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04: Skyboxes and generating meshes

Skyboxes

There are a couple of ways you can create a skybox in Three.js

  • Using a skydome (a textured sphere)
  • Using a skybox (a textured cube)

I’m using the textured cube approach. For this approach, our skybox texture has to be broken up into six textures.

We then apply each of these to a face of the skybox:

var materials = [
    createSkyMaterial('px.jpg'), // East
    createSkyMaterial('nx.jpg'), // West
    createSkyMaterial('py.jpg'), // Up
    createSkyMaterial('ny.jpg'), // Down
    createSkyMaterial('pz.jpg'), // North
    createSkyMaterial('nz.jpg')  // South
];

var mesh = new T.Mesh(
    new T.BoxGeometry( 512, 512, 512, 1, 1, 1 ),
    new T.MeshFaceMaterial( materials )
);

function createSkyMaterial( path ) {
    var texture = textureLoader.load(path);
    var material = new T.MeshBasicMaterial( {
        map: texture,
        overdraw: 0.5
    });

    return material;
}

As we’re going to be inside the skybox, we turn the skybox inside out by negatively scaling it on one of its axis:

mesh.scale.set(-1,1,1);
scene.add( mesh );

And then boom, we’ve got a skybox.

Generating meshes

As a build-up to something I might be doing later this month, I decided to build some Tetrominos.

First I define them as multi-dimensional arrays:

var shapes = {
    L: {
        color: 15769600,
        layout: [ [ 0, 0, 0 ], [ 1, 0, 0 ], [ 1, 0, 0 ], [ 1, 1, 0 ] ]
    },
    J: {
        color: 240,
        layout: [ [ 0, 0, 0 ], [ 0, 1, 0 ], [ 0, 1, 0 ], [ 1, 1, 0 ] ]
    },
    S: {
        color: 61440,
        layout: [ [ 0, 0, 0 ], [ 0, 0, 0 ], [ 0, 1, 1 ], [ 1, 1, 0 ] ]
    },
    Z: {
        color: 15728640,
        layout: [ [ 0, 0, 0 ], [ 0, 0, 0 ], [ 1, 1, 0 ], [ 0, 1, 1 ] ]
    },
    O: {
        color: 15790080,
        layout: [ [ 0, 0 ], [ 0, 0 ], [ 1, 1 ], [ 1, 1 ] ]
    },
    T: {
        color: 10486e3,
        layout: [ [ 0, 0, 0 ], [ 0, 0, 0 ], [ 1, 1, 1 ], [ 0, 1, 0 ] ]
    },
    I: {
        color: 61680,
        layout: [ [ 1 ], [ 1 ], [ 1 ], [ 1 ] ]
    }
};

And then I parse the arrays and build some Object3d’s to hold the various arrangements of BoxGeometry meshes. For this I’ve created a function that looks up a shape and allows you to generate the mesh at a specific scale.

var renderShape = function (type, scale) {
    var scale = scale || 2;
    var shape = shapes[type] || shapes[Object.keys(shapes)[0]];

    var shapeMesh = new T.Object3D();

    var layout = shape.layout;

    for (var r = 0; r<layout.length; r++) {
        for (var c = 0; c<layout[r].length; c++) {
          if (layout[r][c]>0) {
            var block = core.build(
                'BoxGeometry', [scale, scale, scale],
                'MeshLambertMaterial', [{
                    color: shape.color,
                    shading: T.FlatShading,
                    map: bumpTexture
                }]
            );
            block.position.x = c * scale;
            block.position.y = r * -(scale);
            shapeMesh.add(block);
          }
        }
    }
    shapeMesh.position.y = (5*scale) - (layout.length * scale);
    shapeMesh.position.x = (layout[0].length / 2) * -1;

    return shapeMesh;
}

After you’ve got your shape meshes generating, you can then do anything you like with them. For todays hack I arranged them in a circle around the camera.

Cardboctober

View this Cardboctober hack 04: Skyboxes and generating meshes

View the other submissions for day 04 on the Cardboctober website.

Check out my other Cardoctober posts here: /cardboctober

About the author

A photo of Max Glenister

Max Glenister is a Front-end Developer based in Oxfordshire. For work he spends his time designing, validating and implementing user interfaces. For fun he tinkers with Virtual Reality, 3D printing, embedded systems, game development and many other things.

You can keep up with Max on Github, Twitter and Reddit