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Submitted by Johan Hammes, posted on February 07, 2002

Image Description, by Johan Hammes

These are a couple of screenshots from a paper that I presented last year.

What sets this apart is that most of what you see is generated in real-time as you roam the landscape. This includes all the plants (well there positions), as well as all the ground cover textures. Even with the current amount of plants, frame rate is still above 25 on a PIII 500 with a geforce 256 card.

This is done by ecotope modelling ( Ecotope : A particular habitat within a region with relative uniform climatological and soil conditions. Typically, specific ecotopes will be associated with specific ecosystems.) As you move around, the ecotope simulation is done for each new area that appears on screen, and an appropriate ground cover and set of plants is generated. Details of this, and the paper can be found on my website.

Johan Hammes

Image of the Day Gallery


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
Alex J. Champandard

February 08, 2002, 04:39 AM

Good work.

I'm sad to admint the vegetation 'standing out' problem was the first thing I noticed!

There are many things you can do to get those trees to blend in more, including using more transparent textures (or just blending them out); when have trees been solid clumps like that? You can see through branches usually, so tune the alpha.

Shadows and varied textures at the tree base would help a great deal also, and try to get the set of colours to match (the colours of the trees are 'brighter' than the pastel landscape textures).

The alpha blending problem is a tough one if you're using actual low-poly models (


February 08, 2002, 05:35 AM

Do it moves realtime ? ANd if so, on wich machine config ??

Goin' to get the paper...


February 08, 2002, 05:45 AM

Ok, sorry... didn't read it in the dscription....


February 08, 2002, 06:33 AM

Only 33 comments??? It must have been published only 3 minutes ago!... ;)
I would like to say I am speechless... but since I am not.. I can say I am near it!...
That Is FABULOUS!!!...
But, since I am somehow demanding.. I can point out some things in need of retouching... The ilumination on the plants is definetly in need of attencion.. the fotographically aquired textures are too brigth all over, there is no notion of shading in those plants...

I also liked the idea of "looking up" to reduce the number of mountains to be seen! ;)

Never the less, the part I am "cientifically" most interested in is ablosutly bumpy realistic.


February 08, 2002, 07:26 AM

Sorry Johan if you missunderstood

I did say in my post that you met your aims in the project, my comments are more aimed at other peoples comments of reality.

Strangely from a technical point of view of plant distribution
I worked on a game project once that was canned, The project called "Genetics" had some interesting features.

Although it was a 3d game, the 2d AI was quite interesting to watch -
as you could view an whole world in 2d with dots representing - much
like 'Life' programs - but on nitrus oxide....

Plants would grow, die and be eaten by creatures.
As the plant got older winds would carry seeds to new places
and depending on the conditions they might grow...
Also some creatures could carry seeds in stomachs or on them

this was all invisible in the 3d world though...
But it was a nice idea.... It was a shame to be canned.

BAck to your stuff though, to explain to some people what alpha-test
artifacts look like.

If you wish to display a billboarded plant - a flat facing plant
or crossing tress you need transparency or else lots of geometry

You have a choice of alpha blending or cutout (pure on or off)

Alpha blending often causes problems as they are not sorted by the

Cut out does not have these problems.
basically you/your hardware decideds which pixel should be on or off
although you get very solid edges (could be reduced by fullscreenAA)

An alpha test artifact looks like a curved jaggey - you can get some weird effects too by playing with the value.


Neil Edelman

February 08, 2002, 09:51 AM

As mentioned, the plants are too bright, but that of course is not the point. The ground cover and distribution are impressively realistic. It looks like a place I once lived, a pocket of desert in the Rockies.


February 08, 2002, 10:11 AM

I think it looks really neat although the plants are way too bright. Hey I still like it.


February 08, 2002, 10:11 AM

I think it looks really neat although the plants are way too bright. Hey I still like it.

Mikko Siren

February 08, 2002, 10:58 AM

realtime "photograph" generator =)
Looks really nice and realistic!

Riku Teirilš

February 08, 2002, 12:54 PM



February 08, 2002, 01:20 PM


Alex May

February 09, 2002, 02:18 PM

The new technology is always a bit behind though on the PC isn't it? Wasn't that landscape renderer that codecult posted quite good? I liked it; that was running on GeForce4. Still I have to agree, all this power means APIs and stuff which means you're not as efficient as you can be on the PS2 (though lots of PS2 stuff is dead inefficient innit) if you're not using middleware.


February 09, 2002, 06:13 PM

Yeah! A South African on IOTD. That is cool. By the by - I love the "bubbly" look of the mountains... I never thought I'd see a Terrain engine that actually LOOKS like South Africa. All it needs is a couple of thorn bushes & trees.


February 11, 2002, 10:53 AM

hey how much did it cost you to make it look like that? well anyways I like it and hope to be able to play it after I buy it from the store.

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