“It’s hard to talk about the Cosmos without using big numbers. I said “billion” many times on the Cosmos television series, which was seen by a great many people. But I never said “billions and billions.” For one thing, it’s too imprecise. How many billions are “billions and billions”? A few billion? Twenty billion? A hundred billion? “Billions and billions” is pretty vague. When we reconfigured and updated the series, I checked—and sure enough, I never said it.” ― Carl Sagan, Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life & Death at the Brink of the Millennium
How many billions? 400 billion!
Early in-game volumetric structures used to populate entire galaxy with over 400 billion stars:
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Hello Mjolnir fans, followers, and supporters. It’s been quite a while but we’ve got a series of great updates for you. We’ll be making a few more update posts over the course of this week following this one, each one slightly bigger than the one before.
Several months back we began exploring methods for generating the massive playable galaxy for our main project, Galaxy In Flames. We’re proud to announce that after a lot of stress testing, iterations, hard teamwork, and ingenuity are starting to finally pay off.
We had a great start with a billboard quad based compute shader driven by density map textures. With that system we were able to get up to 23,000,000 stars on screen all at once in one big visible galaxy with no seams. This system worked well but needed optimization and noise based density map texture generation. This proved to be slow and would lead to very long loading times in most cases.
From there we moved to our own Frankenstein of a solution that blends something like the billboard particle compute shader with an unconventional use of 3D textures (volumetric textures). On top of all that we made progress on a star shader with great looking plasma flows, solar flares, accurate start types per color, mass, volume and temperature, and even stars that age.
With this system we can achieve repeatable seed based procedural generated galaxies that we can store bits of as they are modified. What’s incredible is the number of permutations. 320 QUADRILLION. That’s right ~320,000,000,000,000,000!!!
What’s cool is we get star system-specific skyboxes generated along with this, and hold your breath here….
Double time-reversal asymmetry could explain weird material behavior
“One of the fundamental ideas in physics is the existence of broken symmetries. One famous broken symmetry is the Higgs mechanism, which leads to the prediction of one or more Higgs bosons. In materials, broken symmetries of different sorts lead to magnetism, superconductivity—and a bit of strange behavior that has puzzled physicists for three decades. In one particular material, electrons behave as though they are much more massive than usual, and respond very differently to magnetic fields.”
The article ends with:
“An intriguing question is whether hastatic order could explain other unusual materials—assuming its existence is confirmed in URu2Si2, of course. Given that other systems have strong interactions between their constituent electrons that give rise to currently puzzling phenomena, it’s possible that the hastatic symmetry idea will bear fruit elsewhere.”