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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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PAndersson

Efficent semi-procedual terrain in GLSL?

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I'm curious about how one would best go about procedually generating terrain in a GLSL fragment shader. I'm not intrested in generating the vertices, as that is a solved problem for me. Actually generating the terrain is not very hard, but I'm unsure how I would best go about it when it comes to efficency. The terrain fragment shader will be fairly heavily used, and large inefficencies may lead to below acceptable performance (something I have encountered while playing around with it before, though in a less serious manner), I must admit that I have not measured how it would be in this instance, but I also ask becouse I want to understand how to best work on a GPU.

The terrain in the project needs to be changeable at runtime and in some cases guided by human design, I think it would be for the best to send a texture containing information about terrain types but not how it actually looks as that is what I want to generate procedually.
Presuming I associate a single terrain type with a unique value, how would I best go about actually using it?
Should I calculate the color for each terrain type, and the multiply it by either 0 or 1 depending on whether I want to use it or not and then simply adding them all together in the end resulting in only one color being used. If so, should I use branching statements to select the 'multiplication'
value or should I use some bitmanipulation or other method?
Or would the more straightforward if, else if, else if, ..... , else construct be roughly equal?

A given draw-call is unlikely to use more than half the availible terrain types, does that change anything?

Another option would be to create a new texture for each terrain type (where each pixel is effectivly a boolean, use or do not use) and do a new draw call for each of them with thier own shader program, this would mean terrain type selection would effecivly be handled by the CPU but that may not be efficient as the textures need to be quite large. For that reason, it would be difficult to cache these between draw calls as well.
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