My first project is to redo the terrain for the area around Bexar (San Antonio). This is probably the third or fourth iteration. The first terrain used in the TrueSpace model was limited to a small area around the Alamo compound. A matte plane was used to simulate the view of the buildings in the town and hills. The terrain was completely flat. The second version had a much wider area and used a height map that I generated from USGS topo height data. There were several problems with this. First, the mesh consisted of an array of vertices separated by several meters. This resulted in a high poly count but the detail of the area around the river was not satisfactory. The second problem was the unevenness of the terrain made it hard to place structures (houses or walls) without showing a gap between one edge and the ground. On the other hand, at the scale and viewpoint of my cameras, the detail that was causing the problem added no perceptible realism to the scene.
To solve these issues, I’ve decided to break the ground texture into regions that have different levels of detail. The hills beyond the eastern most acequia will use the height map data. The area around the river will use a contour topology that is subdivided to get the desired detail. The other regions will be made flat for easy structure placement. Hopefully, this will put the detail where it is needed and reduce the poly count where it is not.
My first task is to realign the topology according to a better map that I created for the 13-Days project. This map was created to align the river, acequias, structures, fields and roads according to a modern topo map with adjustments from other historical sources. For example, the river has a vastly different course today.