Simulating Reality Simulating Reality
Exhibit: Simulating Reality

Description: X,Y and Z axes, vectors, ray tracing, polygons, texture mapping, these and many more are the tools used to model real events inside a mathematical simulation.

Texture Mapping 101

Texture Mapping is taken for granted in the 21st century, but in the 1990's it was a revolutionary step, and activating it in a simulation placed huge demands on the graphics hardware and specifically the CPU's of the day.

Polygons and planes MiG-29 Fulcrum
Texture mapping added

Examples from NATO Fighters
MiG-29 Fulcrum

What it did allow developers to do was create the illusion of much more complexity in objects by simply mapping a 2 dimensional image to the surface. With clever use of  shadows  a 3 dimensional effect could be produced.

As you can see the effect worked best at certain viewing distances! The designers drew on their knowledge of impressionist art and the psychology of seeing.

The human brain is expert at blending discrete bits of visual information into a cohesive picture. We are 'pattern making' creatures.

As we can see in the following example the we can apparently see an urban landscape below.

Up close it disintegrates into discrete blocks.

Texture mapping terrain
Mapping objects in 2D with apparent shadows. MiG-29 Fulcrum
The same texture seen close up.

There are a few polygons in the background.

Examples from NATO Fighters
MiG-29 Fulcrum