There's nothing 'new' here to those who tread the hallowed halls of GameDev, just my take on existing techniques and the resulting trials and tribulations. I found myself with a full working 'day' to dev with, so decided a little video capture to show progress over the day was in order.
The prototype uses the 'make a sphere from a cube' approach - where I split up a patch plane into quads, and then tessellate each until it needs subdividing again, and so on. Then the patches are 'inflated' to form the sphere necessary for the desired planet.
As yet, it's fairly naive - nowhere near a final product. Visibiity and LOD is done (for now), but patch skirts have to go in to close seams, and height values are needed of course. This is all being done on CPU as well - and I've already found with my early noise function trials that I'll have to go GPU to get anything near the results I want.
Still - for a days coding I'm fairly chuffed I got what I had in mind down in code, and it's a solid basis to build something on down the road. For Dom - all I initially want is something that looks 'credible' and allows the player to land/explore/mine/establish bases, etc. Uber-awesomeness can come later if Dom ever gets released, and ever earns a penny ;)
Feel free to read the full article, and check out the video 'diary' of the dev-in-progress!