Elite Expedition: The Search for Color! (sequel to: The Wrath of Beige)

The planets have always been mono or duo chrome. Just the number of colors on the palette was reduced. Going back to monochrome green isn't really an improvement over monochrome beige. What we need are proc gen planets that can host a variety of colors on the same planet surface. Proc gen coloration is probably a LOT more complex than it sounds, especially on a zoomed in 3D surface that is attempting to look believable. They've made significant progress on this front for ice planets, but rocky and metallic are lagging a bit behind. Although the latest textures aren't too shabby.
I agree entirely.

Although Mars has an atmosphere I am still surprised that our planets don't have more features. Have a look and then dream...Mars photos - NASA
 
All four display the same physical characteristics that seem to be common with HMC’s: monochrome in color save for a couple of areas that are shaded very slightly darker, mostly flat terrain, many little craters with a few large impact craters showing visible ejecta blankets, and not many mountains nor canyons at all. Bland in both coloring and surface features without much variety at all.
Most of these planets are huge, so do not give away surface features unless you mace a descent. Whenever you see spots, there is a good chance you'll glide into a range of volcanoes. Give it a chance!
 
What I would love to see is not just color variation but much more extreme geographic features. Something like this for example:


I want the worlds I explore to be much more "alien" that just round ball pockmarked with craters and normal canyons etc. Extremes in canyons, mountains, even cave structures. I'm not sure if the underlying engine is capable of this to any degree, or at all even. But this would make even beige worlds MUCH more interesting.
 
Most of these planets are huge, so do not give away surface features unless you mace a descent. Whenever you see spots, there is a good chance you'll glide into a range of volcanoes. Give it a chance!
Yep, I am making very low level orbital passes to look at the features up close, but it just appears that all HMC’s have far, far less surface features and variety than rocky or ice worlds. It is interesting though, after looking at countless worlds with a scrutinizing eye there do appear to be a few common characteristics for each landable planet type:

Rocky Worlds
  • Usually small in size, sub 1000km radius
  • Commonly have various colors across the surface, but trending towards the browns for the planet
  • Commonly have a multitude of mountains and extensive craggy canyon systems, usually in colors different than the planet
  • Most tiny potato worlds are RW’s
Ice Worlds
  • Come in all sizes
  • Have the most variety in colors, by far
  • Commonly covered in very long canyon networks, straighter networks than the RW’s have
  • Often have both mountain ranges and single peaks mixed in between the canyons, also of varying colors
High Metal Content Worlds
  • Trend to be larger in size, often well over 1000km radius
  • Extremely monochrome in coloring, and very often beige in color
  • Canyons are rare and sparse on HMC’s, sometimes have slightly different coloring than beige, usually not
  • Mountains are sparse and not very high, sometimes might be a slightly different shade of beige, usually not
  • Surface features and colors are much reduced compared to other planet types
I’ve not come across a Metal Rich or a Rocky Ice World yet, they do seem rather rare.

The blandness of HMC’s isn’t only in their coloring, it’s their surface features too. It really is like these worlds just have a much reduced chance in the stellar forge to procedurally have any variety. This was not the case in 2.1, it only happened after 2.2.

Something else I’ve noticed too: this beige homogenization seems to only apply to landable HMC’s. The ones you can’t land on, HMC’s with atmospheres, are very often super colorful and interesting to look at. I’ve seen quite a few that looked incredibly inviting to land on and explore, but alas we can’t do that yet. Makes me wonder if when we CAN land on them, will they be homogenized too? I hope not.
 
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The planets have always been mono or duo chrome. Just the number of colors on the palette was reduced. Going back to monochrome green isn't really an improvement over monochrome beige. What we need are proc gen planets that can host a variety of colors on the same planet surface. Proc gen coloration is probably a LOT more complex than it sounds, especially on a zoomed in 3D surface that is attempting to look believable. They've made significant progress on this front for ice planets, but rocky and metallic are lagging a bit behind. Although the latest textures aren't too shabby.
There are tri-color planets out there with valleys that are different from the craters. Keep an eye out for them, and if you spot one that has a rare mineral it'll be in valleys that're colored differently.
 
I will dig up a few images of HMCs I randomly landed on, those cone shaped mountains tend to be 1000-2000m high.

I guess the rule of thumb is the bigger the planet size is, the stronger is the gravitation - hence the more featureless the surface.

