swaying vegetation - been there done that. sinusoidal based motion. function of wind speed and direction. phase offset based perhaps on a function of world x,z (for global wind sources) etc. etc.
what about a field of vegetation waving in the breeze, like waves on the ocean?
what's a good algo for that?
and what about gusty winds? just toss in a little random gusty motion? it _should_ be an area of gusty wind that moves across the game world like in the real world.... coming and going, etc.
all this seems to point to modeling swaying vegetation at the individual level, driven by some higher level code that models swaying vegetation/wind effects over large areas.
in general, i'm talking about natural wind sources here , not a "wind emitter:" like a helicopter in a game engine.
cursory searches here and on google turn up the usual suspects with regard to swaying individual plants, but nothing on area effects of wind on swaying vegetation.
as i continue work on Caveman, which is quickly evolving from a RPG into a paleo-world simulation, i'm discovering that good animations are key to bringing the world to life. to that end, i'd like to try to take my vegetation animations to the next level in this new version of the game, by adding "waves of grain" to simple wind based animation of swaying vegetation. I suspect the effect would be most dramatic in the game, given the large view distances (i'm now testing at >300 meters at highest LOD), use of high lod at all ranges with no impostors, and the extremely dense vegetation (often > 10K instances visible onscreen at once).
how to do that, and how to animate a rigged model in truespace (yes, i'm going to try for skinned meshes!) are about the only two things on the project i haven't figured out yet.