I’m starting to model the terrain for a 3D simulator game I’m working on and am not sure how to go about it. The model is of a coastline and harbor, and I have a topographic map, nautical chart, and aerial photos for reference. I would like to get the shoreline as accurate as possible, yet also try to keep the poly count as low as possible.
I have two thoughts on how to do this, but never having done this before I thought to seek the advice of folks with more experience. Here are my two ideas:
Create a high resolution grid and overlay my topo map on top of it. Use the topo map as a reference and push/pull vertices vertically to create the terrain. I could also get the free geo reference data and try to convert it to a mesh. I’ve seen references to this and using Terragen to create a mesh. My concerns with this is that the grid may make the shoreline look “choppy”. I want the shoreline to follow the actual topo map as best as I can.
Trace the shoreline with a poly-line and then extrude it vertically. Then scale the “layers” until it is a smooth shoreline. And last, sub-divide or add mesh to the top surface and push / pull vertices until the terrain is as desired. I experimented with this a bit, and although the shoreline comes out OK, I’m having a hard time creating a top mesh that looks right.
Am I going in the right direction, or is there another way? Any advice?