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Cristian Decu

Localized subdivision

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Hello fellow game programmers,


I'm working on a real time planet renderer and for now, i'm using a brute force technique, no LOD. I need to find a way to subdivide the icosahedron only where it's needed (near the camera && inside the frustum). Information on this issue are rather scarce and way to generalized. I was wondering what's the best way to do it?


Is using octrees a good ideea? Is there a working implementation that i can peek into?

I got something inside my head, however my ideas are way too mixed up now to come with a solution by my own (and i really don't want to reinvent the wheel here).


Thank you for your time!

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Subdividing a planet's surface has approximately nothing to do with an octree.  An octree is for volumes. Unless you are modeling the mantle and core of the planet, it is probably a bad fit.  


The surface of the planet can be generated as a surface mesh or height map or similar.



In games many people start out with huge ideas of "I want many full real-size worlds!"  Then realize that idea is extremely difficult.  Even games like WoW don't reach the content size of Earth.  A few seconds on Google says:


* Currently the WoW with all expansion packs is somewhere between 45-60 square miles.  


* Skyrim's actual navigable overworld is actually on the order of 15-20 square miles.


* Dragon Age Inquisition has two large kingdoms on the map and feels bigger than Skyrim, but is about the same 15-20 square miles of navigable space.


* GTA 5 is about 100 square miles but has a ton of dead space and repeated patterns throughout, it is not dense.



The games do a lot of lying to convince you the world is really a big world.  The biggest games have models that fit inside a real-world city.  Not that it is small, that is an enormous amount of content, but it should give you a sense of scale.  


Those are games where the budget is easier to measure in billions of dollars rather than millions. $0.25B, $0.31B, $0.26B, etc., and they produced under 100 square miles.  Earth has about 60 million square miles of land.


The biggest problems with world-sized games is trying to generate compelling content.

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