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I would be very grateful if someone could tell me how the graphics (and in particular, the lighting effects) for this game, Orbital, are created. Would it be OpenGL?

For some background: I'm new to this, and I really like these style of graphics, but I've no idea where to begin -- I'm just trying to figure out which direction I should be headed in. I have a very basic knowledge of Java, and I'm just starting to work with Android now. I have made simple games in Java in the past.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

OpenGL is a good bet; one could produce graphics like that with just about any 3D graphics framework, though. The effect is making use of glow or bloom shaders pretty heavily -- you can find a lot of information around the internet on them, for example here is a related question from GDSE itself.

The shaders appear to be applied to a world composed largely of vector-based objects (which basically means they are defined as a series of line or curve segments instead of as a bitmap like traditional sprites). Particle systems are also employed heavily.

Just like with bloom shaders, you can find a lot of information on GDSE or the wider internet itself by searching for those topics. For example:

  1. High Performance Vector Graphics Solutions
  2. Tricks for getting good results from particle systems
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Many thanks for this! I had no idea what I should be searching for, but you've given me loads to look at there. – bot_bot Sep 13 '11 at 15:27
Another keyword to look for: "additive blending". I'd bet money that basically that entire game is rendered additively. By far, the best way to get a glow effect. – ZorbaTHut Sep 13 '11 at 16:42

The lightning effects for that game are basically just particle effects (there might also be a simple bloom shader in there as well for the extra 'glow' effect). Those effects usually require hardware acceleration and thus require opengl (on android at least).

Since you're pretty new to programming you might want to look at a library like Ardor3D (also works on android). This is a java-based opengl library that supports things like bloom out of the box. But if your knowledge of java/graphics is pretty basic it'll still be a steep learning curve (but at least a lot easier than learning opengl from scratch).

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Thanks for your answer, I'll investigate that library now and see if I can make use of it. – bot_bot Sep 13 '11 at 15:28

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