In XCOM 2 the geosphere is where you get all you mission information and how you pass time, it is essentially a hologram of a globe which turns as time passes.
Creating a realistic holographic shader is one of my main goals in this project so I decided to start work on this one early on, giving myself to come back and refine it as I see fit.
I started by playing around inside the material editor until I achieved a hologram look I was happy with.
Originally I was quite happy with the outcome for a first attempt but when I loaded up the game to gather reference I noticed that the in-game geosphere also has an effect which makes it materialise. The effect sweeps from the bottom and at the same time fragments of the globe come together.
I first made the material for the materialise effect, this material was similar to a shader I had created previously which was used disintegrate enemies.
This shader gave very interesting effects when combined with different noise maps but non of them were quite what I needed for this project.
I went back to the game for reference and broke down exactly what I could see then went into substance designer and created my own noise map to test inside the project.
The noise map is basically lots of small squares with gradients running in random directions the one large gradient multiplied over the top to control the sweeping up motion.
The final issue I needed to tackle was how to combined the globe shader I originally had and the materialise effect. The graph to achieve the holograph shader was quite complex in itself and rather than have all the nodes crisscrossing I decided to create a material function from the hologram shader.
I then plugged the output from the holographic function into the base colour of the materialise material.
When I combined the two the shader lost some of its opacity, this is something I am still working on figuring out how to add to the material.
I created two spheres, one slightly smaller than the other and overlayed them, one contains the outlines of the countries and the other had the image of the globe. They both have the same shader effect applied but with a few seconds delay between the animation because it didn’t look right when they were uniform.
I am quite happy with where the effect is at the moment but I will certainly continue to tweak it throughout the project.