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Making Noise

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I'm not talking about crashing drums and screaming like a banshee. I'm talking pseudo-random continuous functions employed for a natural look to computer-generated objects. In my case I want to use it for generating terrain and I'm going the route that a vast number of programmers go and using Ken Perlin's noise. I had been to all the usual suspects - Ken Perlin's own tutorial, Hugo Elias's often cited tutorial and Matt Zucker's FAQ - but still felt I was missing some small detail to my understanding. So I finally took the drastic step of reading Ken Perlin's Improving Noise SIGGRAPH 2002 paper. What a breath of fresh air! Usually academic paper are written in as obscure language possible in order that the subject is sufficiently obfusticated to prevent understanding by the reader - presumably in a bid by the author to appear extra clever. In contrast Ken's paper read well, was clear yet concise and explained the subject well. Importantly it came across as a paper written so that the reader would understand the subject: just as an academic paper should be written, but so very rarely are.


So here is a screenshot of my 2D Perlin noise. Though you've undoubtedly seen it all before I'm pleased with the result. Maybe you'll take a moment to read Ken's paper.
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Cool stuff. Perlin noise is very useful - I've used it for generating random heightmaps in the past. I certainly feel the same way about acedemic papers as you do...

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