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DX11 D3D11 Tiled Resources - Handy for me?

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Hi all,

I'm working on a terrain engine with DX11. The engine suppose to render every frame a surface that represents ~180x180 KM and the texturing should look good from high above but also close to the ground (The engine is part of a game and the camera view can come to 0 altitude, basically).

More regarding texturing - Since this is a replacement engine to an existing one (which use much lower mesh resolution on DX9), the textures already exist and there are basically ~3000 of them. On DX9 the engine is issueing a draw call for every texture, which results in ~1000 draw calls per frame for the terrain (As not all textures are usually used per frame, and of course many are tiled more than once as the mesh is huge). With DX11 I'm storing all those ~3500 on 2 texture arrays and using very few draw calls (Due to Tessellation technique, the textures can be done with 1 draw call).

In order to select which textures will be tiled where, I have a blendmap that is a 1024x1024 16-bit RAW file that I sample in the Pixel shader and choose according to the value which array to use of the 2 and which texture eventually to tile at the UV ccordinate.

Now, since I want to fight the huge number of textures that will require a lot of VRAM (Assuming I need at least 3K textures and let's say acceptable resolution is 1024x1024 DXT1, that's already more than 2GB that I have to store in VRAM, only for the art textures of the terrain), my idea for texturing was to use another set of textures in Multi-texture fashion to tile most of the terrain and leave only special areas that require special look to be tiled with more unique textures.

But, Now everything got complicated as I learn about Tiled-Resources :)

Thing is that I simply don't get how EXACTLY it's working. I have an idea after I read what I could on the web and I even have this source code of Mars rendering which is linked on the bottom of this page:


Also I saw that PPT (Didn't heard the lecture though):


So I simply want to ask:

1. According to what I described and assuming my engine eventually renderes real areas of the world, would it be my best choice to use Tiled Resources and even increase the number of textures in use? Because basically the dream of artists is to use a unique Sattelite image for textures...

2. Currently the engine is designed for D3D 11.0 only, we didn't meant to go 11.2 which will require users to have windows 8.1 at least, is it worth it?

3. From coding POV, how complicated it should be to handle Tiled Resources? As I understand the idea is to allow the App specify which textures are needed for the current frame and only the subresources (i.e needed textures and only the necessary mip levels) are uploaded to VRAM. It means I will need some App (C++ for me) code that will tell the rendering code which textures I need and which mip-levels for each texture? Or is it something "Automatic" ?

4. I do have the Mars example from Microsoft which I linked above, and I'm going to inspect it deeper (They are using 16K^3 - 1GB texture for the rendering, but they say they are using only 16MB of VRAM for each frame, and I could verify with process explorer that the App uses only ~80MB of VRAM total), But I don't know if it really represents the same complexity that I have, i.e many different textures, as here it's only 1 large texture, If I understand it correctly.

Any help would be welcome.

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Posted (edited)

Tiled resource are just like virtual memory.

You allocate a continious virtual address range ( a texture here ) and then map physical pages to it ( here from a buffer ). And it is ok to only map a portion of the space at a time.


It means that you need to introduce streaming capability and a way to determine what is needed to draw your terrain ( mip levels, which materials ). tiled resource are a great tool to simplify virtual texturing techniques ( when you have a huge partially resident texture, no need for atlas indirection and padding/duplication for anisotropic ) and some hardware let you know if you try to fetch from an unmapped page too.


Maybe in your case, you can just limit the size of your texture array and only stream slices from what is visible.



Edited by galop1n

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