The below video has 3 sections.
- Run-time cube subdivision and application of noise to create planet structure. Patch size is 10x10 quads. To give decent minimum resolution, the lowest possible level of subdividing in this example is 3, with the highest being 16. As the camera moves towards a patch, and gets within range (configured to radius of patch * 5 in this example) the patch subdivides into 4 children which are rendered instead of the parent when the camera is within range.
- Similar to section 1, except when the camera moves away from the patch, the level of detail which is rendered does not reduce. This would allow users to see the size of patches at every allowed level on screen at once, however when far away the patches at level 15 and/or 16 are smaller than 1 pixel so not really visible. Some very basic math will tell us that if the planet in view was earth size (i.e. radius of 6378km) the length of a patch at level 1 would be 7364.67km. At level 16 the patch length is only 0.1123km and with 10 quads per patch length, the max resolution of the planet is just above 1m. By increasing the max allowed depth rendered, or the resolution of each patch, this maximum planet resoultion could be increased to cm level.
- Using frustum culling is not enough to remove any unrendered polygons from the planet. When close to a planet it can look like a flat terrain, just like the earth does for us as we stand on it, but from height it can be seen that the planet is in-fact spherical. With this knowledge it is possible to mathematically remove allot of the planet patches which are on the opposite side of the planet. With Back face culling the API would remove these anyway, however it would be very wasteful to pass these invisible faces down the render pipeline. By using a DotProduct with the LookAt vector of the camera and the Normal of the planet patch translated to model space, it is very simple to ignore these patches.