Since the last version, the settings changed just a tiny bit, but i can't seem to figure out how to get them set up in such a way that i get the most realistic imagery. The standard settings are certainly cinematic, but not entirely realistic to say the least :)
I've been playing around a bit, but i don't really know how every setting connects to the others and how to get that realism i'm aiming for. Can anyone give me some pointers?
Secondary issue: I assume a higher landscape LOD means more detailed landscapes? Since i remember LOD settings should be negative to get the best results, so i'm a bit confused :P
To get realism I turn "Auto Exposure" on and turn on "Real Planet Brightness". This sets a flat exposure for all entities that is relative to all entities.
So if you are close to the host star (like earth) and your exposure is set to the day side, space will appear black and featureless. But if you are exposing for the night side the stars and brighter galactic features will appear.
Also if you go to the outer solar system it will be very dim but when you adjust the exposure to light objects out there, then space comes to life. Great for matching exposure of nebula with the dimmer outer objects.
I also max out LOD to decrease the size of polygons.
There are those who claim Real Planet Brightness is less realistic, and those who claim it's more realistc. I personally think it's more realistic, because it won't make every planet equally bright. Those who think it's unrealistic, will say it's more realistic to have it turned off because of the exposure of the human eye (or a camera) will adjust to the lesser light.
In my opinion: Auto-exposure ON Diffraction spikes ON and NORMAL Diffration spikes ASTRONIKI 3 Lens flares OFF (the human eye has no such effect) Real Planet Brightness ON Real Star Brightness ON Limiting magnitude 8.0 (this is the limit of the human eye in extremely dark locations, such as outer space) Bloom = 0 Star Scale = 1.0 Star Overbright = 1.995 Star Saturation = 3.162
In case there's any remaining confusion: High LOD values (e.g. +2) look prettier because the minimum size of a given feature is smaller, so the terrain gets more small details like rocks and crags. Low LOD values (e.g. -2) are often recommended when people complain about SpaceEngine crashing or running slowly, because they make the game render less detailed terrain, giving it an easier time. By "best results," people are referring to performance rather than visual appeal.
swimswam1339, well the first step would be to put bloom on maximum, then you should turn up Diff. Spike size to about two, then turn up overbright and desaturate dim stars. Finally, hang out around nebulae