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I have been interested in virtual worlds since reading the Traveller books way back last century. Since then I have been exploring some techniques for procedurally assisted generation of planetary surfaces and how to render them.

A few years back I came across OA when looking for Stanford Torus articles, and first discovered Iain Banks (Banks Orbital). Anyway, I have some bits of software that can make reasonable planets - mostly using gimp to generate the source and a fractal etch process to scramble the images.

This one is a guess at what his Fire Planet (Player of Games) might look like. The polar caps turned out quite nicely.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mej12btiskx0ih...2.png?dl=0
Hi. Welcome to OA!
That looks like nice fractal software (I sometimes use a long-winded process that doesn't always work as well as it might, from the Cartographer's Guild forums). Incidentally the Fire planet ecology from Player of Games is an interesting idea - I wonder if a modified version of it might fit into OA.
Ayy, welcome to the project! Always good to see new members! Big Grin
(10-25-2015, 08:20 PM)stevebowers Wrote: [ -> ]Hi. Welcome to OA!
That looks like nice fractal software (I sometimes use a long-winded process that doesn't always work as well as it might, from the Cartographer's Guild forums). Incidentally the Fire planet ecology from Player of Games is an interesting idea - I wonder if a modified version of it might fit into OA.

I can move this over to the modelling section, but in a nutshell, this is how the process works:-

The planet surface is modelled as a QuadCube of 256x256 point faces. These points are projected out to the unit sphere when required. The fractal process is similar to this http://freespace.virgin.net/hugo.elias/m...landsp.htm

and iteratively adjusts the height of each point. I call this a Fractal Etch.

The next step is you use a special texture map (its an artform!) to plot a colour to each point as an X-Y function of Height and Latitude. Whites at the top and bottom, greens near the center, light browns at high altitude and so on. The colour for most heights <0 are blue greens for oceans (if required)

Since the height map is just a monochrome image, you can use gimp to airbrush the rough desired locations of landmass to lighten (which is the same as elevation). The fractal patterns remain superimposed on the image. That made creating the fire planet above reasonably painless. Apart from a little bump mapping in gimp, that was the direct output of the program.

Its a different approach, but the nice thing is that the details like the polar caps are mostly controlled by careful details in the texture map - which is just a gimp/photoshop job that anyone can do. The eye loves fractals - the features called "ice reefs" were a complete surprise when they appeared. The description of them as the tops of submerged mountains seemed to fit, but it was not at all premeditated or intended. Just fractals.
Welcome to the forums Smile
Meant to post this earlierBig Grin

Hi there - Welcome to OA! If you have any questions or concerns about the setting or the project, feel free to post em here or on the relevant sub-forum. Obviously, you've already got a handle on sharing ideas and writings and such on the forum, but wanted to make clear we're all happy to help if you need any.

Cheers,

Todd
(10-26-2015, 05:40 AM)Drashner1 Wrote: [ -> ]Meant to post this earlierBig Grin

Hi there - Welcome to OA! If you have any questions or concerns about the setting or the project, feel free to post em here or on the relevant sub-forum. Obviously, you've already got a handle on sharing ideas and writings and such on the forum, but wanted to make clear we're all happy to help if you need any.

Cheers,

Todd

Thank you all for the welcome. I am still reading the content - there is a lot of it - and hope that I can make a contribution.