Sunday, January 23, 2011
“Disneyland” Solar System
Following a suggestion from Kometbomb I've been experimenting with artificially attenuated gravity. Results have been encouraging. I have an attenuation factor that smoothly cross-fades a planet's gravity to zero at a finite distance from it. (It's the usual 3u2 - 2u3 cross-fade, although maybe linear would be fine too.) This allows planets to have strong surface gravity without affecting distant areas, so I can pack them more closely together. It's like a Disneyland version of a solar system (or a bit like Super Mario Galaxy, as Owen suggests.)
The cross-fade attenuation doesn't start until some distance above the surface. As long as you stay under that height you can enter stable orbit around the planet.
At the moment I have all the planets sitting still. The next experiment will be to see if motion can be made to work. Planets will need to be arranged so they can't ever collide with each other, so things may end up getting spaced out more. If motion doesn't make it more fun I think the multiple planets will still be all right. I can see interesting gameplay being built from this.