Procedural skies


#1

The current sky seems to be a simple texture of stars. While customizable environment cubemaps would be a nice idea, I’d be in support of a procedural sky system for starters. In fact, I would suggest including Windlight from Second Life as is… because it looks beautiful and has all customization features I can imagine someone wanting. Or maybe dynamic skies could be done with custom GLSL shaders, when and if those will be supported? What about daytime cycles, and directional global lighting? What exists so far… and what are your thoughts on an improved sky, sun & moon, and fog system?


#2

would love rain and snow rivers and streams


#3

It took me a while to notice, but there already is more than just the starry background; If you enable Developer -> Render -> Atmosphere (or click Shift + A), a halo appears around the sky box. As you descend, the color intensifies and surrounds the screen, drowning the starry background… until you eventually have a full daytime sky! This is really neat, because the effect is height based and simulates entering / exiting the atmosphere… which will be great for worlds containing areas at ground level and areas in outer space which you can climb between.

The height range and colors don’t seem to be customizable yet, but I imagine this will eventually happen. It would be neat if objects could contain their own atmosphere for instance, and this wouldn’t necessarily be a global world property… so for example sitting in a gas room makes the atmosphere appear greener.


#4

Yeah, the ability to change the color or nature of the sky at lower altitudes would be good to have, also maybe the ability to place different things in the distant sky, such as having a different sun in the distance, and while we could conceivably have the Moon appear in the sky like we have on SL, it would also be useful to replace that if desired with one or more other stellar objects such as different moons instead of the Earth’s moon.

But I’m mainly posting here to expand on what Judas just said about water, rain and streams and stuff. I’m pretty sure I touched on this before, but… Yes, I really think we need to have water that runs down hills and along streams. We need water that also works independently in pools and bathtubs and the like, even ones placed high up in skyboxes and space stations. Ideally it would need to react to physics, such as sloshing around when the tub is moved or someone jumps in, and come gushing out if the tub is tipped over or a hole is blown into the tub. But water (well, fluids in general, since you;d want to be able to adjust different sets of fluids independently for color and viscosity on a case by case basis) is probably something that would need to be implemented later, after we’ve got more of the basics nailed down, but is still something we at least need to keep in mind while we’re getting the basics in place since choices made now on some of those could later complicate how fluids are implemented.


#5

Yes, I’d love the ability to put your own stars on the sky! So some worlds don’t necessarily have one sun and one moon… but any number of suns and moons, moving in any pattern across any interval of hours. Of course with each sun casting directional global lighting of the specified color and intensity.

As for water… well doing it the right way would be very tricky. One can already texture a flat plane with a water material, and eventually there will be particle support which will allow for classic droplets. But if Hifi is to support actual fluid… first of all it would need a physics engine, hopefully BulletX… and second, it would need to let individual metaballs be physical (voxels which combine with other voxels to form a smooth surface). Or a physics system to make a mass of voxels act as a fluid… each voxel swaying then eventually evening out. Both methods would however require a lot of processing power… with low detail this might be doable, but it could still be 10 more years.