Date of Award

12-2010

Degree Name

MS in Computer Science

Department

Computer Science

Advisor

Zoe Wood

Abstract

Interactive software applications which need to render large terrain meshes can suffer from slow frame rates if the geometry of the terrain is sufficiently dense. However, the viewing angle to many distant features of the terrain does not change rapidly with respect to time. If the movement of the viewing position is limited to continuous motion and restrained to a known speed, many terrain features may be rendered once in high detail and reused for several frames.

This thesis proposes a method to increase the rendering speed of large complex terrains by splitting the terrain into contiguous chunks. If a given chunk is far enough away from the camera and its viewing angle will not change quickly, it is rendered into an image buffer. This buffer is then used to texture map a simplified version of the terrain mesh. The simplified and textured mesh is rendered in place of the original chunk of geometrically complex terrain. The simplified mesh is used to approximate parallax effects as the viewing angle changes in small increments. This technique is shown to as much as double the rendering speed of large terrain meshes without reducing the quality of the final image.

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