hchris asked me what we were doing with Grome exactly so I thought I might opine about it in this post.
Grome is a pretty robust terrain generator and editor. As a matter of fact, Epic has integrated it for their Unreal3 clients. It’s very intuitive once you learn the UI and the toolset. When we started to design the Rapid Action system, we knew that we needed to do something about our 8 triangle octet based terrain.
The reason we went with that in the beginning of our development for WWIIOL was based on the fact that our playable terrain is half scale of western Europe. It’s easily the largest playable, contiguous map in the industry to date (11,583 sq miles, generated through digital elevation maps). To have a highly tessellated terrain for that would be a nightmare of collider issues and frame rate stutters that no player would ever put up with. Combine that with the fact that the visible distance for a player in the game can be anywhere from 700 meters to 1000 meters and you can see why we went with the 8 triangle tile set.
Since the Rapid Action maps would be considerably smaller, we wanted to make sure that their resolution was at a lot higher level. We searched around and looked at many different third-party packages and settled with Grome. It could handle large terrains, we can control tile set resolutions within the same terrain model, we can generate texture masks and even use it to generate our clutter object and tree masks. Like I said before, it’s very robust.
Having said that, it’s not very practical to use in the campaign game. Just think about all of the terrain tiles that would have to be replaced. Not only that, but terrain tiles of (at the very least) 1500 triangles is quite a jump from EIGHT (8). Some of the tiles in some of our RA maps are around 10K triangles. Crazy huh? A lot of research and testing would have to be done in order to even think about using higher resolution terrain in the campaign game, so for now we are only discussing it.
As far as personal stuff: well I am still hard at work on my project: The Wreck.
I finished Gears of War 3, both in single player mode as well as co-op mode…awesome game. I love the over-the-top art direction and third person action.
Played some more Dragon Age 2 DLC.
Getting geared up to watch the Texas Rangers in the World Series.