Hi and welcome to my blog in which I pretend to know HTML and hope nothing breaks :)
I am a game developer working at Google and I love graphics programming, virtual reality and game engine architecture.
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Rendering huge landmasses such as planets is a difficult problem. From handling all the data while staying within memory limits to keeping vertex count and pixel fill-rate low enough to get smooth performance and 60 frames per second.
To solve these problems and prepare the next part of my planet generation series; I decided to take another look at how to implement level of detail.
Level of detail, or LOD, is a term for techniques which involve reducing the complexity of a scene to increase performance. Notable examples are models which are replaced with lower polygon versions as the camera is far away, trees replaced with billboards and terrain.
In the case of terrain LOD usually involves replacing the terrain grid with less tessellated versions as the camera gets further from the object.
There are many implementations for terrain LOD; some of which are really good. In this post I will briefly go over some of the techniques and explain how they may be adapted for the special case of a spherical terrain.
In the previous post I explained how to create the sphere geometry for the planet.
In this post I will explain how to add height data to the vertices which will create continents, islands and oceans.
I have always been a fan of procedural content generation; it allows you to create ever changing games with potentially endless content. It also compensates for my lack of artistic talent.
Procedural landscape generation is useful for many games, from Skirmish mode in strategy games to a dungeon in a Roguelike. At this time I am going to explore how to generate planets.
Procedural generation is the act of creating game content just before or during a new game session. This is mostly used in regard to game levels: from the placement of enemies on the map to a creation of a whole game world. Many games use procedural techniques, from Minecraft and Roguelikes to No Man's Sky and even simple games such as Flappy Bird.
It is 2014 and Israel had its largest Global Game Jam event yet this year. Still barely comprehending 2013 is out of the door and with an unexpected amount of free time on my hands I took a blanket and a bunch of swords and went to create games with [almost] completely unknown people for 2 days.