Back in 1988 I wrote FOFT, at the start of the game I did a little sequence where you started out viewing a galaxy from a long way away. The galaxy rotated in 3D. After a short while the camera zoomed into a single solar system, then through the solar system to a single planet.
Of course in those days my "galaxy" only had 256 stars, and no dust but it still took a lot of work to get all the bits to work real time.
I want to do the same sequence again, but I now want it to look great.
My target platform is OpenGLES 1.0, so no shaders, and a very basic form of GLES, so no point sprites or render to texture.I also need it to run on mobile devices, so ram is limited.
With these limitations, I am struggling to come up with a design for the code.
I am thinking of storing my galaxy as a sparse 2D array with each element containing dust density, star density, and thickness.
However rendering that structure real time is going to be tough.
For the distant view I could run a marching cubes algo and texture each poly from an atlas, but that won't work when the camera is inside the structure.
With shaders I would probably look at a ray marching algo, but I don't think I can get that real time without them.
Any ideas guys?