StarDust for JME, please review and disect!

Hey peoples,

A long time ago I was interested in getting a StarField effect working inside JME3, the only code i found was for JME2 and i couldnt work out how to port that code. I asked if there was a JME3 version and the only voice that spoke was Norman suggesting I should perhaps make it myself. So i did…

So here it is. I feel it works quite well, but no doubt it can be made bigger or better. If people want to make it better please resubmit your code so we can all take use of it.

Please note: the UpdateAlpha() function was mostly taken from the JME2 version.


package FOT.StarDust;

import com.jme3.asset.AssetManager;

import com.jme3.material.Material;

import com.jme3.material.RenderState.BlendMode;

import com.jme3.math.Vector3f;

import com.jme3.renderer.Camera;

import com.jme3.renderer.RenderManager;

import com.jme3.renderer.ViewPort;

import com.jme3.renderer.queue.RenderQueue.Bucket;

import com.jme3.scene.Geometry;

import com.jme3.scene.Mesh;

import com.jme3.scene.Node;

import com.jme3.scene.Spatial;

import com.jme3.scene.VertexBuffer;

import com.jme3.scene.control.Control;

import com.jme3.util.BufferUtils;

import java.nio.FloatBuffer;

import java.util.ArrayList;

import java.util.Random;



  • @author Chris


    public class StarDust extends Node implements Control


    boolean doAlphaBlending = true; // make this false if you dont want alpha blending

    private ArrayList<Vector3f> dustLocations3f; // this houses the locations of all bits of star dust

    private float dustRGBAs[]; // this houses the specific colour information for each bit of dust

    private Mesh dustMesh; // the mesh of vertex data

    Geometry dustGeometry; // Geometry (the mesh, material, colouring, options)

    int numDusts;

    Camera cam;

    Vector3f currentCamLocation;

    Vector3f previousCamLocation;

    float cubedSize;

    Random random;

  • Name - of the Node (this)
  • numDusts - that will appear in the ‘cubedSize’ surrounding the camera
  • cubedSize- the length of the virtual cube (in any direction) that the dust will be located in.
  • cam - the camera on which the cube (and so dust) will always “follow”.


    public StarDust(String name, int numDusts, float cubedSize, Camera cam, AssetManager assetManager)


    // Insert the name of the Node


    // reference some info!

    this.numDusts = numDusts; = cam;

    this.cubedSize = cubedSize / 2; // we divide this figure here to avoid division in the update loop

    // Init the pseudo random number generator

    random = new Random();

    // Since we cant seem to attach this node to the Camera, lets do it another way

    // Grab the current camera location

    currentCamLocation = cam.getLocation();

    previousCamLocation = currentCamLocation.clone();

    // Now set the StarDust node to the Cam location


    // Init the dust locations and colour arrays

    dustLocations3f = new ArrayList<Vector3f>(numDusts);

    dustRGBAs = new float[numDusts * 4]; // * 4 because we need to store 4 values for each star dust

    // Init an initial random distribution of star dust through the virtual cube based on inputs

    for(int dustCount = 0; dustCount < numDusts; dustCount++)


    // Set the inital locations of each bit of dust

    dustLocations3f.add(dustCount, new Vector3f((random.nextFloat() * (this.cubedSize * 2)) + (currentCamLocation.x - this.cubedSize),

    (random.nextFloat() * (this.cubedSize * 2)) + (currentCamLocation.y - this.cubedSize),

    (random.nextFloat() * (this.cubedSize * 2)) + (currentCamLocation.z - this.cubedSize)));

    // Set the initial Colour values (4 and + to offset ‘dustCount’ at the correct location in the array)

    4] = 1f; // Red

    4+1] = 1f; // Green

    dustRGBAs[dustCount4+2] = 1f; // Blue

    4+3] = 1f; // Alpha


    // create the mesh

    dustMesh = new Mesh();

    // Ladies and gentlemen, Positions please!

    FloatBuffer vertices = BufferUtils.createFloatBuffer(dustLocations3f.toArray(new Vector3f[numDusts]));

    dustMesh.setBuffer(VertexBuffer.Type.Position, 3, vertices);

    // Now colours…

    dustMesh.setBuffer(VertexBuffer.Type.Color, 4, dustRGBAs);

    // Set some options



    // Dont forget this! … this solves everything… computer doesnt work, just restart it!


    // Use the unshaded material type, and we need to define vertex colouring here.

