Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hello Worlds

I recently joined yet another mini contest at Kongregate called Procedurally Generated Graphics Content (PGGC) #3. The theme of this contest is Planet, which is what participants will try to generate procedurally with their programs. The entry I submitted is called “Hello Worlds,” and so far it seems to be the only one that is in 3D. Click on the picture below to try it out.

To create this application, I used a 3D graphics engine for Flash called Away3D. I closely followed the Globe Materials Tutorial at the Away3D website to create all the geometry, lighting, and special visual effects in my app. The code for creating the planets’ textures, however, is mine. I wrote all the routines for procedurally generating the height maps, diffuse maps, specular and ambient maps, and normal maps as well as the code for randomly choosing harmonious color combinations.

Personally, I like how the appearance of the planets surprise even me. Some planets don’t look particularly exciting, but some are beautiful, others look scary, and some are simply absurd. That’s my admittedly biased opinion of course. If you click long enough, you might actually come across a planet you like. On the down side, it takes time for my application to generate a planet. Depending on the speed of the computer used, planets can take between 9 seconds to over half a minute to create. Those are the speeds I observed on my core i7 computer and my old Pentium 5 computer.

Those who want to know more about this contest may find the forum thread on this topic here.

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