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Justaddwater

How to build a large "level"

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Hi, Im fairly new to directx and for fun Im trying to build a large 3d terrian area (something like the outdoor zones on Everquest were like). My question is how do people normally do this? Do they created the entire map in a 3d program then load that? Or do they make the terrian in code - texture map it and then just drop 3d objects trees etc on that map? I dont need specifics just wondering about the idea in general. Thanks!

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You use a level editor like Radiant or a 3d modelling environment like Maya or Max and write an exporter or a converter.

edit: Sorry, didn't see the part about terrain. (I READ GOOD!11)
Anyway, what I think people usually do is load and render a heightmap of a randomly-generated cloud and make modifications to that.

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They create a heightmap and generate the terrain texture using an algorithm that considers slope, height, etc. Objects are placed on top of the terrain.

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Large terrain are usually built using heightmaps or some other terrain generation algorithm. VTerrain.org having some fantastic algorithms. What you can do is depending on what you want to do... follow the simple heightmapped based terrain generation.

The theory states that you will have a heightmap (usually in .raw) format and then you generate a flat triangle mesh. You then use the bits from the .raw heightmap and this will be in the format of 0 - 255 and use that as your terrain's height at each point.

After this method you terrain might be large and slow... since you will have a certain amount of detail (high in most cases) all over the terrain which is not neccessary as you can reduce the detail for the terrain parts that are far from the viewer. You will then move to LOD (Level of detail) schemes/algorithms and reduce the detail for parts of the terrain furthest from the viewer and this will speed up the engine a bit.

You can read this article on The Second Life of brute force terrain mapping

I hope this helps.
Take care.

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