This past Thursday, Elite: Dangerous held a livestream with lead render programmer Dr. Kay Ross to talk about how the Odyssey expansion would change the way planets are created, as well as offer a few tidbits on what these changes mean for the game’s planetary bodies.
Through the use of a variety of different techniques, planets in Odyssey should have more accurate visual features based on things like gravitational stresses the crust goes under, the proportion of crust to magma to core, how cratered a planet would be, and whether it’s tidally locked among other things. This effectively means that planets should have features and vistas that make more sense visually as well as scientifically. This tech will be applied to every landable planet currently in-game as well as new ones being added.
Speaking of visuals, lighting will also be improved in Odyssey, which will be even more obvious on planets that have an atmosphere according to Dr. Ross, and rocky-ice worlds will have more distinct visuals than simply icy worlds. Finally, atmospheric worlds will have weather visuals, though it doesn’t sound like there will be a weather rendering system. Planets with poles will also have different biomes (or geomes as Dr. Ross puts it), and outpost and Guardian ruins sites will look a bit more natural on the surfaces that they’re placed.
You can watch the full livestream below or check out the official Q&A synopsis.