Glynn Taylor

Games Programmer


For my extended project I decided to learn how to use OpenGL, by looking at how to create voxel terrain. As to not make the project too complex, seeing as I had no prior OpenGL experience, I decided to create a program that could simply read an image, convert it to greyscale and then generate a voxel heightmap based on that (shown above). During this project I also developed a front end menu system built upon a state based game loop.

This project taught me a lot, especially about OpenGL and how to approach projects; even though OpenGL seemed so annoying at first, it is now one of my favourite APIs to use in projects.


  • Renders a heightmap from a PNG image using OpenGL
  • Simple to use GUI
  • Relative heights are shown by different textures (water, sand and grass)
  • Still to do
  • Optimisations for loading larger images
  • Better camera control
  • Interleaved VBOs

Technical aspect

This project was written in Java, using LWJGL for access to OpenGL; Slick util libraries were also used for unicode fonts and image handling. Voxels are optimised by only drawing faces next to air blocks; on load every face is stored within several VBOs, as to reduce the render calls per frame.