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Pioneer versus SpaceEngine (graphical features request)


Vlastan
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I am following the development of Pioneer since alpha 8 and i i really love the game and the work that the devs are putting into the project.

Somedays ago i discovered another space simulation game by the name of SpaceEngine and i was instantly blown away by its graphic engine.

It features a complete simulation of the universe, counting hundreds of procedural galaxies wich are free to explore in a seamless exploration (planets and moons surfaces included).

Unlike pioneer tough, it doesn't have a proper gameplay mode.

http://en.spaceengine.org/

So, after some time i spent on it i decided to share my thoughts on how pioneer graphical engine should continue to evolve by reaching the features SpaceEngine already has in it.

Here are some comparisons:

Earth Scene

comp1.jpg

Sunset

comp2.jpg

Sun

comp3.jpg


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Geraldine
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Yes Space Engine is impressive and no mistake. With regards to Pioneer though, everything is still a work in progress. I am sure eventually most of those graphical features you pointed out will be in the game at a later date. Keep an eye on the new alphas as they come out. The devs have put a massive amount of work into the game so far 🙂


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Vlastan
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Absolutely... i have great faith in Pioneer, i check the forum every day for news 😉

I'm also contributing in the issue tracker


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DarkOne
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I might be wrong on this, but SpaceEngine is a simulator and doesn't have some of the features that Pioneer has right now. Yes, the SpaceEngine has some great views and uses actual charts for accuracy in its calculations. I'm sure Pioneer will get close to this state in beta or beyond once people make some mods for the game. I just don't think it is a fair comparison since the SpaceEngine doesn't do space combat, 3rd person view, landing on planets, space stations, colonies, etc. But I do agree, I hope Pioneers graphics can come close to the effects that we do see in SpaceEngine it would be great.


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Vlastan
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Just to make it clear, here's what are the features that pioneer engine should have as soon as possible:

Clouds on planets (not talking about volumetric clouds, just a simple layer of clouds) - this is probably the most important thing

Better athmosphere simulation (providing actual sunset and dusk colorations) maybe difficult to code but still an important feature to have

Better sun glare effect (maybe a lens flare effect too) a simple replacement of the actual texture should do the trick

I don't think these features should be hard to code into the game, so i hope to see them coming soon.


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Geraldine
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Well, I dont have a clue how hard those features would be to code (I would love to see those things too), but there are very talented coders on the project. So I guess it is just a matter of suggesting ideas/waiting/hoping/praying/grovelling and begging, in that order and see what they come up with! 😆

Well, for an Elite IV hopeful like me, all that comes naturally 🙄


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robn
 robn
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Vlastan wrote:
Just to make it clear, here's what are the features that pioneer engine should have as soon as possible:

Clouds on planets (not talking about volumetric clouds, just a simple layer of clouds) - this is probably the most important thing

Better athmosphere simulation (providing actual sunset and dusk colorations) maybe difficult to code but still an important feature to have

Better sun glare effect (maybe a lens flare effect too) a simple replacement of the actual texture should do the trick

I don't think these features should be hard to code into the game, so i hope to see them coming soon.

First you say it might be difficult, then you say its not?

Yes, these would be nice things to have. I disagree that they're urgent. Remember that Pioneer is not simply a visual simulator - we're trying to get a game going in there too. If we had to prioritise something the gameplay aspects would win out. But we don't prioritise, because its all volunteer effort and people work on whatever interests them.


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fluffyfreak
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It's pretty, and I'd like to see water added, plus some of our lighting can do with a little tweaking. You can always take a look their shaders btw, just extract the zip file and look in their "data/shaders" folder 🙂

Personally though I think there are a lot of other areas beside these graphical effects that need work first, city rendering is a bit too slow right now, and very disconnected - it'd be nice to have a more global solution with roads although that would be a massive undertaking. Gameplay systems need some work to reach parity with Frontier, missions for military, factions (eg: imperial vs federation), crew loadouts, turrets, mining etc. So you can see that there's lot of scope for things to do.

Plus I sometimes just like to write completely random and tangental stuff that I'm not even sure that people will find appropriate 😀

... because I can 😆


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trumpet
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Those are some nice visuals that engine has and I will have to try it...but I also believe Pioneer will get there to the same level and instead of flying around looking at a beautiful yet empty star system, you'll find someone waiting there for you...


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tomm
 tomm
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The clouds and the reflections on those screenshots are lovely. The crazy rays around the stars look bad though. There is a "no pink nebulae" rule, and I think there should be a "no crazy 2nd coming of jesus sun effects" rule.


