Just doing a quick tuneup to the stars.
Technically, this is a huge improvement:
- They’re drawn in two passes now, not three;
- Their geometry is only created once and is kept as close to the graphics hardware as possible;
- The complex drawing commands I was using before are replaced with a simple shader.
Conceptually, I’m much happier with what this is saying about human and environment. I’ve never seen a red dwarf up close, but I think that it could still saturate my retina, where its surface tended to radiate toward me. On the parts of the star where my line of sight would begin to approach tangent to the surface, my retina would be able to see some colour. Or that’s my theory. My theory depends on some arm-waving regarding cross-sectional radiative area.
Arm-waving aside, I think it just looks better. I haven’t had a chance to test it with the full range of stellar types, but I did force-feed different temperatures to the shader and watched while the star whited out. In fact, I’ll add a few smaller pictures of that. Done. The effect will be better when I feed it proper star data, because the intrinsic colour of the star will whiten, too.
In the end, red dwarfs don’t look so red anymore. I keep questioning my results, but research (because that’s what I call Googling now) is making me more and more confident that this is about right.
I’d like to get proper loop prominences and rays next. But, you know, game. Instead I’ll revisit when stars begin to look conspicuously bad again.