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How should I model this?

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I''m not sure where to put this so im just gona throw it here. I''m making a multiplayer driving game for me and my fiends, it will feature our own cars and will be set in our neighborhood. We always hoped they would close the streets for a day so we could race but thats never going to happen, so this is the next best thing. Today i drove around and took picture of the neighborhood, a map, and a few cars. I was wondering what would be the best technique to model the terrain. First i was thinking heightmap and a huge texture. But that texture would be huge, our neighborhood is a mile square. Also there would be not enough detail where it needs to be, around the streets. Then i was thinking just model it raw but that would be pritty time consumeing. Last i was thinking maybe a heightmap + raw roads. But then i figured there would be artifacts where the heightmap droped off next to the road. Any suggestions on how i should do this? Here are some pictures, please these are alot of pictures, once you get the idea stop loading. http://68.53.233.74/arlington.html I know this is a cross post. I requested the other to be closed.

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Thank you for your very constructive response. Oh man, life sux then you make your own batch resolution reducer in vb and it saves them in .bmp instead of .jpg so instead of increasing your transfer speed u slow it down.

[edited by - honayboyz on June 2, 2003 4:50:16 PM]

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Scan in a map of your neighborhood, and trace the streets. Now you have a base for the map, and you have small plots where you can make the houses and other stuff in, so you won''t end up with things that don''t perfectly fit etc. if it doesn''t fit, you only have to remake a small part.

My Site

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I know i have the map, im talking about strictly the terrain. What method of creating and rendering the terrain (yards, street, golf course, ponds) should i use?


edit: my map: http://68.53.233.74/images/arlington/6.jpg

[edited by - honayboyz on June 2, 2003 5:12:07 PM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I like the way Battlefield 1942 does it.

You can have a huge texture of the landscape. Your program will then break it up into smaller sections to render.


You also have a height map, (I think theirs is 256x256), you would have your game "stretch" that over your texture so your terrain would be elevated.

Also you could have a map which held friction data. Twhite areas are like ice and black areas are very sticky. This way you could have the vehicle react properly whether it is over a road or grass.

Lastly a damage map, with shades to determine potholes, etc.


That''s my idea, but I am sure someone will top me here (as they always do) and then I can learn as well

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Yea, I was thinking about a heightmap. When you do a heightmap you create your terrain on a grid, the x,y''s off all the verticies are lined up in a grid. This is fine for terrain where the detail is almost the same acrost the hole area. In a game where the road meets the terrain, the terrain is goin to have vertices ever 3 scale feet or so, the road is going to need them much closer together for curbs and smooth corners.

I''m thinking about making the whole thing in 3D studio. Make a road cross section and then extrude it along the path (i forget what this is exactly called). This will be great for roads, but then i will have a hard time connecting the ground to the roads. Maybe if i make my road shaped like a large U. I can sink it into the ground and boolean subtract that U from the ground. Later delete the large, extra, verticle parts of the U from the scene will leave the road in the ground.

I don''t know, i dont'' have Max at this house. Any other suggestions?

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Here''s my progress on my "world".

In the top left i have the map being splined over. In the bottom right i have the lofts of the splines, there are only 3 splines and 2 are shown lofted, the 3rd has like 20 un connected ends so i need to connect those somehow to allow it to be lofted as well.


http://honayboyz.tripod.com/work.jpg

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The reason that I didn''t suggest a height map was that houses (vertical things with overhangs) tend not to come out very well as generic heightmaps (ie. fixed grid ones).

NB: a 1600x1200 jpeg at a compression ratio of about 6 (near bitmap) comes to about 100k, so I''d do it that way...

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What engine are you going to use to run all of this? Are you going to write an engine? If you are, I think you''re getting a little ahead of yourself.

If you''re using an engine like say, torque, you would make the terrain using height maps, and make the height map accommodate the road ''objects'' so that nothing clips or overlaps. To texture the terrain you would simply paint the height map surface one of 2 ways, either by literally using something like the torque editor to ''paint'' the terrain, you could use a terrain color map, where the engine picks the colors based on the height of the terrain.

The road(s) would be modelled in something like worldcraft, quark or 3dsmax, and you would simply texture the roads using UUV maps, or a brush. (Depending on the program you use.)

It would be a good idea if you used frustrum culling, octrees, etc, so that your entire map isn''t rendered. Of course, if you didn''t know that, you really shouldn''t be trying to write a multiplayer game.


It honestly depends on what your engine is capable of.


btw, I think what you want to do is weld the vertices on the splines together.


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This is my own engine. Also its just the terrain im talking about, tree and houses will be added seperately, since there are many of the same house and MANY of the same trees, i will only load them once, then just go through a list and draw them where they need to be.

What about making 5-10 premade road sections, and then just make like a train set of them around the world. I dont'' know how my collsion system would handle those overlaps and gaps, that why idealy id like it as 1 huge mesh. The roads and terrain can be differnt groups but their vertecies idealy should perfectly line up. How do games like Midtown Madness do it?

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What is a good number of vertecies for a height map. My land is 1 mile square. So i was thinkin if i have 1 vertex every foot thats 27878400 vertecies. And thats where my problem is. I could model a yard in like 20 verticies, but the curbs will need more.

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Assuming you''re not rendering the entire scene at once (You want it to be multiplayer right?) then your total scene polycount is irrelevent (For the most part), assuming your engine can handle whatever parts of the scene it does render, you should be fine.

Why don''t you just test your heightmap using your engine? And then make adjustments as you see fit, rather than adjusting your heightmap to a specification I or someone else throws at you.

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Because im still writing the engine, and if i need to implement some combination for methods for the terrain i would like to know that before i code some heightmap that looks bad, or try to load a mesh that i can''t make.

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It seems to me that, unless the terrain in your neighborhood and later courses that you might add is going to be very hilly and very large, there is no need to use a heightmap during the game because it seems like using a heightmap is best suited to when you are going to be doing some sort of dynamic LOD.
What might work is creating static geometry before running the game using two bitmaps, one a heightmap for your neighborhood and another a roadmap and you would initally create the heightmap at high detail then level the vertices where the road is. You could then optimize the mesh to get rid of a large number of vertices and just save it as a .x file or in whatever form you want. You'd also probably want to divide this mesh up into patches so that you aren't applying the road surface texture(s) to large areas where it doesn't appear. Alternatively, you could divide up your mesh into a road mesh and a terrain mesh, but I'm not sure how you would glue them together so that no little holes appeared.
Well, anyway, my point is that I don't see why you would want to use a heightmap at runtime as opposed to just using a premade mesh.
-Eric

[edited by - gurgi on June 5, 2003 2:32:38 AM]

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