CDS2013

Real time terrain generation

Real Time 3D Terrain Generation

Sending machines such as rovers to other planets and interstellar objects for exploration can be very costly. These machines require thorough testing. This can be performed safely via simulation. However, modelling terrain, and all the detail that comes with it on the scale of an entire planet is not practical.

Complex algorithms can create gradient noise which has a random appearance. This noise, can also be referred to as a height map. These height maps can vary greatly depending on the algorithm we use, the parameters we supply it with and the random number we seed it with.

Using the 3D graphics technology known as OpenGL we can extrapolate the above height map into 3D. A realistic and detailed terrain is generated, but even a small section of terrain requires a large amount of computing power and memory. It is evident from this exercise that scaling this process up to entire planets is impossible at this stage.

The future continuation of this project will aim to generate varying resolutions of terrain at different scales in real time that will allow for the eventual modelling of entire planets.