Physics, Real Scale and Space Travels

I’m pleased to announce that in the next days I am going to publish the new video series concerning Seamless Space Travels :) I have just published the first video that shows a Seamless Suborbital Spaceflight that ends with an Atmospheric Re-Entry. In this video you are also going to see the Procedural Terrain engine at work. I am also going to explain how I managed the dilemma: Physics VS Playability.

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After the first technical videos regarding Take-Offs, Landings, Navigation Modes and Collisions I’m finally ready to show you a new video series. This time we will focus on Space Travel, starting with a Suborbital Flight and Re-Entry, then we will travel to a Space Station, other Planets and finally to other Stars! All seamless! :)

Today we start with the first video of this new series :)

In this video we are going to see a travel from city to city flying over 100 km from the ground.
A flight like this is called Suborbital Spaceflight and Allows to reach much higher speeds than a traditional planetary flight above 100 km because there is no atmospheric drag.
We are going to see also a typical Atmospheric Re-Entry done with the help of the Reverse Thrusters and the Procedural Terrain Generator at work.

In this video, there are a few things to note.

Continuity
There are no loading screens during the game, the transition from ground to space and back has no change of instances, without interruptions. Only a small wait when loading the textures and patterns of cities and planets. You will see the same continuity even while traveling between Planets and Stars.

Real Scale
Everything you see in this project is in Real Scale. This means that even a simple trip into orbit Involves many technical problems: from the rendering to the playability. A trip into space is extremely long, for this reason you have the possibility to enable the Time Accelerator option.

Time Accelerator
You may have noticed the appearing of the string: Time 2X, 5X, 10X which is followed by an increase in the speed of the ship. It’s the Time Acceleration function. The Universe is huge and without a function like this would be impossible to explore it in human time. In NV I tried to keep Physics as much Real as possible but at the same time trying to keep everything Playable.

Real Physics with some exceptions
I tried to simulate Gravity, Dynamics, Collisions and Atmospheric Friction as best as I could. The only two things that are currently outside the canons of physics are the acceleration, sometimes too exaggerated, and the extreme speeds achievable. Both of these things are necessary to maintain a level of playability and, at the same time, allow the player to explore the universe in "human" time :)
I think also we should be optimistic about the future of space technologies, I mean maybe in the future will be invented some sort of anti G field and Warp Engines. ;)

A trip into space is not simple also because there is no atmospheric friction able to correct the trajectory. For this reason there is the Automatic Navigation mode that corrects the trajectories using the thrusters according to the direction desired by the pilot. I tried to make everything very simple but giving also the possibility for the expert pilots to activate a manual mode, you can see it from the videos 3 and 4.

Procedural Terrain
In the Re-Entry phase you have just seen the Procedural Terrain engine in action. This step gets the primary data from a low resolution bump map and creates new details procedurally. For this reason the mountains you have seen are completely invented, although located in areas where there are actually mountains. This is the only way to have the opportunity to explore millions of worlds without having the need of huge space on the disk. Please note that the planetary rendering routines will be improved later on. Now I am working to make NV playable as soon as possible. ;)

Era of the game and Cities
The cities: New Bozen and Escalo, are completely fictional. You will see many other fancy cities on Earth and millions of other procedurally generated Outposts and Cities on the other Planets around the Galaxy.
this project is set in the fourth millennium in a post apocalyptic era where there is nothing of the past and everything has been recreated by the survivors.

Ok, that’s all for now! In the next days I am going to post the other Space Travel Videos.
Stay tuned! :)

Good work.

Author

Thank you :)

When will this be released?

Author

Roadmap says mid 2015 for iOS/MacOS, late 2015 for Windows/Android

It sounds like you're striking a good balance between realism and fun. I'm okay with things not always being 100% true to real physics because it can really bog down the experience in some cases. Either way, good work.

Author

Exactly, especially in a game like this :)