Gas Giants and Planetary Information

Hey, first time poster here. Although these come across more as questions, I suppose they could be construed into suggestions. First, I just want to say that me and a friend of mine have been following Infinity’s development loosely since we first heard of it years ago. We were both amazed with the engines capabilities and have been hoping to see the project come into fruition for some time. Just recently I decided to check in, and was encouraged to hear the news about the Battlescape Kickstarter. I’m happy to see that things are moving ahead.

Anyways, to the point of my post. Watching your videos, seeing the different planetary terrains, and how you guys are experimenting with clouds, I was curious how you guys are going to handle the atmosphere of gas giants. Will there be a massive dense and crushing cloud system swirling around the planets core? Will there be a gravitational pressure system implemented which would crush your ship like a tin can? Fierce winds and lightning storms? I guess I am just oddly fascinated with gas giants. They both terrify and intrigue me.

I was playing Evochron: Mercenary the other day and decided to fly into a gas giants atmosphere to see what would happen. I was able to fly in a bit, I couldn’t see a thing aside from an occasional lightning bolt, and the winds spun my ship around to the point that I got disoriented. Then my ship abruptly exploded in an anti-climactic fashion. Although I wasn’t completely disappointed, I also wasn’t exactly impressed either. I think if I would have used my instruments and afterburner properly I could have flown back out of the atmosphere. I guess I imagined that the gravitational and elemental forces at work would be far too powerful and swept my ship into an unstoppable undertow of gaseous destruction like a paper airplane in a hurricane.

Another thing I was wondering is when we encounter a new procedurally generated planet, will there be some type of subsystem equipped on our ship to scan and evaluate the composition, atmosphere, and temperature of a planet? I enjoy the ability to explore, scan, and research planets and spacial anomalies. In depth descriptions can really put some meaty substance on the visually impressive planetary bones. I was extremely disappointed in Evochron: Mercenary that there was no in depth or even general planetary information given for each planet I encounter. Cool it’s a gas giant… What gasses are the atmosphere comprised of? What’s the “surface” temperature? The gravitation pressure? Or on a terrestrial planet, what kind of minerals and ore can I expect to find? If there are oceans and/or lakes on a planet what are the liquid bodies comprised of? Or planets with thick, stormy, and turbulent atmospheres, what kind of gasses make them up. The thought of hydrocarbon, or ammonia lakes on cold planets, or sulfuric or hydrochloric acid storms on greenhouse planets sound amazing.

Sorry for the extended first post. These thoughts have been swirling in my head for awhile. I love space sims, and I tend to like to play an explorer/researcher role in them. Sadly I’ve never really played one that really itches that scratch, offering in depth information and giving me the sense of both wonder and discovery I yearn for.



Unfortunately the ‘experimental’ label on clouds is a bit misleading - Clouds are not currently being developed and the placeholder clouds you see are not a viable solution and won’t be in the game.

However, good clouds and turbulent atmospheres are definitely a long term goal:

Regarding scanning, even if the Battlescape Kickstarter is a massive success, such an in-depth scanning mechanic is very unlikely to be in the game.

The best we can do is hope the I:BS Kickstarter is successful and in years to come the original vision of the MMO can come to life!


Adding to @hrobertson’s post about setting expectations, I-Novae Studios is aiming for space battles with a cinematic feel as their core gameplay. Lots of players, lots of ships. See @cybercritic’s post that collected what we think we know about the game.

The most informative gameplay post that I’ve seen from @INovaeKeith is this one:

The closest role you might see to Explorer is Military Scout, but that’s just my speculation.

Feel free to expound further on the things that you’d like to see from various gameplay systems. We occasionally amuse ourselves discussing such things, but be aware that this crowd has been discussing and debating a wide variety of systems for almost a decade now.


Though I wonder, how much of the physical characteristics of a planet are calculated during procedural generation? Mass and radius, obviously, surface temperature and pressure, but is the engine making a difference for rocky or metallic-heavy worlds? For different atmosphere compositions? For varied types of oceans (water, hydrocarbons, hopefully mercury…)
If such data is generated along the planet, it may not be too complicated to add a small “info” element that can be displayed on the HUD.

Without knowing much about the tactical gameplay elements of Battlescape, it’s hard to say which bits of planetary trivia would be worthwhile including in the game.

Without mining, planetary crust composition isn’t a compelling addition, for instance. Without effects on ships or systems, magnetic field strength and magnetic field anomalies won’t be especially interesting, especially considering they’d be mostly invisible. If there’s no real distinction in the game, does it matter whether you’re looking at a lake of water or a lake of methane? Does it matter if those glaciers are made of water ice or dry ice?

I mean, as most here know, I’m 100% all about producing planets and systems that are as physically accurate as possible, but if your scanners pull up information that’s really nothing more than trivia, what’s the point?


ARE calculated? Very probably zero. There’s no need to do anything like that for the Kickstarter. Just hand-craft one system of planets and you’re done. Procedural generation of the necessary parameters is only necessary when you’re going to create many systems.

They aren’t likely to create many systems anytime soon because of the need to come up with a generator that observes all those interesting rules of stable planetary system formation. A very fun project, but also a time-consuming one. I built a primitive one for the warp prototype’s galaxy generator, even playing with procedural one-dimensional dust clouds to figure out where planets would form and how large they would be. I could play with that stuff forever.

But for the Kickstarter, ensuring that all planets follow known restrictions of physical laws is something that a little hand-checking can accomplish. Orbital periods, radii and masses are matched? Check. No planet is inside its parent’s Roche limit? Check. And so on.

As for considering stuff down the road, the only bit I’d add to @Kichae’s post is that there may be parameters that are worth calculating because they provide information that can be used in visuals. Is a methane lake the same color as a water lake? If it is partly frozen, are the colors again the same? Do they form the same kinds of ice formations? These are things that a procedural terrain generator could have some fun with to show off some funky environments.

That’s what I meant, actually. How much of the planet’s physical information is us as a basis for the planet’s generation? You are right, though, that for the Kickstarter it may be more efficient for INS to simply enter those parameters by hand instead of developing (or fine-tuning) a generator.