Looks better than Falcon 3.0
February 23, 2006 8:52 PM   Subscribe

The Terrain Engine Project is a nicely documented series of posts about writing a terrain engine from scratch. The author doesn't detail the actual code, instead covering some general problems involved in rendering decent-looking terrain that doesn't require mega-1337 hardware. It's pretty interesting, even for non-coders.
posted by Lirp (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Thatcher Ulrich's excellent open-source Chunked LOD work really deserves a link in this thread. One of the best starting points for would-be engine coders.
posted by Ryvar at 9:05 PM on February 23, 2006

I'm a non-coder and I thought this was fascinating -- thanks!
posted by brain_drain at 9:29 PM on February 23, 2006

Nifty! He does make it seem surprisingly easy. I've always thought that any kind of 3D engine work was deep black magic, bordering on necromancy, that required decades of programming experience and tons of time. While it still ain't PHP, details like shadowing, texture mapping and managing polygon counts are actually reasonable comprehensible. Evidently, the really hard work has already been done by the graphics card manufacturers (and the individuals who wrote DirectX, MESA, etc.).
posted by gsteff at 9:38 PM on February 23, 2006

on the same subject, be sure to visit the Virtual Terrain Project.
It contains all the articles and links you could need when programming virtual landscapes stuffs. Unlike a lot of site like this, it kept being updated for years.
posted by denpo at 10:44 PM on February 23, 2006

is there source code?
posted by yevge at 11:18 PM on February 23, 2006

"is there source code?"

RTFA, much? Or, for that matter, the text of the actual MeFi post?

"The author doesn't detail the actual code"
posted by slater at 12:29 AM on February 24, 2006

Interesting article, but would've been nicer if he released the source code. I wonder why he didn't.
posted by yevge at 2:08 AM on February 24, 2006

He mentions in the last page that he'll release the code in the next few days.
posted by Spanner Nic at 3:45 AM on February 24, 2006

Funny, I've been building a terrain engine at work for the past couple months. We're doing the fading texture thing from Part 7 that failed for him, with some fancy-schmancy detail stuff going on.

Agonizing over polygon counts with modern graphics hardware is often time poorly spent. It’s better to give the CPU a break, even if it means being sloppy and letting the GPU (your graphics card) pick up the slack.

No truer word was spoken.
posted by Foosnark at 9:36 AM on February 24, 2006

I found the thought process behind the programming very interesting. Too bad my programming skills aren't up to the challenge of doing this myself.

If you more interested in making pictures than in programming, you might want to take a look at Terragen, which is a program for making great terrain pictures and movies, with a 2.0 version coming out this year. It is free for personal non-commercial use. You can get it here.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 6:46 AM on February 25, 2006

the source has been posted.

documenting your code in the manner this guy has done should become the gold standard for developers.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:18 PM on February 25, 2006

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