First steps in "virtual reality"

I would like to have my OpenGL scene have high quality virtual reality ,for example like in these screenshots:

I’m trying to do this only by programming,I mean without help of graphic designer,CAD or any VRML modeling tools or purchasing one of commercial packages.

Please recommend where to start - if you know programming tutorials,free source code, free image libraries?

Thanks in advance

Hello Hexa,

a good entry point especially for virtual terrains would be, I think.
You can find there a lot of algorithms and technical background.


I think that high-quality graphics always need a good graphic designer.
There’s a limit to what one can do procedurally and with awesome post-processing effects. Only automatically-generated terrains can look good without intervention by a designer. Models of trees/plants/grass, architecture, animals and characters - require a designer.
Fortunately, becoming a designer yourself might not be too hard, and there is free software for the purpose: GIMP (very easy), Blender (very hard), Anim8or (medium). It’s not hard to splash photos of boxy buildings over simple boxy models.

At theres a link to 3Dem. It displays and converts .HGT Hightmaps like you can get at

sampled at one arc-second latitude and longitude. (from Shuttle Radar Topography Mission)
Judging by the realtime flyby at about 150 meters, that looks like very good resolution heightmaps.

Saves as binary or text floats. I guess you can retrofit textures to those?

One arc-second? That’s a really good resolution for free data. Thanks for the link.

Thanks for all links

Do you mean like fractal algorithms or is there something better to do this?

I briefly studied site…

How about using vtp software package?
As far as I understood it’s OpenGL based and even includes most of the graphics for scene backgrounds.
I wonder if it works well with Borland Builder C++ 5?