productions.