Nevertheless, I think the complexity of creating such airless planets just highlights how difficult it will be to recreate believable atmospheric worlds - not to mention alien living ones.
No wonder how brilliant Elite will be in 5-10 years time, Braben won't be able to deliver on kickstarter claims such as "big game hunting on alien worlds".
 
The scientific accuracy argument is rubbish, because Science is based on "Observation and Measurement". If i were to observe and measure the only known bodies we can see (the ones in our Solar system), then I could tell you now none of them look as boring as these beige monsters.

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If what we currently have is scientific accurate in regards to metal planets without atmosphere then I'm very dissapointed in our Galaxy. Can it really be that boring of a place?
Unlikely. FDEV already made stars far more colorful than they would probably be. Why not planets?
 
I guess the rule of thumb is the bigger the planet size is, the stronger is the gravitation - hence the more featureless the surface.
I’m not sure gravity has anything to do with it, as most of the HMC’s I’ve seen have pretty comparable gravity to the RW’s but still much less surface features.

Planet size might matter though. I’ve noticed that the HMC’s are often much larger than the ice or rocky worlds. Part of me wonders if the stellar forge is creating the same overall number of mountains and canyons and surface features per planet, but they just get spread out so thin on physically larger worlds that it appears like they have bland terrain. In other words, the ratio of flat terrain to features might be much higher on large worlds than on small planets. That doesn’t explain the boring coloring on HMC’s, but it might explain the less interesting surface terrains.

I need to find a small HMC potato world for the expedition to test that out!
 
I’m not sure gravity has anything to do with it, as most of the HMC’s I’ve seen have pretty comparable gravity to the RW’s but still much less surface features.

Planet size might matter though. I’ve noticed that the HMC’s are often much larger than the ice or rocky worlds. Part of me wonders if the stellar forge is creating the same overall number of mountains and canyons and surface features per planet, but they just get spread out so thin on physically larger worlds that it appears like they have bland terrain. In other words, the ratio of flat terrain to features might be much higher on large worlds than on small planets. That doesn’t explain the boring coloring on HMC’s, but it might explain the less interesting surface terrains.

I need to find a small HMC potato world for the expedition to test that out!
As a fellow Explorer, I can verify that in fact, HMCs and Metal-Rich planets do NOT have the same amount of canyons. I have quite literally made hundreds of thousands of level 3 detailed scans. There is very little variation in the landable HMC worlds, as confirmed by several youtubers and threads. I am enjoying this topic you've created, and will include screenshots of my own if you don't mind. :)
 
I'm following closely the beige case. And I'm very concerned of certain FD choices. There was something no one on this forums had never complained about: the beauty of landable planets. So why the heck did the start messing with beige? :mad:
 
I am enjoying this topic you've created, and will include screenshots of my own if you don't mind. :)
Heck no I don’t mind, the more the merrier on this expedition! Especially if anyone finds a particularly colorful HMC with impressive surface features, as that just may be a very special kind of rare gem in this galaxy. We might even want to submit it for a tourist beacon if we can find one!
 
The lack of detail & colour on most planets has puzzled me too. I'm not immediately convinced that producing a wide variety of procedurally driven colour variations in itself should be overly complex, depending on the tools FD have available to them when working with the Cobra engine.

Having spent some time in the past dabbling with hobbyist software like Poser3d, experience suggests this should in fact be fairly simple (at least conceptually) for a talented artist, as well as somewhat more economical computationally than using image maps for surface colouration.

Poser uses a node based system for building 3d surface materials, which may be where some of my impression of simplicity is derived. One can build a rather complex looking material with very few of these nodes, some defining colour, others defining how and where those colours should be applied & mixed, while others define attributes like specularity.
But the nodes themselves contain a lot of their own background coding, so the user simply has to input colour choices and values. If Cobra lacks this method of applying materials and everything has to be hand coded it may be part of the reason this kind of development takes a lot longer to get right for ED.

However, on top of the basic model of applying materials to 3d objects you've also got to factor in how those textures are distributed over a whole galaxy of planets. My guess is that FD drives the materials using Stellar Forge data, using a conceptual range of acceptabe colourations & surface details that fall within certain tollerances for a given type of world. Getting the balance of that right can't be easy - too broad a range of complex variations and you get garish unrealistic worlds, too narrow and you might well end up with a proliferation of 'beige' worlds.

