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shawnre

Terrain Generation Techniques and the Sky

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Hello all, Attempting to learn 3-D concepts again - failed miserably a few times and went back to 2-D stuff to get a better base of knowledge from which to try again. The first concepts I am going for are the camera and terrain (so I will have something to look at). Managed to get a free floating camera working along with a sample of terrain (just used wire frame at the moment). The terrain utilized a grey scale height map to produce the terrain. Enough of what I have done, my question is what other ways are there to produce terrain? When I google "terrain generation" I see "height map" in just about every hit. I would just like to explore terrain a bit more, and get concepts from more than just one school of thought ("height map"). What other ways are there to produce terrain? Thanks for any insight! Shawn *Edit* - Quick edit to original topic, since this is my next area to explore. While I have some terrain rendering using the aforementioned height map, it is surrounded by an ugly cornflower blue sky or whatever you want to call it. What techniques are used to take care of the rest of a scene besides the terrain? I think one is called a sky dome, though I am not sure on that term. Can you somehow just use static bmp's, png's, tga's or what have you to have a static image around the terrain? Is that a technique with a name if it is possible? Thanks again! [Edited by - shawnre on December 24, 2008 11:17:09 AM]

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Quote:
Original post by shawnre
Enough of what I have done, my question is what other ways are there to produce terrain? When I google "terrain generation" I see "height map" in just about every hit. I would just like to explore terrain a bit more, and get concepts from more than just one school of thought ("height map"). What other ways are there to produce terrain?
Heightmaps are simple to create and edit (just images), compress extremely well (any image compression), and are very well suited to polygonal rendering and level-of-detail systems (quadtrees, etc.), and extremely simple to implement. The primary drawback is that the terrain cannot have any overhangs or caves, but for many games this is not a deal breaker.

Another simple representation of a terrain is a straight mesh, modelled in any 3d modelling program. These can represent any type of terrain your can imagine, but level-of-detail is tricky.

Voxel terrains (basically a 3D image, where each pixel is either empty or solid) used to be quite common when rendering was done in software, as they can be efficiently visualised using ray-casting. They are however not very well suited to polygonal rendering, and both level-of-detail and texturing can be an issue.

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