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AIRSHIPS! how should i draw the world?

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i was playing around with AIRSHIPS! today, and its time to start thinking about how to draw the world.

 

the game is a WW1 airship flight sim, with an alternate history where all sides have helium, and the player can fly for any of 5 different nations.

 

at one end of the scale is what i have right now, a single ground texture drawn out to the horizon in all directions, as a big flat plane:

 

gallery_197293_672_46449.jpg

 

 

the game world stretches from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, and from the Urals to the Mississippi:

 

gallery_197293_672_94239.jpg

 

 

at the other end of the scale. i can hand edit a world map with a custom editor. but i'm an army of one here, and would rather do this a quickly as possible. i realize that better results will take longer. you have to break a few eggs to make a real mayonnaise, and Rome wasn't built in a day.

 

i haven't really thought about the options. obviously some sort of height map elevation will be desirable, as well as being able to designate different types of terrain textures, such as pastures vs no man's land.

 

perhaps using a paint program to create bitmaps for use as height and texture maps. or to make a terrain map which determines what heightmap formula and texture set to use to generate chunks procedurally.

 

i have engine code to handle any necessary terrain chunking, rendering, etc, its mostly about an efficient way to build the data to be rendered. 

 

convert photos to maps? import elevation data from somewhere?

Edited by Norman Barrows

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You can approach it in multiple steps:

1. add elevation data (terrain rendering), look at this here for data sets.

2. Add simple abstract models for large area of wood or cities (just a few blocks).

3. Add some more detailed models for certain targets.

4. Add some lights and shadows, a simple cube looks cools with light & shadow, you dont need ultra-detailed art :D

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You can approach it in multiple steps: 1. add elevation data (terrain rendering), look at this here for data sets. 2. Add simple abstract models for large area of wood or cities (just a few blocks). 3. Add some more detailed models for certain targets. 4. Add some lights and shadows, a simple cube looks cools with light & shadow, you dont need ultra-detailed art

 

 

elevation and texturing info is the main thing.

 

i already have items 2 and 3 (city blocks, factories, bridges, howitzers, tanks, etc).        having a h*ll of a time finding a WW1 flak gun model though... <g>

 

at the moment i'm using dx9 fixed function based graphics, so i'm not sure what my options are for shadows. perhaps volume shadow stencil buffer techniques implemented with shaders (at the cost of triple draws as i recall). fake drop shadows are always an option.

 

real shadows are the next effect that would make the biggest impact on my games. well, that and true instancing for heavy vegetation.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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