This is the first Worksheet task given to us. The aim is to aid choosing a topic of interest for the Honours research project.
Below are the questions and my answers for them:
State the topic of interest that you may wish to take forward into a project
The topic I have chosen for my honours project is “An investigation into the techniques of terrain lighting in real time“. Bear in mind though that this is a very rough title for it as I may fine tune it as the project progresses. However, the main aim is to look into methods of lighting a terrain in real time. I have previously done some work on terrain generation but I have never really got into the process of actually lightning it. In this research period, I hope to dwelve further and investigate various terrain lightning methods in real time.
Indicate the issues surrounding this topic that you may wish investigate
A 3D terrain wouldn’t be complete without lighting. This is especially true for games with huge outdoor setting like flight simulators. It would greatly complicated the mood of the game if the valley casts its shadow upon the village below as viewed from a plane flying overhead or maybe a soldier hiding in the shadows of a huge rock as the sun sets.
Situations described above would basically require real time lighting to the terrain. Lighting a static non deformable terrain with a single static light source is simple compared to lighting a deformable or morphing terrain that has a dynamic light source. What I am interested to find out are the various algorithms used to generate shadow maps for the terrain and how to optimize them for large scale terrain applications.
I am hoping to research further into producing a streamlined optimized algorithm that is able to consider factors such as self shadowing and shadow interaction with 3D objects in the terrain. Generating shadow maps is a resource heavy operation and I can imagine it only being worse in real time. With the advancement of today’s GPU processing power, I am also hoping to utilize this power to further enhance the performance for generating shadows on terrain in real time.
Hopefully by the end of the research period I would be able to create an efficient and fast real time terrain lighting demo. I would hope to include simple 3D objects in the scene and perhaps incorporate some clouds to further demonstrate the real time shadowing capabilities.