Trouble Calculating Height Field Normals
reubert Wrote:Just a question, why are you using height maps?
I'm guessing you are creating a terrain engine, but it might be wise to think about what this engine might be used for, and what is the best way to go about it.
There are only two reasons I can think of to use height maps; if you are planning on using real DEM (digital elevation model) data and wish to miss out a conversion step, or if you are doing the art yourself, and don't like the idea of using a modeling app.
Otherwise, it seems much easier to create a bunch of models in your modeling app, and write a good renderer that only draws what it needs to and allows for good LOD.
A height-map based engine is hard to create levels for, (you can't see what it looks like until it's done) and it's an extra chunk of code that needs to be created and maintained. Creating a good height map based terrain renderer is a massive task. I re-wrote the one for the ill-fated Chopper2 at least half a dozen times, and still wasn't happy with it.
Perhaps In your case it's OK, but give it some thought.
Pretty much I have two reasons for this:
1) To see if I can do it
2) I want to make a simulation with very large areas of terrain. I suppose I could model it, but to use this I just apply a few filters to a blank document in Photoshop and I have a perfect hilly or mountainous area.
I may just wind up using a model anyway in the end for the ease you've described as well as the trouble this is causing me. It started merely to see if I could make a heightmap because they always looked so cool.
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