Rendering features

The rendering engine is based on new OpenGL 4.5 rendering pipeline that includes real-time dynamic lighting and shadowing, realistic lava rendering, global illumination, volumetric fog, bloom and post process lighting effects, adaptive tessellation...

Environment lighting

Support of n-point light sources and cubemap environment lighting. On the following image the crater (filled using the lava simulation) is lighted with skybox, environment lights and sunlight.


Supports of dynamic soft shadows casting and atmosphere shadows, from small to very large objects. Shadows are very important to give the viewer a good perception of depth and space.

Rocks with light and soft shadows

Rivals crater with projected shadows

Dynamic tessellation

Tessellation is a vertex processing stage in the OpenGL rendering pipeline where vertex data are subdivided into smaller Primitives. This allows to dynamically add triangles depending on landform and the user point of view. Tessellation increases as the camera approaches ground, and is always denser on ridges. The tessellation automaticaly evolves with the simulation.

Ground details

Detail height maps combined with tessellation can bring a very accurate ground rendering. On the following image the camera is only one meter above ground,
and tessellation is very dense.

Infinite zoom

Continuous zoom from kilometers high to ground level without loss of precision or fog cutout.

Volumetric fog

Support of volumetric fog and clouds, advanced settings for atmosphere color and fog density.

Lens flares and light shafts

The rendering engine adds light shafts and lens flare when viewing bright objects such as the sun. Light shafts simulate the effect of crepuscular sun rays and atmospheric shadows. Both are post processed image-based effects.

Switch from day to night

You can change the time of day in any situation, and personalize all lighting settings for each hour of the day.

Material emission lighting

Lava and projections can light surrounding environment, this is a key feature to render night scenes with lava.

In-game lava with dynamic local lighting

Real night photography of pahoehoe

Heat distortion

Heat distortion appears above lava ; radiation and convection increases the air temperature, and the variation between the hot air at lava surface and the cool air above creates a gradient in the air refractive index, which produces a blurred shimmering effect.

In-game screenshots vs real photographs

Here is a set of photos taken on the Reunion island, and rebuilt in the game engine. This is possible using large textures and dynamic tessellation.
Ground textures, height maps and skyboxes are based on photographs.

In-game sunset view of Dolomieu

Real photograph

Crater near rosemont

Real crater

Aerial view of Rivals crater

Real view from plane

Copyright © 2015 E.Chahi & F.Sahy