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Basic Terrain Rendering

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I've finally gathered the time to get back to working on my engine, now that the semester is over. My current dilemma with the engine is what model and terrain/world geometry formats I should use to get accomplished what I need. After doing some research, it looks like I'm going to be rolling my own terrain/world geometry format, which is okay by me. I've actually got some basic functionality of a heightmap terrain renderer up and running as demonstrated in the following screenshots.

Really simple color terrain

Really simple color terrain2

It still needs a LOT of work, but in its basic form, its working. I need to add texturing, smoothing, LOD, and much much more. I'm planning to combine this with a BSP format also, which I'm still working out the details of.

The next half of my dilemma is a model format. I have a very basic (again) static mesh rendering function in place that uses Wavefront OBJ files. I have been researching the MD# model formats and have found them to be interesting at the least. I haven't had much time to spend in this area yet to do much research, so this will probably be my next focus. I'm still not sure which format is going to win out in the end, or if I'm going to end up rolling my own. I'll have to experiment with a few and see what works out best for what I need. The only things I know for sure so far is that I will need a skeletally animated format.

I still need to finish implementing lighting into the engine. I may start implementing shaders for some more advanced detailing as I start to get more features up and running.

I have managed to obtain the Ageia PhysX physics SDK. This will probably take up some of my model researching time to make sure that I pick a format, adapt one, or roll my own that will easily work with the physics code. Many more things to come still... I'm kind of flying by the seat of my pants at the moment, experimenting with all kinds of things, but hopefully I can bring some sane order to it once I'm done playing with things and lock down a solid design and implement it.
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Guest Anonymous Poster


If you need some universal 3d format for development, you might want to take a look at Collada.

It's Open (source), extensible, and has
+ geometry, scene graph, animations, effects (,shaders, physics,...)
+ Max/Maya/XSI exporters
+ convenient interfaces (Collada DOM, FCollada,...)

- files are rather big (due to XML)
- Collada DOM might be too slow

So you would at some point roll your own format for shipping...

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