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The Big Whale

Some questions about terrain programming...

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The Big Whale    122
Hello.After reading Trent's book about terrain programming(Focus on 3D Terrain programming) I still have some questions about it. How is height data stored in commercial games that use outdoor engines(like Vietcong, Delta Force...), are heightmaps the way to go? Any examples of a level editor for outdoor games.(again, how is this done in commercial games - probably they don't just use Paint to edit height etc.) I heard about making a terrain in 3D Studio Max or similiar programs, how to import that kind of terrain into the engine? Just as other models, as a .3DS file or somewhat different? Thanks in advance. [edited by - The Big Whale on August 14, 2003 4:02:26 PM]

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skillfreak    160
heightmaps are extremly common. def the way to go, but certainly not the only way you can gererate terrain.

any level editors really are painting a picture in memory. The height values are then writen to a map file with some special data wrapped around it.

But no, i don''t know of any heightmap editors off the top of my head, however, look at wc3 editor or something
essentialy your looking at a height map.

3dds i don''t know about. But i would assume it would be a bigger hassle to read in 3ds format and trim all the 3ds stuff you dont need.

hope this helps

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SantaClaws    144
To answer the question of whether or not heightmaps are the way to go requires a better knowledge of what you want to do with your game / engine. Basic heightmaps on their own have some limitations - for instance, as they are a 2D solution, you can''t do things like an overhanging ledge with a basic heightmap solution. Of course, with a combination of methods or with several heightmaps combined into one, you can solve problems like this. My suggestion would be to go ahead and try to use them (or a form of them) to begin with, and when/if you start having problems with them, you''ll have a better knowledge of what you need and how to do it.

Hmm... actually, a lot of editors DO start with a painted heightmap. I think the Tribes 2 editor allows you to tweak the landscape by hand, though. Don''t take my word on that...

As for using a 3D modeller like Max: that''s opening up a whole different can of worms. You can use it (in fact, I''ve been messing with this myself). The way I have been working with is just exporting the mesh data into ASE, and converting/compiling it into my own format, which is basically just an octree. You have a lot more freedom with design when you''re working with a basic mesh as opposed to a heightmap texture.

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Ilici    862
Usually the terrain is generated with noise alghoritms. (Perlin noise mostly).

But with an arbitrary mesh for the terrain u can have overhangs or caves an stuff. However i think to do LOD for an arbitrary mesh is more expensive than for a heightmapped terrain

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python_regious    929
Parametric and other mathematical representations of surfaces are used rather alot in terrain engines too. Heightmaps are good because they are easy to create, manage, and render, they are however the most limited of terrain representations.

quote:

Original Post by Ilici:
Usually the terrain is generated with noise alghoritms. (Perlin noise mostly).



Usually? There are an astounding number of ways to generate terrain, that is just one.

Death of one is a tragedy, death of a million is just a statistic.

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okonomiyaki    548
Yeah, I combine a heightmap along with 2 passes of fBm noise. Looks very cool, natural and random, but also some user-definability in it, and it''s not even throughout the whole terrain (as noise sometimes tends to do)

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