Monday, June 18, 2012

Planet Color Studies

I'm continuing to work on optimal control for rockets. Practical Methods for Optimal Control and Estimation Using Nonlinear Programming looks like a very good book on the subject. I just got a copy, but I found a PDF of it online somewhere that convinced me it was worthwhile.

In the meantime here are a couple of color studies for 2D planets:

Which of the following two options would be better?
  • Always show planet in cross-section
  • Have a foreground layer that fades away when the player is underground

A foreground cap could add to the exploration aspect of the game by hiding underground tunnels. On the other hand I'd have to draw a spherical planet on it or something, which would be tricky to do well.


Unknown said...

Oooh. The first is rather bright and pretty, the second looks like a desolate asteroid. I think it really depends on which style you'd want to go for.

If you were going to put tunnels into the bright happy planet, I would hide the cross section. The tunnels should be dark looking, and when zoomed out I think the light and dark color schemes would clash. For the second dark scheme, I think I would leave it as is actually.

On a related note, I've been thinking about making a small asteroid mining game lately after making this Chipmunk Pro example project: Your darker image was exactly the sort of color scheme I was thinking for that.

James McNeill said...

Style-wise I had in mind a variety of planets with different color schemes, so these would be just a couple of examples. (You've got to have all the fantasy staples of take-one-biome-and-make-a-planet-out-of-it: Hoth, Tattooine, Dagoba, Dune, etc.) So it'd be entirely possible to have tunnels on the green planet. In fact, I covered up some of the tunnels on it already, experimenting with that sort of thing. They're the little gray areas up at the top; I was trying to figure out what the tunnel mouths would look like.

Asteroid mining sounds like it could be fun. (And that's a cool video from Scott!) I don't have a clear set of activities for this game yet; mining's one I want to experiment with. The ideas I have for trying are:

Demolition: Try to blow apart asteroids along fault lines to expose the valuable material with minimal explosives (because they cost money, say, and/or you have an inventory limit). Basically you're trying to optimize for fuel/refining costs for moving and purifying low-grade ore versus blasting costs for isolating the high-grade ore.

Orbital Transfer: Put ore chunks on trajectories to pass near an orbiting refinery elsewhere. Maybe there'd be tugs there to catch the asteroid pieces.

Making these into fun things to do is an open question, though. Experimentation will be required.

Dennis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dennis said...

Invisible tunnels is very comfortable to look at, and is very interesting. However, it hides important information.

I think visible tunnels is very noisy; it's a minor headache mentally navigating the obstacle course.

Making the background blended with space might reduce mental strain.

owen said...

slightly transparent fog of war. simple and easy to implement