Open space to planet transfer and vice versa


I am having allot of trouble imagining how I can transfer from space to planet and vice versa with the following in mind:

When on the planet, it is a standard terrain (not a sphere) with limited size. How do I go from a round shape in space to a flat-ish area on the planet? How do I make the terrain look huge when only a certain amount can be rendered? For now, my terrain is a square and I used water to make the horizon, which means I am limited to island planets for now.

I already have planets in space orbiting a yellow ball that is supposed to be a sun but everything looks so awful, especially up close.

I guess the idea is to trick the player in thinking that he is going through some atmosphere before loading the terrain grid and having some sort of LOD for when getting close to the planet. I don’t need it to be as good as Kerbal Space Program but I want something nice.

I was thinking that where ever you enter the planet, you wind up around the same area on the planet once transferred. This would also mean the the planet in space would not have any similarities to the actual surface. Also makes it a pain for planetary bombardment.

If anyone has seen this done before in Jme3 I would be very thankful for examples and/or ideas.


I can’t point you to any exemple for that.

But it seems to be a tricky problem, yes ^^ I would try to use a quad-tree to divide the planet surface in bunch of vertices. The more you approach the surface, the more it is devided and detailled. It will force you to have very slow motion when you are near the surface, because the division will take time.

Then, the current bunch of vertices could be translated to a terrain mesh when you land on it.

I know only one project of this kind : Infinity. This is a lot of procedural generation, and the guy achieve to pass from space to land smothly.

Also check for Elite Dangerous, which is something similar. And planetary annihilation for the spherical landscape.

You may find information on the technology, but I think it is a huge work, which will drive you away from your gameplay objectives. Most of games use a trick to make the space/atmospheric transition, for very good reasons I’m afraid ^^

Good luck !

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I don’t remember the name, but someone made such a transition (and with physical) using jme… was beautiful.

But you could also simplify your life by stopping ships getting too close to planets and having them bombard visible entities on the planet as seen from space, and allow ships to dock with planets kinda like freelancer did, where when you dock, you loose control of the ship, and it would then proceed towards the planet “airport”, getting smaller while getting there, while your camera would stay put and look at the ship. Kinda depends what you want to focus on.

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Might find this thread interesting: proceedural planet
The original poster had sais that he intended to open source the system, but has not been around in a while.

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Check out the “World of Inception” test case, you’ll have to fake a lot with size and space.

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Hi loopies,

Thanks for your post. I will go with what freelancer did but with a twist. When the player approaches the planet, the friction effect or air-burn will start gently and then get stronger and stronger until the player is completely blind and that is when the transition will happen. Does anyone know how can I go about making this kind of graphics? You know, like a kind of burning air effect surrounding the hull of the cockpit?

That would be awesome. I don’t know how to do that, but others probably have some good suggestions. Maybe check the shaderblow plugin… it has some effects (such as electricity) that might give you ideas or a starting point. Maybe combined with a transparent quad with some stuff on it. Oh wait, maybe particles?

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Yeah, I have shaderblow but I haven’t dived into how it works yet. If anyone has link to other shaders I would be :smile:

Hm maybee a color modifier to a more reddish theme and bloom to the max?

Btw I solve the same pboelm using neutral teleport stations in space :smile:
As my spaceships are to large for planetary travel anyway.