Author Topic: Mars Horizon - graphical concept  (Read 3606 times)

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Marco2001

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Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« on: November 18, 2010, 04:47:45 AM »
Mars Horizon




As you may know - becouse planets and moons aren't flat but more like a sphere, we have horizons.
Horizon is the maximal distance at which we could see other objects.
It is the distance at which we see that the sky connects with earth.



The thing is about computer games, that they completely forgot about horizon and make simple-flat maps.
This isn't a problem when it comes to small areas, but in MCO where you will have large distances with no objects in the way you will see the flat-earth paradox...and it will propably look VERY unreal to the players.

The problem is even worse on Mars, becouse since the planet is smaller, the horizon is also closer.
A regular person standing an a flat Mars-ground would notice that the horizon is closer than on the Earth.
If you walked on moon or mars you would notice an interesting thing - you would reely feel that the earth (in our case: mars) would be somehow cut-down in the middle, but no matter how far you would go ahead you would never see where exactly has it been spliced.

The problem of "flat-earth paradox" will be extremely more noticable when you get higher - like on the mountan.

Quote
How to calculate the distance to the horizon on any planet.

1. Look up the planet's radius.
2. Know your height above the surface of the planet.
3. Use this formula to solve for distance:

distance = sqrt [ 2 x radius of planet x height above surface + height about surface ^2]

EXAMPLE:

The height of the Mars rover is 4.9 feet which is 1.49352 meters.
The height of Olympus Mons is 16 miles = 25,749.504 meters.
The radius of Mars in meters is 3390000.

    = SQRT(h + 2*h*r)

    = SQRT ( 1.49352 m + 2*1.49352 m* 3390000 m)

    = SQRT ( 1.49352 m + 10,126,065.6 m)

    = SQRT ( 10,126,067.1 m )

    = 3 182.14819 m

    ~= 1.977 miles.

A few more feet in height wouldn't change this much. A 6 foot person would be able to see about 2 miles to the horizon on Mars. Using this formula we can also determine that you could see a 16 mile high mountain on Mars from 259.63 miles away by using the mountain height as the height.

What is the "flat-earth paradox"?
Imagine that the Earth is flat - in that scenario we will see distance object no matter how far away they are if there are no obstacles in the way. Goying higher woundn't change anything - you would see the same, and the horizon would look several times bigger. The horizon would apear to be much higher above the ground - so higher that you would think that you are inside a big hole.




Quote
Standing in a flat plateau, you look ahead of you towards the horizon. You strain your eyes, then take out your favorite binoculars and stare through them, as far as your eyes (with the help of the binocular lenses) can see.

Then, you climb up the closest tree the higher the better, just be careful not to drop those binoculars and break their lenses. You then look again, strain your eyes, stare through the binoculars out to the horizon.

The higher up you are the farther you will see. Usually, we tend to relate this to Earthly obstacles, like the fact we have houses or other trees obstructing our vision on the ground, and climbing upwards we have a clear view, but thats not the true reason. Even if you would have a completely clear plateau with no obstacles between you and the horizon, you would see much farther from greater height than you would on the ground.

This phenomena is caused by the curvature of the Earth as well, and would not happen if the Earth was flat:






How can it be repaired in MCO?
I see two main options:
a) Make a graphical ilusion near the horizon that will make this happen.
or better
b) Reely make the maps round instead of flat.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 05:00:32 AM by Marco2001 »

Poland here. My time: GMT + 1h
Writing a book about Mars. Any ideas? Type to me.
I'am an Astrobiology/Biology student.

profit004

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2010, 02:17:51 PM »
Just a side note, this is how the explorers of Columbus' time *who convinced Columbus the world must be round* proved it.

They noted that when a ship approached the first thing you saw was it's mast.  if the earth was flat you should be able to see the entire ship at all times just becoming more and more distant.

Utini

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2010, 07:28:37 PM »
Assuming no major elevation differences between you and the horizon, the horizon distance on Mars is roughly 3.5 km, as opposed to just over 5 km for Earth. Even a moderate haze can fuzz out vision before you can see this distance. Thus, a clipping plane set to ~3 km would obviate the need to simulate curvature. Further, even moderate hills can block Line of Sight well before the horizon distance, unless looking onto a plain.

Hyper

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2010, 07:33:39 PM »
The zone is only 2km square so you wouldn't notice the curve that much. This would be a major code issue to pull off.

profit004

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2010, 07:35:48 PM »
Assuming no major elevation differences between you and the horizon, the horizon distance on Mars is roughly 3.5 km, as opposed to just over 5 km for Earth. Even a moderate haze can fuzz out vision before you can see this distance. Thus, a clipping plane set to ~3 km would obviate the need to simulate curvature. Further, even moderate hills can block Line of Sight well before the horizon distance, unless looking onto a plain.

But on the top of something like Olympus Mons you would be able to see a significant amount of the curvature of mars.  Would be similar to looking down on earth from space because of the differences.

For me personally that would be a sight to behold.

*but yeah not reasonable to code it in.

Marco2001

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2010, 04:05:57 AM »
Won't the map be MUCH larger in the future?
I thought that this litle square map is just for testing purpose, and after all will be added, the map will be several times bigger, to allow sending away teams to new regions of mars for searching new rsources, water, life-sighns etc..

Poland here. My time: GMT + 1h
Writing a book about Mars. Any ideas? Type to me.
I'am an Astrobiology/Biology student.

profit004

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2010, 01:15:59 PM »
Won't the map be MUCH larger in the future?
I thought that this litle square map is just for testing purpose, and after all will be added, the map will be several times bigger, to allow sending away teams to new regions of mars for searching new rsources, water, life-sighns etc..

Really large maps make it hard to coordinate game play for players.  There are also memory constraints and the like, unless hyper wishes to make a progressive load system like morrowind/oblivion/fallout 3 use.


Hyper

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2010, 07:57:38 PM »
I can  make the maps bigger and stitch land on what we have and might even be able to affect zone switches but reguardless trying to get the curve of a planet in a game zone is a bit over the top. I can do it, but at what code cost in time and effort, does it really mean that much?

profit004

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2010, 05:58:27 AM »
I would like to see it, but to have the maps that size even if you did not have to code a ton more will cause game play problems.  So to me, it is not worth the sacrifice of game play to look down on the curvature of mars.

I really hope everyone else lets this slide for that fact too.. Unless you create an optical illusion after the zone border or something in order to get the full effect the zones would be just way to big to have fun playing on.

thedubman

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2010, 05:03:06 PM »
I don't think it would be worth the effort. But what I do think that we should have our vision slightly obscured by our EVA suit/helm, that and steaming effects and so forth, distortions through the visor and the like..

pad69

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2010, 11:30:23 AM »
I don't think it would be worth the effort. But what I do think that we should have our vision slightly obscured by our EVA suit/helm, that and steaming effects and so forth, distortions through the visor and the like..
I tend to agree with you but it may make for realism I do not know for sure.
Murphy's Law applies "Anything that can possibly go wrong, does." or some say it this way "If anything can go wrong, it will.

thedubman

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2010, 02:07:28 PM »
Instead of adding the curve of the planet, what about visual distortion? Setting the FOV so it was slightly 'fisheyed' could give the illusion of a horizon curve- but I am really just guessing..

pad69

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Re: Mars Horizon - graphical concept
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2010, 11:38:33 PM »
Instead of adding the curve of the planet, what about visual distortion? Setting the FOV so it was slightly 'fisheyed' could give the illusion of a horizon curve- but I am really just guessing..

Nice Idea:)
Murphy's Law applies "Anything that can possibly go wrong, does." or some say it this way "If anything can go wrong, it will.