GPU-Based Sparse Voxel Octree Raytracing for Rendering of Procedurally Generated Terrain

Chris Goosen
University of Cape Town, Department of Computer Science
University of Cape Town, 2013


   author={Goosen, Chris and Gain, James},



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Within the field of Computer Graphics, there have been two competing approaches to doing rendering, namely rasterisation and raytracing. Rasterisation became, and has been, the dominant of the two methods for realtime rendering for a long period of time. With recent developments in graphics hardware, however, raytracing is starting to gain popularity once again. At the same time, the need for procedurally generated content, and particularly procedurally generated terrain, is growing. In this thesis, we propose a rendering system, which makes use of raytracing into a sparse voxel octree structure, to render procedurally generated terrain. We develop both a CPU implementation of our system and a GPU implementation and examine the performance benefits that we get by migrating our system to the GPU. In doing so, we evaluate the viability of raytracing into a sparse voxel octree as an alternative to rasterisation. While our system is not yet ready to replace rasterisation, it suggests that sparse voxel octree raytracers may yet be a viable alternative.
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