thereaverofdarkness2

KSP has unrealistic/distorted 3D rendering

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This has been bugging me for a while, but KSP never looks anything like actual camera views. Today I discovered how to alter the view angle of the camera, and after playing around with it for a few minutes, I believe I am certain that this game simply does not render an accurate 3D model of the terrain and planets. The easiest discrepancy I can think of to point out is that the horizon maintains the same curvature on your screen relative to your altitude, regardless of the direction the camera is facing. In a real-world camera, the horizon always looks flat as you look directly at it; it curves downward at the sides as you look up, and it curves upward as you look down. This is most easily seen in a wide-angle "fish-eye" lens, but the effect happens at any view angle. KSP does not emulate this at all. It seems to be building a cylindrical image around the camera, rather than a spherical image. Looking up and down simply moves the world down or up, but doesn't actually distort it the way it should be distorted when you look down or up--the result is that it appears distorted because it's not distorting when it should be.

 

EDIT: It has been explained to me that KSP and all other 3D games generate all straight lines as straight lines on screen. This explains why the horizon curvature doesn't change with your view angle. But the rendering in KSP is different from the rendering in other games, in different ways. It is these differences that are bothering me, that nobody else seems to notice. They show up when you compare KSP to other 3D games. Please discuss this topic, and ignore straight lines vs. curved lines.

ALSO: Several people have mentioned that they don't want to have a fish-eye effect in the game. I was never suggesting at any point that wide-angle distortion is something the game should have at narrow view angles, but it already happens at wide angle view. Please don't discuss whether or not you want distortion, because it's not even related to the topic. The distortion in the images below is due to them being wide-angle shots and cannot be prevented without severe damage to the image quality. If the KSP images don't look distorted to you--well they are distorted, but it's just further evidence of my point. In other 3D games, a wide angle makes everything look highly distorted.

How to change view angle: In KSP you can adjust your view angle by holding alt and rolling the mouse wheel. In Minecraft the setting is in the basic menu in the upper left. If it says "Normal" or "Quake Pro" that means either 70º or 110º, respectively, but you can use the slider to change it. In all Quake games there is a slider in the menu to change the field of view, and I believe it lets you go all the way to 180º but it's not marked by degrees.

 

I don't really know how to explain this, so let me just show you some real-world images compared to similar images taken from KSP:

fisheye-lens-view-of-sunlit-ocean-todd-g

Wide field view pointed below horizon

x2wPYth.png

Wide field view pointed below horizon in KSP

 

 

sunset-fish-circular.jpg

Wide field view pointed at horizon

EcT21ZZ.png

Wide field view pointed at horizon in KSP

 

 

5859a35c7d4ee55cce20bceeeae3f8a2.jpg

Wide field view pointed above horizon

ggIqFcL.png

Wide field view pointed above horizon in KSP

Edited by thereaverofdarkness2

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Ksp models from a standard, non-wide-view camera angle

Edited by The Optimist

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The view doesn't look right from any angle. I used wide field to make the discrepancy more obvious, but it's quite present at the default camera setting.

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I don't understand the issue... Because the camera view doesn't match distorted lens views?  You want KSP to look less like from your eyes and more like an extreme lens view?

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1 minute ago, Waxing_Kibbous said:

I don't understand the issue... Because the camera view doesn't match distorted lens views?  You want KSP to look less like from your eyes and more like an extreme lens view?

I want KSP to look more like the view from our eyes. It doesn't look correct at all. It looks very, very wrong.

Another good way to show this is to get into low Kerbin orbit-80km or so. From there you can see a VERY distinct curvature to Kerbin. No matter which direction you point the camera, the horizon curves steeply away at the edges, even with a very narrow view angle. In a realistic view at that altitude the horizon would look nearly flat, almost like you were still on the ground.

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3 minutes ago, thereaverofdarkness2 said:

Another good way to show this is to get into low Kerbin orbit-80km or so. From there you can see a VERY distinct curvature to Kerbin.

Kerbin is much, much smaller than Earth.

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4 minutes ago, thereaverofdarkness2 said:

 In a realistic view at that altitude the horizon would look nearly flat, almost like you were still on the ground.

Are you comparing this to earth at 80km? Because ^ ninja-d

Edited by Waxing_Kibbous

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13 minutes ago, Nathair said:

Kerbin is much, much smaller than Earth.

That has nothing to do with it. A view from 80km altitude over Kerbin should have the same horizon as a view from 800km altitude over Earth--it's not much different than 300km (ISS altitude). It's not till around 2000km over Earth that it starts to look less like a horizon and more like a ball.

 

Low_Earth_Orbit.jpg

Image from LEO using normal view angle, altitude unknown, likely 200-400km

C5vXqIV.png

Image from LKO using default view angle, altitude 80km

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Thank Jool that KSP doesn't look like any of your "real" examples. Like others, I don't understand what is "very, very wrong" about it. I step outside (I do that sometimes, I swear!) and look around, things look pretty much like they look in KSP. Well, except there are clouds and a lot more ground scatter in real life. But the proportions look fine and the horizon doesn't look like a horseshoe.

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Just now, thereaverofdarkness2 said:

That has nothing to do with it. A view from 80km altitude over Kerbin should have the same horizon as a view from 800km altitude over Earth--it's not much different than 300km (ISS altitude). It's not till around 2000km over Earth that it starts to look less like a horizon and more like a ball.