But this is all just speculation on my part. May be they just haven't given it the focus it demands yet.
 
FD created a colorful, evocative, unreal galaxy. And it was amazing to land on strange worlds. Then they dumbed it down to the brown (hey!) for the love of science and realism. Now all barren moons are just... barren mons....

Say with me:

"dumb it down
to the brown!
dumb it down
to the brown!"




OH WAIT THAT'S BEIGE! :D
 
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Frankly, I think you are on the right track . . . I think that if/when humankind ever does get out into the big, wide universe we will find that most of the lumps of rock we find out there are going to be some boring shade of dead brown or grey. Vibrantly colored planets i.e.: living, green & blue planets or tectonically active red, orange or yellow planets are going to be far and few between and maybe FDev is trying to more accurately model this. What we need is to get our collective rear-ends out there and find those colorful worlds! o7

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The scientific accuracy argument is rubbish, because Science is based on "Observation and Measurement". If i were to observe and measure the only known bodies we can see (the ones in our Solar system), then I could tell you now none of them look as boring as these beige monsters.

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Unlikely. FDEV already made stars far more colorful than they would probably be. Why not planets?
From what I have heard, read and seen in pictures and video, space looks fairly different . . . from space . . . than it does from the ground, any astronauts want to weigh in? Apparently the stars are all much more colorful, brighter and more intense when seen from outside the atmosphere.
 
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I’m not sure gravity has anything to do with it, as most of the HMC’s I’ve seen have pretty comparable gravity to the RW’s but still much less surface features.

Planet size might matter though. I’ve noticed that the HMC’s are often much larger than the ice or rocky worlds. Part of me wonders if the stellar forge is creating the same overall number of mountains and canyons and surface features per planet, but they just get spread out so thin on physically larger worlds that it appears like they have bland terrain. In other words, the ratio of flat terrain to features might be much higher on large worlds than on small planets. That doesn’t explain the boring colouring on HMC’s, but it might explain the less interesting surface terrains.
I think you may be onto something there, especially with smaller MR planets with active volcanism. More chance of more exotic, colourful minerals being pushed to the surface possible? I might just be talking rubbish of course!

Currently out on a small field test on the way back from Shapley 1 and this is the first metal rich planet I've come across...





EDIT: A slightly closer look....


Admittedly not a very good example due to it's size, but notice the light patches? I'll try and scout the general area to find some more B or A class stars (which seem to be the most likely places to find MR's) and hopefully find some smaller examples.
 
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Finding wonderful planets. Like what I've been doing for 8 months? And then find all those wonderful planets turned beige. My individual rear has been out there doing that and now has nothing to show for.

Fool me once ...
 
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I think you may be onto something there, especially with smaller MR planets with active volcanism. More chance of more exotic, colourful minerals being pushed to the surface possible? I might just be talking rubbish of course!

Currently out on a small field test on the way back from Shapley 1 and this is the first metal rich planet I've come across...


Admittedly not a very good example due to it's size, but notice the light patches? I'll try and scout the general area to find some more B or A class stars (which seem to be the most likely places to find MR's) and hopefully find some smaller examples.
Well done commander! That MR world already has more color on it than any HMC I’ve come across since 2.2. The surface terrain looks similarly uninteresting though. I’d be curious to see some low orbit close-ups of the terrain, specifically to see if it has any notable mountains or canyons anywhere on it’s surface.
 
The planets have always been mono or duo chrome. Just the number of colors on the palette was reduced. Going back to monochrome green isn't really an improvement over monochrome beige. What we need are proc gen planets that can host a variety of colors on the same planet surface. Proc gen coloration is probably a LOT more complex than it sounds, especially on a zoomed in 3D surface that is attempting to look believable. They've made significant progress on this front for ice planets, but rocky and metallic are lagging a bit behind. Although the latest textures aren't too shabby.
Its not just the colour palette that's been nerfed, the terrain has too.

Re-posting this from the earlier thread to highlight the issue..




From a once magnificent POI, to what may as well be a cut and paste effort that we see everywhere.

The variety has gone (or has been significantly reduced), and with it we lost worlds with 'character'.... like these pre-2.0 patch worlds...






As someone who has been a custodian of the mapping project since the beginning, the number of surface POIs being submitted and added has dried up. We've even had to delete some historical POIs because they've been completely changed and no longer have anything unique about them ('Desolation Crater' - that 100km deep crater posted above, being just one).
 
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