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Terrain engines

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For knowledge purposes, what are the known techniques for creating a terrain engine? This is the type of terrain engine I would like to create. 1- Height Map bassed 2- Must be extremly large and unique (Uniqueness coming from height map ) 3- Can be saqure or rectangular (512x512, 128x512 ...). If possible 4- Detailed texture map covering entire terrain (Snow on mountain tops, sand near beaches...) 5- Support for indoor outdoor enviroments. Which of the known techniques should I use? Since I dont know are all the above points capable with one terrain engine or do there have to be compromises. The most important are points: 2, 4 and 5 Thanks

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Checked it out also gave my ideas about the water...


1- You just create a huge flat terrain and then manually deform it the way you wish with the mouse? (This can be replaced by height map if I wish?)
2- Your texture is drawn by an artist which you then cut and tile on your terrain mesh? (Can the texture not be created proceduraly by blending different textures like snow, dirt, grass etc.. depending on the height of the terrain?)
3- What rendering technique do you use to render the terrain, octree, bsp, lod or what not?

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There are a LOT of factors when making a "terrain engine".

How much detail in the terrain mesh do you need/want?
- This will dictate your requirements for a LOD mesh, such as using an adaptive quadtree mesh or CLOD algorithm(ps. ROAM is over-hyped, its hardly used in games).

Texturing methods?
- Once you want large maps, 1 bitmap for terrain is out the door!
You will need to invest in "tiling" methods of the terrain.
- Problems: if you use LOD meshes for terrain, look out...cracks may form when tiling, so you need to fix this. How many textures do i need? Well, if you gonna make terrain more realistic, you will need lots of textures.
- Lots of textures means making a texture manager.

etc, etc.

As for xanthen''s thread and your questions, i believe he would answer as follows(check that thread, your questions have been answered):
1) Sure you can use a grayscale bitmap instead, just read in the heights!!
2) ?
3) he said he uses triangle strips (no mesh LOD)

Check out these links to get started...terrain rendering is a HUGE subject, so search GOOGLE as well:

Look for terrain tutorial on site:

vterrain answers some questions, also look for the yahoo forum posts, where big timers like Ulrich Thatcher and others who first implemented these algorithms sometimes post:

flipcode.com has some info as well.

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Well number 2 refers to by talking a certain point on the heightmap. You check all surrounding values of height to the point you chose. Then you blend, the appropriate texture togethere like grass, snow, dirt, rock etc...) So each iamge is associated to a certain height range...

Bassically you take the small texture, you read the height map values and at the end you produce a large texture that will fit over the whole mesh....

Well xathen claims to have one big terrain, with one large texture. Bassically if am correct he has someone draw it. Then he cuts up the texture in section and applies them to the mesh.... Correction it is one large terrrain with one large texture map which is split up into even sections. Then he manually goes in and draws other image over the original texture... The way I mention it is done before hand... More like Power Render

Edited by - ANSI2000 on January 3, 2002 12:43:19 AM

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I think a Iwill use a hightmap bassed terrain...

I want to be really, but dont want to implement a roaminf terrain details isnt that important. What should I use? An octree?

As for the texture for now not an issue....

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The best example of a terrain engine that I have yet seen (in my short time as a game-programmer/hobbyest) is included in the book Game Gems 2 . I grabbed it at Border''s book store and have seen it in Barnes and Noble. I''m sure there are on-line sources.

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