TEP Planet Gallery
All of these screen shots are rendered under Mesa GL, a free OpenGL implementation.
Here's an early screen shot with greatly exaggerated mountains so you can see them from high up.
My first "terrain generator" fractal was SimpleTerrain, a pure height variation with a defined sea level; anything below sea level gets set to sea level, flat, and blue:
These days I'm not using SimpleTerrain much any more. The new PrecipTerrain uses a separate precipitation fractal to get more interesting colors and a separate roughness fractal so that there are mountainous areas and flat areas. Here's an equivalent view of one of those:
The views so far have had the texture mapping turned off. I've made an option to create texture maps that improves the apparent resolution without increasing the number of polygons. It's pretty slow if you aren't doing your rendering on a 3d accelerator, though. Here is the same planet as above with texture mapping turned on:
I recently finished a third option, the MapTerrain. It loads a coarse- level map from file, using it for whatever is specified. MapTerrain "sits on top of" some other terrain generator (in this case the PrecipTerrain) which is used to fill in anything not specified in the map. Here, we see a familiar view with unfamiliar precipitation patterns (I've found a GIF of earth's precipitation distribution, but it's in some bizarre projection and I haven't managed to decode it into a format I can use yet):
The terrain generator automatically generates more detail as you approach. The red spots indicate cities; when you get close enough to actually see the city, the red spot goes away. Here's a chronicle of a flight into a coastal starport with some of Gerd's buildings and ships. I made the descent without texture maps turned on.
The crosshairs shows, as you'd expect, which direction I am pointed. At the moment that corresponds to the direction of motion, but that may change when the full TEP movement engine goes in.
As I get closer, the view gets more detail.
Now I'm close enough that the hills are visible. Also, note the flat space around the city. All cities are going to have these, it's just too inconvenient to have them on rolling ground. The real problem is that if I make a city, then change the terrain fractal, I don't want it to become invalid. (You CAN have multiple, adjacent, different-altitude flat areas if you want ramparts or a castle on a hill.)
Now the red dot has been replaced with the actual starport. The renderer automatically does a (fairly) smooth blend between the edge of the flat area (which I call the "pad") and the surrounding terrain. There is still some crud at the boundaries of the blend.
Here I have landed, and I'm sitting on the side of that slope from the previous view looking across the starport - that's why the view is tilted.
Finally, I have lifted off again and I'm hovering just over the starport looking down. Recognize the parked green ship?
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