while trying to do something more serious, I got distracted and started making a swarm of UFOs instead (you know how it is).
I thought it would interest folk because it uses the new instancing ability of the more recent builds. It uses a set of points fed into a spring SOP to provide a particle-like swarm of points. The translations of these points are used to drive the instancing of geo2 and geo3 that make up the saucer and dome parts of the UFOs. different particles are given different mass so the ufos appear to be jockeying for position ready to invade our poor little blue world.
inside geo1 is where the interesting geo stuff happens:
the line sop is used to create 60 points all in one location (0,0,0)
the add sop is used to delete the geometry and just leave the points
the point sop gives different masses by using ...
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fit($PT, 0, 60, .1, 100)
... in its Mass field. This gives you a different mass value for each point in the spring.
from here, a SOP to CHOP CHOP gets the translations of the points and they are fed to the output.
There are some other fun things to discover like the use of a wave function to make a ramp to bend the earth image into a curve (can anyone tell me how to make it more semicircular instead of a sine?).
also note that it's using the new depth-peeling method for rendering transparency (so might not work on older versions or older cards)
now, here's a possible bug ...
when I load this on my machine, the disk parts of the UFOs are transparent. If I go click on ramp1 and change something to make it cook, then it all renders okay. I there something I should have set to stop this happening?