Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

Abstract

Landscape visualisation is the process of recreating a natural environment and displaying it in an interactive graphical simulation. To do this a terrain is displayed together with accompanying plant life and other objects. Present landscape visualisation software is capable in theory of displaying very detailed and large landscapes. The software is also in theory capable of simulating environments with thousands if not millions of individually structured plants. In practice though, the simulation of such landscapes requires such a large amount of storage space that it is not achievable on personal computers. Even storing small landscapes with a moderate amount plant life can be a major development problem. The extent of this problem is such that modem simulators almost always exhibit the following limitations. • When detailed landscapes are stored to the hard disk, the area of terrain covered is usually very small. • When large terrains are stored to the hard disk the detail used is usually low. • When detailed plants are used in a landscape only twenty or so plants are created and used over and over again in the landscape. This work is an original approach to solving the storage space problem that involves not storing any landscape data to the hard disk at all. In this solution, instead of the landscape simulator displaying a landscape that is stored on a hard disk, the landscape simulator displays a landscape that is randomly generated. The landscape is produced on a need-to know basis, the only landscape that exists in the simulator is the landscape that the user of the simulator can see. If the user's position in the landscape alters then the newly visible areas of landscape are created, and the areas no longer visible are removed from the simulator entirely. Areas of landscape being visited for a second time are always re-created the same way as they were originally created.

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