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Great Milenko

Polygon tessellation for the braindead =)

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ok I''ve been looking around for a while now for an artical on polygon tessellation.... I''ve found a fair amount on the subject but heh it seems to be beyond me =), but I know the subject can''t be that far out there... I''m not trying to down polys with holes or concaved or some other strange shape... I just want to be able to break down quads/pentagons/octagons/ect down in to triangle... doesn''t need to be fast... I''m just looking for something simple to implemnt for now...

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If you want to tesselate convex polygons, it really is pretty simple: the tesselated structure is a triangle fan. You start at a vertex, and then walk through the polygon contour by creating triangles in the way of a fan.

Concave tesselation is substancially more involved though.

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The triangle fan approach works well for convex polygons. However, there is an alternate approach that creates the same number of triangles (but in a strip instead of a fan) and tends to texture/vertex-shade better. This is the approach used in Quake III.

This code may be busted, but you should get the idea:

// Assumes that Polygon.verteces[numVerts] is an ordered

// (clockwise or counterclockwise, whatever you use)

// array of verteces.

int i1 = 0,
i2 = numVerts-1;

while(i1 < i2)


[edited by - TerranFury on June 3, 2002 5:09:29 PM]

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Now on to the topic of concave polygons. Assuming your verteces are in the correct order AND the polygon is not self-intersecting, there's a relatively simple algorithm you can use.

Again, assume that the polygon is represented as an ordered array of verteces.

Choose a vertex A. For each other vertex B, test to see if line AB remains inside the polygon at all times (eg: it doesn't intersect any edges). If the line does remain inside, split the polygon into two polygons. Recurse on each one until only triangles remain.

[edited by - TerranFury on June 3, 2002 5:44:00 PM]

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