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Jonathan

How the hell do you make grass look like grass?

10 posts in this topic

I would suggest using voxels to render grass because of the height mapping that is involved. Delta Force 2 with Novalogic's Voxelspace 32 technology is the best (and good looking) example of this.
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Realistic grass, like hair or fur, is a very compute intensive operation, since each strand must be modeled seperately. While hair and fur have to respond to the object's motion, grass only responds to wind, shock waves, and being walked on. It also has the advantage that it all faces the same direction, although good wind effects don't affect it uniformly, but in waves.

If I were you, I'd look for shortcuts, like bumpmapping or draw waves in alternating light and dark bands. You could also draw the blades of grass in larger batches, but that's still alot of polygons.

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There was some talk around here about using splines for gnerating landscapes. It might be possible to use the spline as the basic land 'shape' but modify it with a sharp wave or something that would cause a grass effect?

I think you would need to spend a fair bit of time to get it looing good but I cant see it being too computationaly expensive.

What do you lot think?

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One Idea is to use sprites. The only problem that I see with this is that I believe that rendering sprites in a hardware API requires that you use triangles (for depth checking). So it might be too fillrate intensive. Give it a try, though. It might actually work well

--TheGoop

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Most 3D modelers can apply bump mapping to bitmaps.

Or try Photoshop plugins to get cool earth-type texture like
grass, rock and dirt. Some great ones are Xenofex by Alien
Skin Software and BladePro by Flaming Pear. Or you could
probably play around with noise, blur, and render clouds with
Photoshop. There are bunch of ways to make your tile look as
if it has depth.

Wayfarer

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Actually, particle systems are used to make hair in expensive rendering software. I have no idea how it works though.
__My idea is to use bezier curves instead. Just set them straight up at first with two or three controls points. Then render them in software and overlay them in 2D.
__The hitch is this would require that you check Z-depth in software. You would sort of need to anyways, for collisions with the individual blades.
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I was playing Zelda 64 the other, having a blast, being astounded anew at how big that central plain is, when I noticed something that kinda bugged me. I'm on these big rolling grass covered hills, but I can't see any grass. What I see is this flat thing paint green.

That got me thinking, how would you make that flat thing actually look like what it's supposed to be, grass? Bump-mapping? Voxel texturing? What do you guys think?

Jonathan

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Hmm....I'd have to go with voxels on this one for sure....Like Novalogic's Delta Force 2. Voxels are not as computationally intesive as polygons so you shouldn't notice TOO much of a FPS drop.I could be wrong.It all depends on what area you want to cover with grass.
I would suggest using Voxels for the grass but only reneder the grass if it's a certain distance away from the player.That's what Novalogic did.
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