I'd like to draw very large (~500 px) graphics of planets slowly rotating. These graphics are meant to impress. What's the best way of doing this? I don't have experience with any particular 3D engine, and I'm not even sure what platform this game would run on, so:
- I could pre-render each frame, but at 500px and a rotation period of 10 seconds, that's a ludicrous amount of data per planet.
- I could use a 3D engine and map the planet's texture onto a mesh approaching a sphere, but at 500px, I fear the polygon count would have to be huge to make it look good.
- I could write a kind of custom 3D engine that does nothing but efficiently render a textured sphere, by converting the x/y coordinate of each view pixel into the coordinate space of the sphere's texture - but this is involved, and couldn't benefit from graphics acceleration.
- Something else I haven't thought of?
Here's an example animated GIF of what I mean. (At 100x100 px and 60 frames, it's already pretty huge, sorry.) Imagine this much, much bigger, rotating much slower, and animated more smoothly:
But if this were 500x500 px and 10 x 25 = 250 frames, we'd be talking about hundreds of MB of data, so this straightforward approach doesn't work.