Over the many patches and releases of E:D slowly the planets have slowly become more beige, commonly known as the ‘beige-ification.’ This has been highlighted by many people but ObsidianAnts Youtube channel has shown with great detail this process and called for change and with 3.0 this finally happened.
When Horizons got released one of my favourite pastimes was driving my SRV on planets. Honestly I would be a lot richer if there was a way to earn money from just driving my buggy across planet/moon surfaces. This enjoyment has not changed, but the visuals have taken a big hit. So a quick bit of science, though stars are all labeled with different colours all main sequence stars would be viewed as white stars like our sun. The visible light output is far greater than the differences between absorption by metals within a star. Only when a star’s light is refracted through the atmosphere or absorbed does that colour change. So at low angles the sun will appear yellow/orange/red and if there is a lot of particulate matter in the atmosphere from for example a volcanic eruption the setting sun is very often seen as red. But without an atmosphere our sun would be white, E:D does not reflect this. A star’s visuals represent its colour so red dwarfs appear red, slightly larger stars appear orange than yellow. Eventually reverting to red giants and white/blue hot giants/super giants. But this star colour or ‘shader’ was causing problems with the way planets were drawn so to prevent this problem the planets become more uniform and beige. The light of the star was cast onto the planets giving them a hue, but allows for shadows and a more realistic terminator zone.
A ringed world, orbiting a white super giant core ward of Sol.
With all rocky/metal worlds all looking the same, the only real difference was whether you landed on an ice or terrestrial world. But post 3.0 the colours have returned! It allows you to visually recognize a high metal content world from just a rocky world. Areas are separated into distinct geography via colours and contours which also relates to what minerals/elements you will find there. So plains might be one colour with a meteorite impact been another and a trail of ejecta emphasising the devastation that the impact would have wrought, spread out across the planet in great swathes.
Thargoids source their autopilot from the same place as the federation of pilots.
This change although not bringing new gameplay or significantly altering an existing mechanic increases that much maligned term within the Elite forums;- immersion. It has increased my enjoyment of driving my SRV around collecting lots of materials for shiny new upgrades to my ships.
A red planet, under a distant sun.
I/we can hope that the new shader system introduced is in preparation to the Q4 expansion that will bring new game play (it has been hinted to be bigger than the 3.0 release!), which im hoping involves planets with atmospheres or at least gas giants. So until then I will enjoy driving around planets/moons with a larger colour variance.
See you on the other side…