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Curved surface tesselation or mesh LOD

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What''s better spline models tesselation or real time mesh LOD. Would curves replace polys in near future? I''m currently writing my own 3d engine based on D3DIM and would appreciate any suggestions on the question.

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Depends on if you are talking about characters or environments. I believe that curved surfaces were a way overhyped thing that became vogue after quake added them. Every engine developer suddenly needed them. Fact is level designers have found they are really not all that useful. You can create places where they work well but it is never anything that couldn''t be created with polys.

Certain situations like terrain can benefit somewhat from a parametric surface. However, even then, they are not terribly good and high frequency detail.

For characters, the choice is much more clear. Game artists have not even got to the point where they are really good at creating high quality polygon models. Surface modeling is a completely different beast. It looks good in renders since things like surface continuity don''t matter in a rendered image. However, in a character that can have different levels of detail, it matters greatly. Doing simple things like adding ears to a nurb character is quite a problem. If a modeler really likes using nurbs for modelling I always say fine, use it to craft a model then generate a high poly model from that which can then be refined.

On the technical side, it is clear that polygons are the way to go. That is the way things are accelerated. There may be card that can take some forms of surfaces and tesselate them for you, but then you are relying on the card to handle in. I am not sure I like that. Also the next gen of cards will have the ability to subdivide the base poly mesh you give it in a patch surface kind of way. So you get the extreme smooth benifits of a surface while keeping the control of the poly mesh.

In summary, I would stick to polys and make sure you can make really good models and enviroments before even thinking about anything else. Show me something you can''t do with polys and we can talk then.

-Jeff

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Thanx a lot. In fact I am implementing bone character animation in my engine and switching to splines would produce huge problems as I would have to learn how to do that with curved surfaces. Besides our artists were complaining on the difficulty of making NURBS models.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Jeff Lander

Depends on if you are talking about characters or environments. I believe that curved surfaces were a way overhyped thing that became vogue after quake added them. Every engine developer suddenly needed them. Fact is level designers have found they are really not all that useful. You can create places where they work well but it is never anything that couldn''t be created with polys.


For a different perspective please look at the Artist''s View column in the March, April and May issues of Game Developer Magazine.

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