The suggested planet rendering technology for our virtual planet earth project is the open source c++ / opengl 3 engine Proland. Currently researching proper Client API to connect it to the java RedDwarf Server, that will provide world persistence and scalability.
Realtime Planet Rendering
[iframe http://proland.inrialpes.fr 100% 640]
Additions and Modifications
In order to get the true cinematic quality we desire, extra modules and modifications would have to be made to the core engine. This includes such things as volumetric clouds, GPU/OpenCL powered effects (such as more advanced Global Illumination), GPU based physics and various other cutting edge techniques.
Beautiful Nature – Kevin Boulanger
Kevin has developed some interesting techniques (wouldn’t you guess it, another INRIA member) in the area of realtime trees, grass, and other subtle techniques (with outstanding results) in areas related to the realtime rendering of nature scenes. He has several algorithms that would have to be adapted and added to our game engine itself. [iframe http://www.kevinboulanger.net/grass.html 100% 640]
vTerrain.org is a great resource for anyone looking to explore the creation of a virtual planet earth. Page here placeholds future preffered method for volumetric cloud rendering. [iframe http://vterrain.org/Atmosphere/Clouds/index.html 100% 640]
Realtime Global Illumination
The blog of an amazing Nvidia researcher (who is also an Inria alumni) with some interesting voxel and lighting techniques.
[iframe http://blog.icare3d.org 100% 640]