Tech Guide: Texture Mapping
February 25, 2001
We all know the PlayStation 2 can pump out millions of polygons per second, but without textures, those polygons would be nothing but useless solid plain triangles. This is where texture mapping comes into place.
Think of texture mapping as wrapping a Christmas gift. You don't want the person receiving the gift to see what he/she is getting, so you use wrapping paper to cover it up. Developer's obviously don't want you to see all their naked gray polygons so they "wrap" them up as well.
Suppose you need to get textures onto a car in a racing game. The artists have all the necessary textures on their computers. Instead of one giant texture to go around the whole car at once, each side of the car has it's own individual texture.
Imagine that the artist is putting a texture onto the back of the car. It usually doesn't fit the first time it is applied to the polygon so it is usually stretched to the right places on the car.
A good example of texture mapping is Metal Gear Solid. Unlike other PlayStation games, pop up in Metal Gear Solid is nonexistent. In other words, you can see completely from one end of the level to the other. If you look at games like Medal of Honor, you can't see any textures at all beyond a certain range. Not only that, but MGS still sports detailed textures from far distances. They don't magically become "smooth" or plain when you move away from them.
While running on the PlayStation 2, Metal Gear Solid's textures look even better. You can no longer say that they have a grainy look to them. Cool.
By: Solidsnake - Freelance Writer