First meeting with technical supervisor, Matthew Bett taken place today. The meeting was very productive and the outcome was excellent as the discussions fuelled ideas and probably a new direction for the project.
Previously, simpler lighting techniques were considered such as height based lighting, slope lighting and lightmapping algorithms. Currently, the consideration of rendering a High Definition Range Imaging (HDRI or just HDR for short) terrain/scene contained within a skybox is considered. Basically HDR renders a scene using lighting calculation using a larger dynamic range as compared to traditional methods. This will greatly enhance the realism on the scene.
The challenge now is to consider how to handle materials in the scene which consists of mainly the terrain mesh. The terrain would also be largely static so that could be a challenge to bring out the HDR qualities. The idea of using a HDR Environment map as the light source and reflection map is being investigated at the moment as it is not sure how well it could be implemented in the application.
Below is an example of how HDR can greatly boost the realism of a computer generated scene :