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CHAPTER 10 s GENERATING A TERRAIN
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// Calculate binormal as a cross product (Tangent x Normal) vertices[vertexIndex].Tanget.Normalize(); vertices[vertexIndex].Binormal = Vector3.Cross( vertices[vertexIndex].Tanget, vertices[vertexIndex].Normal); } } }
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For the terrain rendering, you ll create a custom effect that uses multitexturing and normal mapping. The multitexturing allows you to combine and use some different textures over the terrain, while the normal mapping allows you to add small-scale details to the terrain. Next, we re going to discuss the use of the multitexturing and normal mapping techniques, and then you re going to create the terrain effect.
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Using multitexturing, you can apply different layers of textures over the terrain, such as sand, grass, rocks, snow, and so on. Then, you can generate the terrain s texture by combining all these textures. For example, some parts of the terrain could have grass, others rocks, and some parts sand and grass, or snow and rocks, and so on. Figure 10-8 shows how some textures are combined to form a new texture.
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Figure 10-8. Multitexturing combining three different textures to form a new one
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CHAPTER 10 s GENERATING A TERRAIN
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In the terrain effect you re going to create, you ll combine the terrain textures based on a separate texture, named alpha map, which defines the intensity of each texture over the terrain. In this case, the alpha map is an RGBA texture, with 8 bits per channel, and you re using each texture channel to store the intensity of a different texture layer.
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Using the the normal mapping technique, you can add small-scale details to the terrain s mesh without needing to modify or increase the complexity of its mesh. You can also use other more precise and complex techniques to highly increase the mesh details, such as relief mapping, parallax occlusion mapping, and cone step mapping. In normal mapping, you modify the surface normals based on a map of normals, named normal map. Then you do the surface lighting using the modified normals, allowing small details to be simulated on the surface, as shown in Figure 10-9.
Figure 10-9. (Left) Only texturing. (Right) Texturing plus normal mapping.
The normal map used by the normal mapping technique is an RGB texture, where each component of the texture represents the X, Y, and Z components of the new surface normal. Notice that the normal X, Y, and Z axes aren t on the world coordinates. Instead, they re placed in the tangent base coordinates. In that way, the normal map is independent of the surface and could be applied to any type of object. Also, that is why you need to calculate the tangent, binormal, and normal vectors for each vertex. One of the weaknesses of the normal mapping technique is that when the surface is visualized from grazing angles (the angle between the surface normal and a viewer close to 90 degrees), the surface will seem flat.
CHAPTER 10 s GENERATING A TERRAIN
Terrain Effect Vertex Processing
The effect you re going to create for terrain rendering will support two omnidirectional light sources, multitexturing with four diffuse textures, and normal mapping. In total, the terrain effect will use six textures: four textures for the diffuse color, one alpha map, and a normal map. The alpha map defines how the diffuse textures will be combined to form the final terrain color. Let s begin constructing the effect through its vertex shader. The vertex shader receives a structure containing the vertex position, texture coordinate, and tangent base (tangent, binormal, and normal vectors):
struct a2v { float4 float2 float3 float3 float3 };
position : POSITION; uv0 : TEXCOORD0; tangen t : TANGENT; binormal : BINORMAL; normal : NORMAL;
The output of the vertex shader contains the vertex s final position, the coordinate of the six textures used, the view vector, and the two lighting vectors (all the vectors are in the tangent space):
struct v2f { float4 float4 float4 float4 float3 float3 };
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