    Material material = new Material(assetManager, “Common/MatDefs/Misc/Unshaded.j3md”);

    material.setBoolean(“VertexColor”, true);

    // Set alpha blending to use transparent dust when its far away


    dustGeometry = new Geometry(“StarDust”);




    // attach the spatial to the node


    // Add the control to the node

    this.addControl(this); // dont know if “Leaking ‘this’ in constructor” matters.


    public void update(float tpf)


    // House keeping!

    previousCamLocation = currentCamLocation;

    currentCamLocation = cam.getLocation().clone();

    Vector3f differenceVector;

    differenceVector = currentCamLocation.subtract(previousCamLocation);

    // Move all dust particles based on their current location, and the difference

    // in movement of the camera position.

    for(int dustCount = 0; dustCount < numDusts; dustCount++)


    Vector3f d;

    d = dustLocations3f.get(dustCount);

    // calculate where the dust should now be along the X axis

    d.x = d.x - differenceVector.x;

    // Make minor modifications if d.X is now out of bounds

    if(d.x < currentCamLocation.x - cubedSize)

    d.x = d.x + cubedSize * 2;

    else if(d.x > currentCamLocation.x + cubedSize)

    d.x = d.x - cubedSize * 2;

    // calculate where the dust should now be along the Y axis

    d.y = d.y - differenceVector.y;

    // Make minor modifications if d.Y is now out of bounds

    if(d.y < currentCamLocation.y - cubedSize)

    d.y = d.y + cubedSize * 2;

    else if(d.y > currentCamLocation.y + cubedSize)

    d.y = d.y - cubedSize * 2;

    // calculate where the dust should now be along the Z axis

    d.z = d.z - differenceVector.z;

    // Make minor modifications if d.Z is now out of bounds

    if(d.z < currentCamLocation.z - cubedSize)

    d.z = d.z + cubedSize * 2;

    else if(d.z > currentCamLocation.z + cubedSize)

    d.z = d.z - cubedSize * 2;




    FloatBuffer vertices = BufferUtils.createFloatBuffer(dustLocations3f.toArray(new Vector3f[dustLocations3f.size()]));

    dustMesh.setBuffer(VertexBuffer.Type.Position, 3, vertices);

    dustMesh.setBuffer(VertexBuffer.Type.Color, 4, dustRGBAs);




    updateAlpha(); // update the alpha on all bits of dust…


    public void updateAlpha()


    // Get the current location of the camera

    Vector3f viewLocation = cam.getLocation();

    // loop through all the points

    for (int i = 0; i < dustLocations3f.size(); i++)


    float distance = viewLocation.distance(dustLocations3f.get(i));

    // once we have the distance to the viewer, we can calculate the new alpha

    float alpha = 0;

    if(distance > (cubedSize * 2)-0.001f) // anything thats a tiny bit less than the distance between the camera and the edge of the star field (or further)

    alpha = 0f; // … and so now we cant see this one



    alpha = 1f - (distance / cubedSize);


    // only update the alpha value…

    dustRGBAs[i*4+3] = alpha; // Alpha (i*4 value offset, then add another 3 value offset to get to the correct alpha)


    // re-enter the colours for the mesh so they can be displayed.


    dustMesh.setBuffer(VertexBuffer.Type.Color, 4, dustRGBAs);


    public Control cloneForSpatial(Spatial spatial) {

    return (Control) spatial;


    public void setSpatial(Spatial spatial) {


    public void setEnabled(boolean enabled) {


    public boolean isEnabled() {

    return true;


    public void render(RenderManager rm, ViewPort vp) {






    public void simpleInitApp() {

    // Start the StarDust

    // 1500, 300

    // 1000 700

    StarDust starDust = new StarDust(“StarDust”, 1000, 700f, cam, assetManager);




    Beware though, a strange effect can be seen if you increase your starfield area too big, it makes you feel like your going soooo very slow! Have fun… :slight_smile:

    Kind regards,


Extends node implements control? That should not be necessary, just make it a Control.

Just tested it, nice work

nice, but why did you use points instead of particles ? a particle has better graphics than a point = pixel.

Norman: Ah, my understanding continues to grow… :slight_smile: Thanks for the advice

tralala: There was an honest reason to this because that was my first focus, though its been so long since i made the switch i cant remember. Maybe i couldnt figure out something back then? This is likely to be the problem. Either way i dropped the idea… Anyway it could be a very respectable change idea and specific sprites would go a long way to make it look nicer.

No doubt its already been noted, but ive specifically left the dust as being somewhat big at 3f. So i guess this could be modified to get a higher resolution look as well.