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Published on May 11, 2011
For a long time games have used textures to add surface details and diversity to their virtual worlds. These textures usually consist of a basic set of different surface appearances which are then composited at run-time by shaders to calculate the final surface appearance.
Recently there has been an increased interest in virtual texturing technologies. Virtual texturing allows very large textures (in the order of one gigapixel) to be applied to the game's geometry while still remaining within the limits of today's hardware. This allows far more varied worlds than can be achieved with composing tiling textures at a lower or comparable render cost.
This video demonstrates our virtual texturing system. Our system uses NVIDIA's CUDA(Compute Unified Device Architecture) platform to reduce CPU work to a minimum and efficiently streams data between system memory and GPU memory. Additionally the data is transcoded on the fly using both the CPU (SSE2) and GPU(CUDA) to accelerate this as much as possible.
The technical details and source code of our system are available in the following publication: C. Hollemeersch, B. Pieters, P. Lambert, R. Van de Walle. Accelerating virtual texturing using CUDA, In GPU Pro : advanced rendering techniques, Pages 623-641, AK Peters, 2010
The texture data used in this demo was made available by Utah's State Geographic Information Database (see http://gis.utah.gov/hro2006).