i also do like those ultra thin starlanes. maybe we really shouldn't scale them(same with the stars). i know somebody was proposing this already aeones ago. *squintsatgeoff*
Actually, I tried it out by removing scaling of stars from the code. It does in fact, as predicted by some, look a bit odd to not scale the stars at all, as when they're all close together, the individual star sprites end up looking a lot bigger than they do when spread all out due to a weird perception optical illusion type thing... and this is bad because it ends up looking like they're bigger when you're zoomed out, rather than zoomed in... (though I suppose it's possible one would get used to this after a while). The starlanes and the fleet icons however definitely, IMO, should not scale.
to achieve nebulas similar to those in burndaddys mockup, we would need to use bigger ones(current ones are 512x512 i think) and more of them. since they need to overlap to get away from the blob-look. and then we should also use bigger pictures for the bg stars. they are at 256x256 now and we have a ugly patterns this way..
personaly i would suggest using 1024x1024 for the bg stars as well as for the nebulas. but i'm not sure if this will be a memory overkill.
I've discussed this before:
http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopi ... 5877#15877
(that post is itself a set of links to other posts...)
To summarize: I think you're overlooking an ovious and potentially better solution, which is to generate these procedurally. Particularly for the background stars, this would be easy, and could be much better, as individual points would have consistent locations between zoom levels. For the nebulas, it would perhaps be a bit more complicated to generate and look good... so maybe a bitmap would still be best, either a photoshopped something, or a NASA telescope image of an actual galaxy as the background...