Friday, July 2, 2010

Evolution of the Terrain

Terrain ~ to the gamer, it's just scenery, but to the programmer, it can be one of the most challenging things to render correctly.

Terrain was one of the first elements I had implemented in Canine Combat, even before the player, before the skybox, before ... well ... everything! I wanted to start terrain development sooner rather than later because I knew of the challenges and problems that it can cause.

For those of you that aren't familiar with the concept of terrain, you can read more about it here.

One of the big problems with rendering terrain is adding detail. No, I don't mean rocks or trees or any props you put ONTO the terrain, I'm talking about the terrain itself.

Take a look at the screenshot below.

Notice how in the top picture, the terrain looks blured. Belive it or not, that's actually what the terrain looks like be default. "So, how do you get that nice detail in the picture below it," you ask ... well ... it's a secret.

Nah, just kidding, the trick is in whats called a "detail texture." A detail texture is basically a large, highly detailed image that is blended with the terrain, giving it a more realistic look.

Take a look at my detail texture below:

This texture, when blended with the blurry terrain, looks like this:

Muy fantástico!