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Laythe polar caps are WEIRD


vovacat17
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I tried searching for this on the internet and on this forum, but so far didn't find any discussions on the topic. So here's my story. Skip to the end of the post to see the weird polar caps.

So, I recently installed the new KSP 1.9.1. I usually play with Kopernicus planet packs or with Sigma dimensions as stock game does not seem as challenging as it used to be. I usually play with 5 times the scale and 7 times the distance, but Kopernicus is not updated to 1.9.1 so far, so I decidet to play stock with visual/interface mods and no custom parts. I quickly found myself sending rovers to travel long distances on non-atmospheric bodies, even managed to circumnavigate Minmus and Ike, failing to do so with Dres as terrain is just too rough and the rover kept crashing. So then I decided to go to Laythe...

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(I can share the craft file, if this IMOAB-1 craft looks interesting to you. Goes 50m/s on Laythe, 60m/s on Kerbin, not very good at driving on the ground)

I landed in the equatorial region and soon was on my way towards the north pole, making some stops on the way. 

Spoiler

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Laythe is beautiful. 

It took me several hours of real time, but eventually I've reached latitude 80, and so there were the polar caps. Before this journey I didn't even remember if Laythe has them, Scatterer makes it impossible to determine from the map view. But yes, there was solid ground on my way. But it was quite not what I had expected.

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As you can see here, that looks... Pixelated. And on closer inpection it was even weirder. It was very flat, it ended in the ocean abruptly, there was no slope to drive on. I was able to push the boat onto is, I was glad I used the sharp nosecones, not the stubby ones. My polar expedition was on its way from that point, but I knew I just had to send in a rover from Kerbin to take more screenshots and just show everyone how weird this shore is.

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In the next picture you can see how this wall just goes down. It seems to go vertically all the way to the bottom of the ocean.

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And just look at how sharp those corners are. It's... Pixelated.

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So now I just really want to know if anyone knows the story behind this. Was it unfinished by the developers? Wat it left this way intentionally? Is it one of the easter eggs? Beacuse it's pretty big for an easter egg, the whole shore is like this. And I have never heard anyone talking about it, never have I seen anyone visit this shore in a YouTube video. Maybe I didn't look for it to well. To me this place just feels unfinished and weird. Laythe is by far my favourite place in the KSP, and you've seen screenshots, you know why I love it. So if anyone has noticed this before, I would like to hear your response and your speculation/information on why this exists the way it is.  

Edited by vovacat17
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I'm pretty sure it's just the way that the game create height. I'm pretty sure that Kerbin's icecaps are like this as well, not as pixelated but it is still has a long drop all the way down the sea floor (correct me if I am wrong, I haven't been there in a while).

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What the hell?

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This is Kerbin and the ice caps look just as much (if not more) pixelated. It weirdly looks better than on Laythe though, maybe because of texture/lighting. I just never realised this. Had no idea!

Edited by vovacat17
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The planet maps are drawn in 2D on a rectangular grid, which makes the poles go strange. If you’ve ever tried to gift wrap something like a basketball you’ll know how crumpled and folded the paper gets at the edges, and something similar happens to the planets.

The same weird ice caps are present on Kerbin and weird terrain features can be found at several planets’ north or south poles as the terrain map gets folded awkwardly from 2 dimensional rectangle to 3 dimensional sphere.

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This blocky kind of distortion is due to sharp changes in height between two neighbouring points of the terrain mesh. It isn't one of the polar 'pinching' distortions and may occur anywhere, but may be exacerbated by them. It can be produced in many other games with editors that allow terrain deformation. In the case of ice caps in KSP I think it's intended to resemble the 'ice wall' seen at Antarctica.

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3 hours ago, Rocket Witch said:

This blocky kind of distortion is due to sharp changes in height between two neighbouring points of the terrain mesh. It isn't one of the polar 'pinching' distortions and may occur anywhere, but may be exacerbated by them. It can be produced in many other games with editors that allow terrain deformation. In the case of ice caps in KSP I think it's intended to resemble the 'ice wall' seen at Antarctica.

Yeah, I kinda get how the texturing works, I know altitude is a scalar field on a sphere in this game (so no caves), I'm still just kinda bothered by the whole "90 degree angles" on the horizontal shore line. I know they could've avoided it at this latitude. There are places on Kerbin where normal terrain intersects with polar ice on Kerbin, and normal terrain still looks very normal there, but ice is... Like this. I still think it's a sort of artistic choice.

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Well, I think its because they have the ocean at a certain depth, and then they paint the ice caps on in the height map, and the result is a sharp change in height.

Heightmaps are composed of pixels. Sometimes its not that bad, and you can do procedural noise overlays to hife the pixellation a bit...

Like I don't think this looks too pixelated:

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but earlier versions with no noise overlap you could definitely notice pixelation:

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Now if the area doesn't have noise, of the transition is very sharp that the noise can't mask it, you get noticable pixellation.

They did a very sharp heighmap transition for the poles, I'm guessing 1 pixel of the heightmap... so, yea, that's what you get.

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