Realistic Fractal Worlds

As you may or may not know, I’m involved in a pretty ambitious project, named Motorsport. Its purpose is to become the most realistic simulator of vehicles (usually cars), and as such, no ideas are being scrapped (as long as they contribute to the sim realism, that is).

There are a lot of ideas floating around. You can read about a couple of those new ideas here. However, I’m going to talk about something which you won’t find there: generation of real world 3d geometry and textures on the fly, with an unlimited level of detail.

Yeah, sounds gorgeus at first. But it’s not so gorgeus as it’s difficulty to code and get right (i guess).
The idea is to:

  1. Find a free (CC-licensed if possible) source of Earth data. We need both 2d textures and a 3d model, which can usually be found in the form of (unfortunately) freaking low-res textures and freaking low-res heightmaps.
    Possible sources:

    Ok, so that has nothing to do with fractal worlds.

  2. That’s where procedural contents come into play. Take a library such as LibNoise, take the aforementioned freaking low-res contents, mix them all in a bowl on the fly, and you can get 3d meshes and 2d textures with any level of detail you may want, perfectly consistent and reproducible across different computers.
  3. But this is a vehicle sim, so we must add some roads.
    Google Maps provides some road maps (as do many other websites such as Guia Campsa, but their data most probably can’t be used without paying royalties first)
    Then there’re some professionals who work creating landxml-compatible sets, which sometimes are not even possible to buy.
    And then there’s data created by regular people with their GPS-equipped cars, for example Open Street Maps.

    Once we got some good (or bad) road data, we drop it over the heightmap we got from point 1), seamlessly integrating it by using 3d mesh data and blended textures, and add some detail (bumps, side bankings, curbs, dust, camber, variable surface properties, …) in order to make the ride a bit more interesting.

Sounds easy, does it? Of course NOT. But it’s just a rough idea of what could be done in, say 23 years or so.. give or take a day 😉

Enough dreaming for now, I should go study something about OSs (Operating Systems, not Open Source Software! 🙂

See ya!

Ps: yup, I’ve finally decided to write some posts in English, as I find it easier to find the words for technical subjects such as the one in this article. Plus English is a more efficient language when it comes to bandwidth! 😛

Tags: , , , , [en] | May 13th, 2006 |

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