Unity 5 Brief Explanation Of Dx 11 Tessellation – Tutorial

Tessellation is one of those features you may have heard about in a tech explanation in a AAA (Triple-A) game. It’s one of many features to have made it into Directx 11 and it’s one that won’t only make a difference visually but will also save time when it come’s to modelling. As i handle all the art as well as all the other game development (sound, textures, design and scripting) tessellation is something i will be using a lot of.

So what is tessellation?

If your not actually sure what tessellation is then you might find it a bit of a scary word. In reality it’s something very clever. What tessellation actually does, is add’s geometry to your models depending on the camera distance. Which might not mean a lot. The best way to understand is by understanding something else entirely. That would be bump mapping:

Normal Mapped Bump Mapped Texture

You can see above that bump mapped textures give an artificial bumped effect across the texture. Though how does tessellation come into all of this?

Bump Mapped Texture

As you can see this is a huge improvement over bumped mapped textures! Though going back to what i said before. The reason why the effect is much more detailed and has a better raised effect is due to an actual process rather then a simulated shader.

tessellation vs normal

As you can see tessellation automatically builds the extra geometry detail which is worked out from a normal and height map. The detail then decrease’s as the camera get’s further away from the mesh.

In the next tutorial i’ll explain how easy Unity 5 allows you to take advantage of this feature and easily deploy it’s use in your games.