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I wanna make a terrain engine

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jollyjeffers

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Right, I'm back again. Last week was pretty much a write-off as far doing anything useful was concerned. End of exams, end of university and summer weather.

I went to the Lake District walking with the UoN Rambling Society. I really enjoy getting away from city-life for a bit, even if its just for a few hours. I spend enough time typing away in front of a screen as it is [headshake]

I'm not sure whether I'd call it "great" or "terrible" weather. It was perfectly clear blue skies (giving huge visibility - I wonder what near/far plane draw-distance was used?) and around 25-30 degrees all day (we drove past a garage that was recording 31 degrees at 9pm). I know thats nothing compared with some places around the world, but for the UK and a pasty-white brit like myself its pretty hot [grin]

I say "terrible" simply due to the fact that I was walking on the tops of mountains all day. Heavy bag, dehydration (despite setting out with 3L of water) etc... Even the wind was hot and dry - sometimes its nice in the lakes during the summer as you get to the top and get a pleasant cooling breeze. Not this time.

Combine that with having trouble with not eating properly and a recurring problem with my breathing meant I was quite ready to keel over dead at several points. But that'd just be pointless when you've got this sort of stuff to look at:









How can you NOT want to get up there and just sit back and admire the views?

I want to make (another) terrain renderer. I've lost count of how many I've worked on over the last 5 years or so - my love of geography and hill/mountain walking seems to cause me to gravitate towards them [grin]

One thing I did notice is that the classic reflect/refract effect on the water is not obvious if at all visible. Yet EVERY terrain renderer these days seems to favour the liquid-glass like effect....
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Quote:
Original post by jollyjeffers
How can you NOT want to get up there and just sit back and admire the views?


Well, as you said...
Quote:

I say "terrible" simply due to the fact that I was walking on the tops of mountains all day. Heavy bag, dehydration (despite setting out with 3L of water) etc... Even the wind was hot and dry - sometimes its nice in the lakes during the summer as you get to the top and get a pleasant cooling breeze. Not this time.

Combine that with having trouble with not eating properly and a recurring problem with my breathing meant I was quite ready to keel over dead at several points.


Seems like a good reason to me [razz] [wink]

Quote:

One thing I did notice is that the classic reflect/refract effect on the water is not obvious if at all visible. Yet EVERY terrain renderer these days seems to favour the liquid-glass like effect....


Looking good > looking real ?

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Yes, okay fair points - both of them [rolleyes]

I've been up in the lakes with similar views without it being so damned hot (its especially nice on a clear winters day)...

Also, that whole "Looking good > looking realistic" thing really does bite me at times [flaming]. Almost as much as the new trend for "physics puzzles".

Jack

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You can see the reflection and refraction (the shallow water) in those shots, although you don't notice the "distortion" at that kind of distance. The difference is that real water has "stuff" in it that gives it strong color - where the "liquid" glass seen in most games is either too reflective or too clear (or both). But the reflection/refraction effect is important to modeling water, but so is modeling the stuff in the water, even if that's done using something like simple height fog. What I've done in the past is handle the height fog in the refractive pass, so that the deeper (and dirtier) the water the less you can see through. Combine that with fresnel blending of the reflection/refraction and allowing a surface layer texture that can mask the reflectivity (lilie pads, debris, etc) and you get a pretty good approximation.

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All good points there - won't argue with any of them [smile]

I think it probably boils down to phantom's point about realism. A snowball effect almost - everyone else is doing liquid glass therefore I must also do liquid glass...

I'm still toying with my dual-pass D3D10 based reflect/refract water technique; when I get a functioning copy of Vista I'll probably see what I can knock up. That'll be when I investigate breaking the liquid-glass phenomena [grin]

Cheers,
Jack

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Jack: Someone has to start a trend away from the glassy water :) Start the trend!

Awesome pictures man... You should put them up on Flickr or something.

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Heh, Tibet offered plenty of glassy waters:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Also saw a couple of these in China on my way:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us.

Speaking of terrain engines, I'll have to get to writting some geomipmapping code for my 4E5 entry. Wouldn't be too terrible to have some help *wink wink*. :)

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Quote:
Oh Jack, please send me the hi-res pics. Those photographs were wonderfully taken!
[grin] Thanks! I haven't got time right this second, but I'll see about uploading the full images somewhere soon...

Quote:
Someone has to start a trend away from the glassy water :) Start the trend!
I'll see what I can do!

Quote:
Tibet offered plenty of glassy waters
hmm, I have to wonder what the difference is then... my knowledge of the chemistry/physics of water is a little limited, but I guess there must be a reason why you get the different effects.

Quote:
I'll have to get to writting some geomipmapping code for my 4E5 entry. Wouldn't be too terrible to have some help *wink wink*
[lol] I think I might be judging 4e5 entries, so not sure if I can help out with actual entries. Either way, I've got a combination of no free time and no internet coming up for the next 3 months so I'm probably not of much use to anyone [sad]

Best of luck with it though!

Cheers,
Jack

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Quote:
hmm, I have to wonder what the difference is then... my knowledge of the chemistry/physics of water is a little limited, but I guess there must be a reason why you get the different effects.


Well, between these two:



I'd say it's due to different amounts of turbulence of the water, and the distance of the photograph to the water. It's like comparing the specularity of a porcelain surface in real life to that of a carpet.

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Quote:
One thing I did notice is that the classic reflect/refract effect on the water is not obvious if at all visible. Yet EVERY terrain renderer these days seems to favour the liquid-glass like effect....


Yeah, I'm definately guilty of that. I know I should blur the reflection too, I'm just not willing to use the extra fill rate. The Typhoon tech demo is the first I've seen to blur the reflection.

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