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Nielsie
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:10 pm    Post subject: Very large terrain Reply with quote



Joined: 09 Feb 2010
Posts: 2

Hey,

I am realy impressed by Grome and after toying with the demo I am realy considering to buy the product.

In my spare time I am working on a terrain renderer. It is a personal project to pass the time and stay up-to-date with current rendering techniques. My goal is to render very large landscapes, think in the likes of Fallout 3 or Testdrive unlimited. I aim at a landmass of about 50 by 50km.

My engine will use a simplified GPU-accelerated clipmapping algorithm for the heightmap and texture data. Around the camera will be a high resolution area of 1024 by 1024 vertices that represents 1 by 1km of the terrain. Around this high resolution area are several lower resolution rings that represent the rest of the terrain.

I like developing terrain engines but I hate to develop tools so that is why I am looking into something decent to help me with the contentcreation now. The terrain tool I am looking for should be able to handle such large datasets. I understand Grome can swap out terrain zones. But because I need such high resolution on such a small portion of the terrain, I am a little bit clueless how to start moddeling something like that in Grome because when you swap out zones I understand they cannot be processed by the procedural generation tools? So how would you go about to create a mountain range when you have to work on something as little as a 4 by 4km window of terrain while your mountain range may be much bigger but is swapped out to save memory?
I read on the forum there is a work in progress to update the zone resolution so you can work from a low resolution fullscale terrain, swap some zones out, update some zones in resolution, refine them, swap them out, etc... This would be ideal but what is the timeframe on these new features? Or is there maybe another way to easily craft such a large highly detailed terrain? Or will I have to upgrade from my 4GB rams for something like this? Or am I to ambitious? Wink

I also wonder if it is possible to export the heightmaps (and texturemaps) into one big heightmap? Are there any limits (aside from diskspace Wink )?

So sorry for all those questions but I feel like I found my holy grail in terrain modeling but want to be sure (too many costly disappointments already Wink )
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ALicu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi Nielsie,

Indeed, developing tools from scratch is a very expensive activity (that is why we saw a market for Grome). Grome can use its special swap system so you are actually limited by the hard drive. Indeed it seems you can only work on unswapped (in memory zones). This is not quite true since you can easily create a script (or a plugin via SDK) to process all the zones, swapped or unswapped. Via scripting (or SDK) you can automatically go through all the zones, unswap, process and swap them back. In this way you can easily apply initial procedural tools to create mountains, hills, dunes etc. Then you can unswap group of zones to manually add details where gameplay dictates it. Actually there is a SDK plugin already present and installed in Grome which can do this (apply any script on selections of zones, swapped or unswapped). It was used for a similar flight simulator project with what you need (automatic creation of high detail terrain from raw satellite data).

Grome comes with both 32 and 64bit builds. With 64bit build (you need a 64bit processor and OS installed) you are not limited to the amount of RAM you can use. We have clients with 16GB of RAM and powerful video cards. In this way they can have lots of terrain zones at once in memory.

For 4GB of RAM you will probably be limited to around 4 by 4 zones of 1024 tiles. If you have 1 meter per tile (which is pretty high res) you have 4 by 4 km.

To be noted that many people want to create very large areas but in the end they realize that most part of their maps must be generic since they don't have time to manually edit every aspect.

With Grome SDK or scripts you can apply any tool, with any parameters, select/deselect zones, swap/unswap, add, assign and delete any type of layer. So basically anything a user can do in UI can be done with the SDK. So you can automate a lot of process. Then go and edit only some parts that need special care due to gameplay.

This is another recent thread with similar requests:
http://www.quadsoftware.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=577
Maybe this info can also help you make a decision.

Best Regards,
Adrian L.
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Nielsie
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 09 Feb 2010
Posts: 2

Aha, that plugin sounds like what I need. The demo is lacking these tools, right? Anyway, with such a plugin I think my descision is made Wink

Quote:
To be noted that many people want to create very large areas but in the end they realize that most part of their maps must be generic since they don't have time to manually edit every aspect.


Yeah, that's true but for me it will be fine. I just want nice and convincing nature scene's with a very large view range in my engine. At first I will also start with something smaller, the Thai island of Koh Samui is going to be my first reference for a terrain of 20 by 20 km.
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