Landscape Generation

Real time generation and rendering of realistic landscapes

Hans Häggström, Master Thesis 

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In my master thesis I explore various algorithms for generating realistic 3D landscapes (including terrain, plants, buildings).  It can be seen as a kind of pre-study for a landscape rendering engine.


LandscapeGeneration.pdf  (7 MB)

The download from this site used to truncate silently, try one of the mirrors if the document does not open:

(mirror 1) LandscapeGeneration.pdf 

(mirror 2) LandscapeGeneration.pdf 


Citation information

Can be citated as: 

Häggström, Hans. 2006: Real time generation and rendering of realistic landscapes - Masters Thesis.  University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science.

Or as a bibtex entry:

@mastersthesis{ haggstrom2006,
    author     =     "Hans Häggström",
    title     =     "Real time generation and rendering of realistic landscapes",
    school     =     "University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science",
    year     =     "2006",
    month     =     "August",
    url = "",


With the increasing size of virtual landscapes in games and other applications there is a growing need for generation algorithms that can help designers to produce large realistic landscapes. Parametrized procedural and fractal systems provide this, and also enable on-the fly data generation that minimizes required storage space.  Ecotopes provide a way to introduce natural variation in automatically generated landscapes by varying the generation parameters based on the location. Interactive performance can be achieved by using geometry with a level of detail that decreases with the distance to the observer.  In this thesis I evaluate different algorithms for generating and rendering terrain, vegetation, buildings, cities, and the sky. New algorithms are sketched out for terrain generation through successive uneven mass deposit, elevation map modifying textures, river system generation, pattern based city generation, and weather modeling.  A subdivision based house generation algorithm is also presented and partially implemented. Finally opportunities for further research in conveying emotions with landscapes are identified.

Contact information 

 I can be contacted through email at hans dot haggstrom at iki dot fi