Don't you hate it how you can see only about 100 metres in minecraft, because if it was made higher there would be massive lag?
Or how unloaded/loading chunks ruin movies? Well, then what is required is to make it further view less laggy by making it simpler over the normal view range.
Such as, let's say the view setting is set to 100 blocks. The range can be extended without much effect on performance by making blocks at a range of 150 still render, but only every 8th block is recognised, and the blocks that haven't been chosen get assigned to render like their chosen block.
In 2D, doing every 4th block, the result is this:
Obviously, in a more realistic scenario, less detail would be lost, because usually the ores would be more neatly arranged.
At a range of 200, blocks will still render, but it will be done in 3x3x3 chunks: every 27th block is rendered. And this should be an adjustable option, so it can be amplified from no compressed renders at all to blocks at a range of 1000 for those who have awesome computers.
Here is a chart for the compressed renders and the render quality.
1x normal view distance: This is normal view distance, 1x1x1 render size so no compression.
1 - 1.5x normal: 2x2x2 (Every 8th block) render size.
1.5 - 2x normal: 3x3x3 (Every 27th block) render size.
2 - 3x normal: 4x4x4 (Every 64th block) render size.
3-4x normal: 5x5x5 (Every 125th block) render size.
4-5x normal: 6x6x6 (Every 216th block) render size.
5-7x normal: 7x7x7 (Every 343th block) render size.
7-9x normal: 8x8x8 (Every 512th block) render size.
When a player is focusing somewhere outside normal view range (Like DoF focusing), the compression size should drop 2 tiers for the inner part of the focus and 1 for the outer part.
For added realism, fog is still kept in the game, but the fog thickness is far, far less, and it is made blue, so it gives the real life effect of looking at something kilometers away. That is, faded blue.
Also, there is the problem of chunks being easily seen subtly reforming as you get close: Better than just appearing, but we can do better!
And better is the additional option of chunk based DoF: And it is simple to calculate, since it is done per chunk, not per block, decreasing lag. Except for close blocks: If they are within 15 blocks, they are calculated per block, and
if within 30 blocks, calculated per 3x3x3 chunks.
Since close range DoF may be rather laggy compared to long range, it should be possible to turn it off.
Just a slight problem: Vertical DoF. If it is calculated by chunks, that is a problem as chunks are 16x16x128. To solve that, a 3D chunks system is required. Though that is something that would be great for minecraft anyway, it means nearly unlimited map height, and has been proven to work via the mod "Cubic chunks".
This would also fit in nicely with 8th size blocks, something that would also be perfect for minecraft: It's too easy to make a massive mob proof fort, and fine details are unexistent, so block placing and mining should work in 8ths, with mining an 8th block about 4x as fast as mining a full block.
Just a thought: Notch hasn't added cubic chunks because he's afraid of someone falling faster than the chunks can generate. This is not a problem due to the fact that lag will cause them to always generate before reached, but then you can just see sky below you while you fall and experience lag. So faraway chunk generation and rendering at lower res could make a cubic chunks system less ugly.
THIS IS AWESOME! Why hasn't anyone besides a few people talked about this? Robinton, the developer for the cubic chunks mod, said that later in his mod he would add compressed chunks, but he hasn't done it yet...
creator4, etc: I did a bundle of work on Compressed Faraway Cube Rendering, but I kept running into bugs, and I eventually got tired of it and decided to update MC to 1.0.0 first...
1/8 blocks are a great idea, but they would require 8 times as much processor power... So maybe they'd be a better idea in ~5 years. I've always wondered wha Minecraft NextGeneration might look like...
I think people just aren't posting in this because they can't see why it isn't already implimented. Send it off to a good modder and see what they can do with it. Right now, I'm not sure if any of us really know if it's possible, or if it'd really help much (or any) at all.
This is an awesome idea - Not sure why it hasn't happened before now. Almost every game these days has a Level of Detail setting (LoD) to make things farther away render faster by having less detail. That is all this is. Implemented the Minecraft way. +1
My "project", currently on the low-priority back burner: A scale model reproduction of a small city/large town. (No, this would not be a one-person project). The biggest claim to fame of the location: The mountains.
I can import real-world geography into a map, no problem.
But the minecraft sight range of about 1/12th of a mile, with San Fransisco level fog, makes the mountains unviewable.
And even with cubic chunks (at least, the screenshots from the dev version), that only raises the view distance to about one mile. And it's still a case of "render every block at that distance" instead of "render the landscape shape".
Underground, minecraft gets by just fine with about 64-96 block range view (64 with no fog).
Above ground, the short view distance really hurts.
I don't think compressing chunks like you describe would work at all. It would ...
This will help augment the viewing of scale of terrain given that we've even cooler terrain generation. (Greater playing experience)
I wonder if this is doable but development resource costly or just technically not doable ...