Maybe you think that creating solar systems for an MMO is nothing more than plunking down a few spheres and programming in physics for a gravity well. Well, you've got some nerve! The developers at Elite: Dangerous
think about nothing else day in and day out, and as a result the team has come up with special tech to create the billions of systems that players will encounter in-game.
In a recent newsletter
, the team elaborates on the Stellar Forge system that it uses for most of the game's celestial bodies: "In Elite: Dangerous
, when we are generating a system procedurally, each planetary system is formed from first principles. Bodies are gradually aggregated over a very long simulated time from available matter, taking into account its chemical composition. Depending on the angular momentum, this might begin to form into a single central body, or into multiple co-orbiting bodies."
This explanation goes on in detail -- great
detail -- and if you haven't appreciated how planets are made before now, you certainly will by the time you finish reading it.
[Thanks to Cotic for the tip!]