Real-time Terrain Rendering using Smooth Hardware Optimized Level of Detail

Bent Dalgaard Larsen
Technical University of Denmark
Department of Informatics and Mathematical Modelling
2800 Lyngby



Keywords: terrain, viewing algorithms, frame-to-frame coherence, multiresolution modelling, continuous level of detail


We present a method for real-time level of detail reduction that is able to display high-complexity polygonal surface data. A compact and efficient regular grid representation is used. The method is optimized for modern, low-end consumer 3D graphics cards. We avoid sudden changes of the geometry - also known as 'popping', when reducing the geometry by exploiting the low-level hardware programmability in order to maintain interactive framerates. Terrain models are repolygonized in order to minimizing the visible error. Furthermore, the method minimizes CPU usage during rendering and requires minimal pre-processing. We believe that this is the first time that a smooth level of detail has been implemented in commodity hardware.