What would be the easiest and most maintainable way to create (or use an already existing technology) a sort of Google Maps in 3D for a galaxy? Its not the main focus of my game, but I would like it to look polished to keep the player immersed.
closed as not a real question by Byte56♦, Anko, msell, Trevor Powell, Nate Apr 30 '13 at 22:07
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It depends on how accurate you want it to be. It took scientists years of different camera angles and calculations to get the visible stuff mapped in 3D.
I recommend you take a shortcut. especially if it's not the main focus of your game. Parallax Scrolling (if done correctly) can give you a nifty 3d effect without the 3d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallax_scrolling
Esentially, you have multiple planes that scroll in each direction, like a background, but at different speeds. The faster you scroll the plane, the closer it is to the camera.
Keep in mind this doesn't work if your camera is able to turn/rotate. You'd have to figure out a different system.
EDIT: Now that I think about it, if you have 3D space, all you really need is to place the planes at different depths in space and when you pan the camera it'll parallax automatically. Still won't work if you turn/rotate the camera though.