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Method for largescale (chunk-based?), seamless terrain


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#1 BluePhase   Members   -  Reputation: 147

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 05:45 PM

Hi forums,


I have done a fair amount of CG in the past, but all characters and architecture/ objects- never any terrain larger than a single model.
My goal is to make a terrain which is several square kilometers large. I am using Mudbox, Maya, Blender, and World Machine.
Now I would like to model in a large amount of detail to make normal and displacement/heightmaps from to project onto lower poly models of the same terrain. In order to do this, I need a very large number of subdivisions. Since I can't afford (processing wise) to subdivide the entire world like this at once, I guess I need to divide the whole world into smaller chunks.

I started out in maya, and made a plane with a grid on it, divided into 64 spaces, each grid square I gave its own uv map space, so I ended up with 64 uvs. Then I imported this plane grid into mudbox, where I will model each unit, and then import each unit's UVs into world machine, then world machine's outputs back to mudbox. So the terrain is made up of 64 smaller objects with their own individual uvs.

I have two major issues:

1) [what seems to be the much harder question] since mudbox can only sclupt one object per stroke, when I sculpt over the edges between object squares, they never quite line up again. What is the secret for having sculpted terrain chunk objects that have edges which line up? Do I need to rethink my method entirely to achieve this? Am I perhaps doing it backward? Do I model a fair level of detail, then divide the master terrain model into my 64 chunks from there? Even so, once I cross a chunk edge between two models with a sculpting tool, the seam is broken I would think...


2) Since I am working with 64 sets of uvs from the start, the process is incredibly cumbersome. Is there a way to make a master height map to first take into world machine, and then export WM's outputs, and then take all this into say Maya, and subdividie the whole model into the smaller chunks at that point, with the heightmap UV's being divided as well into their corresponding grid parts?

If all of this doesn't make sense, my question is basically what process do I use to create a massive seamless world (that may have smaller model parts or chunks) if I want to model in high details for displacement maps to project, with Mudbox, Maya, Blender, and World Machine at my disposal?

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