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trumpet
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Quote:
There is a "no pink nebulae" rule, and I think there should be a "no crazy 2nd coming of jesus sun effects" rule.

Maybe the disciples misheard the J-Man. Maybe he said he was the sun of God...

🙄


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Feenicks
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tomm wrote:
I think there should be a "no crazy 2nd coming of jesus sun effects" rule.

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. At the moment the star effects already look a little biblical, every planet looks like it has a crucifix coming out of it at sunrise.


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Vlastan
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It may be exagerated but i think it is however better than the pioneer star effect, wich is too much minimalistic and simple.


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Geraldine
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This is a very subjective point in how the games looks, some like everything overdone while others like things minimalistic. Could it be possible to ever satisfy both camps? Certainly scalable detail effects can help, that way you can turn off tutti fruity stuff if you dont like it.


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highlander
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I don't like this picture (talking about the SpaceEngine screenie here):

comp3.jpg

The problem with it is because the texture you see in photos of the sun like this...

article-1172399-04944753000005DC-421_468x380.jpg

... is that the photo is actually an X-Ray photo which has had false colour applied to it. If you look at the sun, you couldn't possibly see this type of texture. You would need to apply a considerable amount of filtering to be able to see anything other than a purely bright disc of light. Even as you get closer to the sun, this will only get brighter because the light has less distance over which to dissipate as you approach the surface.

In Pioneer, you should have a solid disc of colour representing the category (colour) of the star, surrounded by a radiosity "glow" effect that is designed to give a "brighter-than-white" effect.

Pioneer's sun "cross" effect is simply lifted straight from Frontier as a placeholder. It does look a bit daft, and I would expect it to be removed and replaced with a better graphical representation of the sun.

In Frontier, on Earth, I always thought the sun looked far too small in the sky.


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s2odan
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Quote:
In Frontier, on Earth, I always thought the sun looked far too small in the sky.

Thats probably down to lack of atmospheric scattering, AFAIK the sun looks larger from our perspective (On the surface) due to its effects.

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is that the photo is actually an X-Ray photo which has had false colour applied to it........

Its probably not out of the realm of possibility for class M stars and brown dwarf types though, as for others yeah they would be far too bright to make any real details, apart from perhaps a sunspot?

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Better looking sun (even without lens flare)

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that a lens flare? 🙂

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terrain shading based on sun position

Thats already there.

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Realistic sunset colours

Luomu created a branch with light scattering, you can check it out here:

https://github.com/Luomu/pioneer/tree/scattering

[attachment=845:pioneer-msvc-9 2011-05-14 22-32-26-92.jpg]


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Marcel
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At the risk of muddying the waters, here's another impressive one.

http://outerra.com/

I'm sure it wouldn't run on my computer.


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Vlastan
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s2odan wrote:
Quote:
In Frontier, on Earth, I always thought the sun looked far too small in the sky.

Thats probably down to lack of atmospheric scattering, AFAIK the sun looks larger from our perspective (On the surface) due to its effects.

Quote:
is that the photo is actually an X-Ray photo which has had false colour applied to it........

Its probably not out of the realm of possibility for class M stars and brown dwarf types though, as for others yeah they would be far too bright to make any real details, apart from perhaps a sunspot?

Quote:
Better looking sun (even without lens flare)

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that a lens flare? 🙂

Quote:
terrain shading based on sun position

Thats already there.

Quote:
Realistic sunset colours

Luomu created a branch with light scattering, you can check it out here:

https://github.com/Luomu/pioneer/tree/scattering

[attachment=0]pioneer-msvc-9 2011-05-14 22-32-26-92.jpg[/attachment]

The sun in SpaceEngine uses the same technique as Pionner, just a imple billboard sprite, so it's not a lens flare. (tough a lens flare in pioneer would be cool)

The terrain shading could be better, having different types of terrain reflections (ice planets would be more glossy and shinier than earthlike planets) also a proper water shading is needed.

The screen with light scattering looks cool, will it be implemented in the next alpha ?


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s2odan
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Quote:
The sun in SpaceEngine uses the same technique as Pionner, just a imple billboard sprite, so it's not a lens flare.

Well let me put it this way, when you look at the sun does it look like that? 🙂 Now use a kind of lens and it may well look like that. Hence lens flare... even if it is not calculated to be as such by the engine, it still looks like one.


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Geraldine
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I just had to comment on that shot of Hades in s2odan's above post, it just looks so cool silhouetted like that 😯 Any professional dev studio would be proud of that for a game at the alpha stage. Great work guys! 😎


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