Real-Time, Continuous Level of Detail Rendering of Height Fields

Peter Lindstrom
David Koller
William Ribarsky
Larry F. Hodges
Nick Faust
Georgia Institute of Technology

Gregory Turner
US Army Research Laboratory

We present an algorithm for real-time level of detail reduction and display of high-complexity polygonal surface data. The algorithm uses a compact and efficient regular grid representation, and employs a variable screen-space threshold to bound the maximum error of the projected image. A coarse level of simplification is performed to select discrete levels of detail for blocks of the surface mesh, followed by further simplification through repolygonalization in which individual mesh vertices are considered for removal. These steps compute and generate the appropriate level of detail dynamically in real-time, minimizing the number of rendered polygons and allowing for smooth changes in resolution across areas of the surface. The algorithm has been implemented for approximating and rendering digital terrain models and other height fields, and consistently performs at interactive frame rates with high image quality.

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