A Long Journey
So when will this awesome sounding thing be available to use in my game?
Man if I had a buck for everytime I’d been asked that question, I could probably start my own mega grant fund lol. I started the forum thread for the Eden Project in September 2015. Truth be told, I had a working Spherical LOD system back in 2008 in an old game engine called Irrlicht 3D.
For a long time, I simply wasn’t in a position to say how long it would take me to finish Eden because I was still inventing new ways of doing new things I’d never done before, and well, learning Unreal Engine!
The Devil is in the Details
What a lot of people don’t realise, is that it’s not that hard to do a spherical mesh with a dynamic level of detail. The problem is not so much with the planet itself, it’s with all the stuff you have to put on the planet to stop it being a boring barren moon:
- how are you going to do biomes?
- How are you going to do hydrology?
- How are you going to do forests?
- How are you going to do cities?
- How are you going to do roads in the cities?
- How are you going to do traffic on the roads in the cities?
Heck, how are you going to do a quest giving NPC sitting in the back corner of a bar trying not to look suspicious in an underground club in a megacity on a burnt out old moon on the edge of the galaxy?
It’s all connected. If you just build a spherical LOD system and try and jenga stack all that stuff on top it’ll be like an inverted hierarchy, it just doesn’t have the load bearing capacity for all those layers of content and gameplay. You gotta build something that’s wide enough and solid enough to support all those layers and layers of stuff on top of it.
Happily though, thanks to a couple of really big wins this year, I’m now in a position where I can begin to transition out of exploratory research, and into concrete, trackable development.
These are the three big things that make this possible: