So, the 3D grass train is finally moving out of the station. Albeit, slower than most would probably prefer. The speed has been a combination of real life interference and unfortunately, my nature to not want to get all the 3D grass lemmings going in one direction, only to tell you next week that you are heading in the wrong direction.
I wanted to use this post here to get a consolidated location for some opinions on the grass without cluttering some other threads. Especially, if people happen upon this in the future and aren't privy to the other conversations.
Here is my main conclusion that I am coming to (subject to change, of course)...
1. A short visibility distance with a sharp falloff may be best. This appears to be what they are doing in the EA Rory game from the few videos that I've watched online.
Advantages - Densely planted grass with a reasonable FPS, better blend with the still visible texturing in near proximity (a course texture or course detail texture), elimination of the little bits of grass in the distance, handles more lighting scenarios without obvious color mismatches
Disadvantages - limited view distance of the 3D grass (may not be seen on other side of green) or in the rough beyond a tee box
All images below are the same settings for the grass. It is all in the same course build.
I really think this concept is getting close to what we will be happy with. I will be releasing this style today on Orchard Valley for v1_1 so that I can maybe bring some closure to this.
Ultimately, it will be every designer's choice on what to do with the grass. I am only hedging because I think some basics for understanding will help us in the long run. I would hate to see a flurry of releases only to discover over half the courses aren't playable by most.
I am anxiously waiting to see what can be done with Kiawah or Chamber's Bay or any gruffy links course. I am only worried there on the viewing proximity but hoping with longer blades you can actually plant less densely and push that further out than a course like Orchard or Scioto.
Comments are welcome. Pictures can help me see what you like and don't like. Look forward to improving this process with the community!