Hardware-Friendly Terrain Rendering

Taking advantage of modern graphics hardware when rendering large data sets like terrain models is a challenging problem. This project is developing techniques that use new hardware capabilities to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred to and stored on the graphics card, accelerate rendering, and add capabilities. Real-time terrain rendering is an increasingly important problem. Terrain models are typically large compared to other models intended for real-time use, so specialized rendering techniques are required. Most existing terrain rendering algorithms are not optimized to take advantage of modern programmable graphics hardware. We propose a GPU-based approach to multiresolution terrain rendering, using texture filtering capabilities and programmable vertex shaders to drastically reduce graphics bus bandwidth, minimize storage cost, and at the same time provide hardware acceleration for geomorphing and rendering. The terrain heightmaps are stored as mipmapped textures on the graphics card and point-sampling is performed at appropriate levels of detail in the vertex shader during rendering