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bolshas

Large landscape texturing

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Hi, I have a question: what is the best or most optimal way for large terrain texturing? Having in mind that most cards have top 4096x4096 per texture limit, one texture is not a solution. I came out with one possible solution but haven't tested it yet - the idea is that the terrain should only be a mesh of size visible on the screen and should move and change itself together with the camera. Is it common to do so?

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try to divide the big texture into smaller ones and apply to "pieces" of the terrain, in my engine, are zones with separated LOD.

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This is a big question..and there are a lot of options...

To do large terrains you need a texture splatting approach, a procedural approach or a mega texture approach.

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1) Splatting:

Texture splatting is the standard way to do terrain textures..you simply combine a number of tiled texture using a mask of some sort, like a rgba texture or a height/slope etc.

Basic splatting normally doesn't look very good because the transitions are too smooth, and the tiling is still visible. You will want to extend this with some per-pixel fades and some noise to reduce tiling.

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2) Procedural:

Procedural texturing is a wide-open area, with many possible methods, although most are based on perlin noise of some kind. Often one combines procedural noise with splatting.

Procedural methods can generate a large area of seamless, non-tiling data, yet they are generally not very realistic close up. SO the answer is to use the noise in creative ways to improve the look of tiled textures, and generate varying color and texture. Much of the value of noise the ability to make highly detailed non-tiling normal maps for shading.

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3) Megatexture:

A mega texture is a super large texture that is split into many pices and streamed form the harddrive at runtime...This requires all sorts of special tools for development etc. Only one game currently uses this (quake wars).


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I personally have struggled with this for a while..and I am now favoring a highly eclectic approach, combining mulitiple levels of detail and methods...I make heavy use of perlin noise to combine a large macro-level texture and tiled detail textures up close.

For instance, if you take one large, low-res macro texture that has you basic colors (this could be a satallite image, something rendered in bryce or terragen, or just hand painted) you can use the macro txture in creative way.

I first generate a complex noise mask, and use this to offset the tex coords for the macro texture.. this makes the macro texture have the appearance of being very highly detailed.

Then I am using a splatting up close combined with noise and parallax occlusion mapping to show very close high quality texture details, like leaves, grass, rocks, etc.

Then I create the normal maps and combine this with a macronormal map and do lighting.

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