 

Low_Earth_Orbit.jpg

Image from LEO using normal view angle, altitude unknown, likely 200-400km

C5vXqIV.png

Image from LKO using default view angle, altitude 80km

It has everything to do with it. Earth is much, much bigger than Kerbin, and thus Kerbin looks much more curved when compared to similar altitudes above Earth.

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2 minutes ago, Robotengineer said:

It has everything to do with it. Earth is much, much bigger than Kerbin, and thus Kerbin looks much more curved when compared to similar altitudes above Earth.

No, it has nothing to do with it. Let me show you an image from 30km over Kerbin, and let's compare to 300km over Earth:

Oa9Z88p.png

Compare that to the Challenger spacewalk image above. See anything different? They are at comparable altitudes relative to the size of their planets.

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Just now, thereaverofdarkness2 said:

No, it has nothing to do with it. Let me show you an image from 30km over Kerbin, and let's compare to 300km over Earth:

Oa9Z88p.png

Compare that to the Challenger spacewalk image above. See anything different? They are at comparable altitudes relative to the size of their planets.

IIRC, curvature doesn't grow linearly with diameter. 

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7 minutes ago, thereaverofdarkness2 said:

No, it has nothing to do with it. Let me show you an image from 30km over Kerbin, and let's compare to 300km over Earth:

Compare that to the Challenger spacewalk image above. See anything different? They are at comparable altitudes relative to the size of their planets.

So you want the horizon to curve crazily away while on the ground, but not in space.

I think the problem here is that the pictures you're showing in-game assume your eye is looking at the very center of the screen and not ever moving around. If you look around those images of "reality" they are crazily distorted at the edges compared to what you'd see if you were actually on that beach if you looked in that direction.

I still don't know why you'd want the game to look like that, though. I would find it horribly distracting.

Regarding Kerbin vs Earth at similar (scaled) altitudes, I have no idea. I've never been in space so I can't tell you what it looks like while you're really out there. And I suspect anybody that has won't read this thread to pipe in.

More stuff: The curvature of the planet has more to do with field of view than anything else. To take the spacewalk picture, they had to zoom in and therefore got a much smaller curvature of Earth in the picture. KSP, on the other hand, is zoomed out far enough to see a lot of the field of view. Zooming in so far as to make the planet curve that little would mean your field of view would be horribly restricted.

Try this: Go into IVA mode and scrollwheel your zoom in as far as it'll go, and then look at the curvature of Kerbin. It will be far less because you restricted your field of view.

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Not sure if it's the same thing the OP is talking about, but I've noticed that the image seems to distort out towards the edges (on my 16x9 1080p).  It's more noticeable with planets and moons when you can see the whole sphere, they don't look spherical anymore, they look a bit stretched.

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Even if KSP is distorted, I don't think it matters very much. A lot of things in KSP are distorted and unrealistic, and that's the way we usually like it.

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16 minutes ago, MDZhB said:

Even if KSP is distorted, I don't think it matters very much. A lot of things in KSP are distorted and unrealistic, and that's the way we usually like it.

I don't like it at all, but I seem to be in the minority.

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7 minutes ago, thereaverofdarkness2 said:

I don't like it at all, but I seem to be in the minority.

Yes, yes you are.

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So every video game has unrealistic/distorted 3D rendering?  I must not be understanding something.

Edited by klgraham1013

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38 minutes ago, thereaverofdarkness2 said:

I don't like it at all, but I seem to be in the minority.

And there's nothing wrong with that!

You seem to know plenty about how we view things, maybe you could make a mod to correct things? I don't know, but I think that should possible, to modify things like the view. Modding things is what is done when an aspect of the game is considered undesirable ( or when someone has something cool to add ) by someone, right?

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2 hours ago, Robotengineer said:

The camera angle in KSP is fixed.

This. Google "tilt/shift lenses" (although the tilt part isn't "used" by KSP)

there are real world lenses that produce the same results; they're just not common. Neither are rocket launches, by the way.

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You can change field of view with alt+mouse wheel. When you reach to minimum value, it looks like what you talked.

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you know, this is such a glaring and significant error with the game, I have no idea how it could have gone unnoticed for so long.

we should ask the RSS players how they think the on-orbit views look...

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Yes, the view from our eyes is distorted. But that's only right at the lens, if you're looking at a screen it would look  very weird. What you're asking for would look kind of like this:

oculus-rift-games-theverge-6_1020.jpg

...and if you were wearing one of these...

oculus-rift-top-side.jpg

...it would look fine (if you duplicated the screen of course). But to me it looks perfectly normal, and to be honest I cannot understand how it's unrealistic. You seem to want a distorted, fisheye view on the ground, yet you also want the same camera to show a nearly flat horizon when in orbit. Kerbin has less than one tenth the radius of Earth, but it's atmosphere is more than half as high. That leads to way more curvature in LKO than you would see in a LEO of a similar altitude. Basically, you should expect ten times as much curvature on Kerbin than you see in pictures from Earth. You should not expect a similar view as LEO, because the planet is much, much smaller. If you want a realistic view in low orbit, look up "10x Kerbol".

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