Enough talk, here are some screenshots of my recent explorations :
Some kind of desert planet, looks a little bit like Australia!
Here's a shot of my prototype cloud system. The clouds are image based, the idea being to use a particle system or maybe cellular automata on the GPU to create procedural cloud maps for each planet. The clouds are incorporated into the atmosphere scattering shader, meaning that they get nice sunset lighting and they also cast shadows into the atmostphere. Plus you can place objects in, and fly through the clouds seamlessly.
Flying down to and then crash-landing on a planet somewhere
The atmosphere shader now shades the sun very nicely at sunrise, giving it that deep red glow!
Some random exploration screenshots
Showing off the procedural moons as well as planets
Taking a cruise early in the morning
This solar system has a dark sun, making everything gloomy and spooky
Looking up at the sun from a crater on a moon
Taking off from some kind of pink-crystals planet
This planet has a huge crater lake on it
A valley of forest in a grove of crystals
Just exploring some more planets
Now that I have AI spaceships and have implemented combat, the game is starting to feel like a real game more than a space sandbox!