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Declarative terrain modeling for military training games

Author: Smelik, R.M. · Tutenel, T. · Kraker, J.K.. de · Bidarra, R.
Type:article
Date:2010
Institution: TNO Defensie en Veiligheid
Source:International Journal of Computer Games Technology
Identifier: 426840
doi: doi:10.1155/2010/360458
Article number: 360458
Keywords: Virtual environments and Gaming · 3D environments · Military training · Procedural content generation · Serious games · Sketching interface · Terrain modeling · Organisation · MSG - Modelling Simulation & Gaming · BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences

Abstract

Military training instructors increasingly often employ computer games to train soldiers in all sorts of skills and tactics. One of the difficulties instructors face when using games as a training tool is the creation of suitable content, including scenarios, entities, and corresponding terrain models. Terrain plays a key role in many military training games, as for example, in our case game Tactical Air Defense. However, current manual terrain editors are both too complex and too time-consuming to be useful for instructors; automatic terrain generation methods show a lot of potential, but still lack user control and intuitive editing capabilities. We present a novel way for instructors to model terrain for their training games: instead of constructing a terrain model using complex modeling tools, instructors can declare the required properties of their terrain using an advanced sketching interface. Our framework integrates terrain generation methods and manages dependencies between terrain features in order to automatically create a complete 3D terrain model that matches the sketch. With our framework, instructors can easily design a large variety of terrain models that meet their training requirements.