Friday, 28 January 2011

High Detail Planets

We have been working on a few exciting features for the next Earthsim update and I just finished making a video showing our new rendering option for high detail landscapes. This is going to replace the 'tessellation' settings in the present browser.

Watch the video in fullscreen 1080p if you want to actually see some of the detail in there.

We have not actually added any more detail ‘data’ to our planets with this feature (though we will be adding further detail to the Earth and Mars in the future, the Moon is now as good as the best data available).

Instead, this feature is all about the detail that the planet renderer squeezes onto your graphics card. So yes, when its cranked up you need a monster GPU.

If you have 'Landscape Detail' set to High with Shadows on (as i did for these videos) you will need a 1024MB fast GPU otherwise you will get stalls and slowdowns as you run out of GPU memory.

With Landscape Detail set to 'Medium' or 'High' you will see a lot more detail on the planets surfaces. So in Earthsim the Earth, the Moon and Mars will look super crisp from space, especially if you have the Antialiasing options turned on as well (which you really should do if you are using this option)

Once you get the new browser update (due out end of Feb) If you want to see exactly the same shot of Valls Marineris just set the Earthsim time to the same as you see in the last part of the video and zoom into the right hand side of the valley, there are some really great scenes.


  1. I was a subscriber to Earthsim, and have been eagerly anticipating Earthsim 2's release to purchase it. I really enjoyed the screen saver and also the interactive program. I really wish NASA would get involved with your work and provide some funding and imaging so that in future expansions there could be an even greater zoom out to encompass the galactic neighborhood. Or further, include detailed images or 3-D rendering of distant nebulae and galaxies from Hubble. The Deep Field images are also of particular interest to many astronomers I'm sure, and the immense amount of galaxies visible in those images. To create a detailed 3-D rendering of that would be unparalleled.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, really great to hear you have been following our progress. We are beginning to think about how we could do galaxies and nebula. We have put all the technology in place so we could keep zooming out, its now a matter of writing the rendering code and getting hold of the latest data. All this said, I think we are still going to focus on the exoplanets and dinosaurs first before we move onto galaxies.