Large-Scale Physics-Based Terrain Editing Using Adaptive Tiles on the GPU

Juraj Vanek, Bedrich Benes, Adam Herout, Ondrej Stava
FIT VUT Brno, Brno
IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 2011


   title={Large-Scale Physics-Based Terrain Editing Using Adaptive Tiles on the GPU},

   author={Vanek, J. and Bene{v{s}}, B. and Herout, A. and others},

   booktitle={IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications},



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Terrain modeling is an important task in digital content creation and physics-based approaches have the potential to simplify it. However, most of the existing simulations are hindered by a low level of user control, because they fail on large-scale phenomena. We introduce a new accessible physics-based framework for digital terrain editing. Our solution is suitable for users involved in digital content authoring and does not assume any in-depth knowledge about physics-based simulations. To address the scalability issues of previous algorithms, we provide an adaptive GPU-amenable solution. Large terrains are edited at interactive framerates on the GPU. First, the terrain is divided into tiles of different resolutions according to the complexity of the underlying terrain. Second, each tile is stored as a mip-map texture and different levels of detail are used during the physics-based simulation. We demonstrate our approach at several examples including the editing of terrains, brushing with hydraulic simulation, and blending terrain patches into an existing terrain. In comparison with nonadaptive computation, by using our approach we can achieve a 50% speedup with a simultaneous 25% savings of memory. Most important, we can process terrain sizes that were not possible to process with previous approaches.
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