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AHashem

Best Terrain Texturing Method

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I'm working on a terrain engine that uses a heightmap to generate the heights of the terrain. I was confused if I should use several large textures(1024*1024) or use tileable small textures(128*128) blended with other small tileable textures using alpha blending map to fad in/out from one area to another? I don't know which will be more expensive on the GPU's processing time, so please guys let me know which will be the best in Quality and processing time. PS: ofcourse several large textures are much easier in coding.

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I mean blending textures doesn't harm the FPS as using several large textures ie already blended?

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More of anything is going to affect performance, but if you render multiple texture stages in a single pass (all modern hardware supports this, as do most cards from the last six or seven years), you can save a lot of time. Never do in two passes what you can do in one.

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Rendering one large texture over the terrain is probably friendly to FPS and easy to implement, however if your terrain is of any significant size you will run into one or two issues.

One the terrain you use will be huge, ie. memory hungry. To solve this you might scale the texture down and stretch it over the terrain, but then you'll end up with a very low res ground and when in-game its actually hard to get a impression of scale.

Splatting will allow you to use smaller, high res textures all over the terrain, but also allow differences over the terrain to prevent ugly repeating in the ground.

It's a little harder to implement and will cost you some cycles, but it isn't really heavy weight and the visual benefits far outweigh the extra work done.

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It would be easier to have a tiled "detail" texture blended with a non-tiled low-res base texture for general coloring. You could also blend a low-res lightmap for lighting the terrain (or combine it with the base texture).

This won't look as good as texture splatting because the same detail texture is tiled across the entire terrain, but it might be good enough for some applications and it is a lot simpler.

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Quote:

This won't look as good as texture splatting because the same detail texture is tiled across the entire terrain, but it might be good enough for some applications and it is a lot simpler.

You might consider the use of several detail textures. Since those a basically greyscale textures you could pack uo to 4 of them into a single rgba texture. Then use another rgba texture (or something else) to determine the contribution of each detail texture per pixel.

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Thanks alot guys for these valueable techniques, I like John Bolton's technique, it will give me the option to blend the shadows of the static objects along with the base texture using a low-res lightmap for the whole terrain.

Another question is, if I've implemented the shadows of the static objects with the lightmap, what about the moving ones?? I heard about shadow volumes and maps, but I'm not sure which one will work better for a moving tank-like machine??

Thanks again guys for your help

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