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mrmrcoleman

Indoor/Outdoor...

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Hello, I have been playing a lot of Halo recently and it got me wondering, how do they achieve the indoor/outdoor scenes? I have done quite a bit of terrain programming but never any indoor, although I have read a bit about BSP trees and such. Could somebody give me a general overview of the techniques available for these sort of graphics? Thanks in advance, Mark.

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If I remember Halo correctly, there were two kinds of "indoor environments". The first kind was very simple and generally small structures that were little more than a few hallways which you could find items in or retreat to for cover. These could be located anywhere in the level. My guess would be that these were simply 3d objects which were dropped onto the terrain, in very much the same way that a boulder or a tree might be.

The second kind of indoor environment is the large-scale structure which is much more like a level than an object. These structures are never "in the middle" of the terrain, the entrance to the structure is on one of the borders of the terrain. There are various ways to handle this scenario, mostly depending on how they handled their indoor environments (which I'm not sure about). One common way to handle this is the concept of a "portal". When the user stands in the terrain looking into the structure, what the user sees as the entrance to the structure is actually a quad called a "portal". This portal is rendered in a special way -- it changes the viewport and other parameters to match the size of the portal and then renders the indoor environment from that perspective, then applies that to the quad.

I'm actually not explaining this very well, do a web search for "portal rendering" or "portal systems" or something like that. There should be plenty of information, it's a common technique for indoor hallway-like environments.

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