December 8, 2014

A Galaxy Full of Stars

One of the very first things I worked on was what the galaxy would look like. I wanted a galaxy I could easily tweak that was interesting to explore.


The first version was fairly simple. Dense towards the middle and sparse towards the outside. It looked something like this:

even stars

It wasn’t long until I realized this was pretty boring. One section of the galaxy was pretty much like the rest. So, I started experimenting! I added some randomness to the mix while keeping the center dense and the outer rim sparse. Now the galaxy looked more like this:

varied stars

Much better.

Next, I evaluated star colors. There are 9 different star colors, some much more rare than others. Even distribution throughout the galaxy looks like this:

even colored stars

However, there is a problem with this. Why would you ever head to the outer rim? If there are more stars in the center of the galaxy, might as well go there. So, I decided to restrict certain stars to certain distances away from the center of the galaxy.

varied colored stars

Blue and white stars near the center, yellow and orange stars in the middle, and red stars near the outer rim. This isn’t exactly scientific, but for gameplay reasons there needs to be a reason to visit different parts of the galaxy.

At the moment, star color doesn’t mean a lot, but it will eventually determine what kind of planets you may find orbiting it.

The way the galaxy is generated also allows me to specify how big of a galaxy to generate. A small one (about 500 stars), for example:

small galaxy

The galaxy size in game, however, is much larger than this. I chose a size that generates about 50,000 stars. If you’re interested, it looks something like this!

Of course, the galaxy may change with new ideas in the future.

tagged: design