So I posted this in the HiFi Gitter the other day but got no reply.
Hey everyone - Got a question - Is there a dedicated terrain system for Hi fidelity? or do we use FBX files for terrain? If we use FBX files I would like to suggest using a terrain system with a LOD system this could save allot of draw calls per frame. My 2 cents.
From what I understand - HiFi currently uses a 3D model (.FBX) based terrain system opposed to an dedicated Terrain system with LOD Support. I read that HiFi used a voxel based terrain system at one point but has since removed them due to performance issues. I really think that a terrain with LOD support would benefit HiFi.
Here is why I think that -
Performance - I think that we can squeeze out allot more performance the HiFi Interface/Client. From what I have been reading / watching - performance is key in a VR environment. With the current system we are rendering a dense .FBX mesh every frame. With an Terrain System with LOD Support we would still be rendering that every frame but only the dense bits would be around the users.
Here is the pros and cons of each method.
LOD Based terrain - Pros
- Can be set to constantly adjust its poly size based on distance from the camera. Video
- Easier Terrain Creation - Create a height map (.RAW or .r16) and responsible textures for the terrain and plug them in to the Simulation.
- Allot more detailed terrain in less time and with less work involved.
- Collision can be generated by the engine.
LOD Based terrain - Cons
- Limited terrain textures due to performance. However we can use one texture or a series of textures the entire terrain.
FBX Terrain - Pros
- We can do flying Islands and other non planar based terrain.
- Can be very fast however only if broken up into smaller chunks from what I have read.
FBX Terrain - Cons
- Terrain need to be UVW unwrapped for textures.
- Used V-HACD for the terrain - Takes a while to compile the terrain.
Anyway this is an continuation of that conversation and hopefully we can get a few more people involved this time around.