Rendering Terrain

Ok I have the hardware, 1.4Ghz CPU/DDR/256 Mhz FSB/GeForce3 …

I have the data, GLOBE terrain data for the world (30 Arc-seconds or roughly 1 km resolution) …

I need to write the code to view it in real-time … that is 3D texture mapped terrain.

Where is a good place to start? Should I learn about BSP trees? Is there a good, clean, free API that I can use that exploits the GeForce capabilities?

hi there

i am not sure how to answer your question. i am doing gtopo30 stuff too. depending on what you want bsp trees might be the right thing - or not.
i am drawing apx. 20.000 points of terrain each rendercycle. i don’t have any special data structure to store that stuff.
you have to think about “other” parameters. e.g. if you want to fly over the terrain, or if you want to walk in it. for collision detection purposes it will be - most likely - to be easier to have some sort of tree or other data structure.
anyway, are you sharing your progress via internet, or is your project top secret. i am curios what you plan to do with your stuff from gtopo30


I am just planning ahead and highly interested in this topic. I don’t have a requirement right now for doing any terrain work.

The last time I had a requirement I just used the brute force method … I had a fly through viz with 3D textured terrain. I was able to use a 512^2 map with a 1024^2 texture map for a 1 km grid area and maintain 50+ FPS (lots of other scene objects too). That was fine and dandy but I know it isn’t going to cut the mustard when I go with larger terrain areas.

I want the ability to do an optimized fly through with collision detection for ground based sims. I am somewhat familiar with algorithms for real-time continuous level of detail meshing but have never coded such.

I also want to be able to build an earth model for space based sims where I can fly in from space to the earth surface.

I want to understand the techniques for doing all sorts of terrain modeling. I have the time (my spare time at home), computing resources, data, and the desire to learn …