It has always been a challenge to model and render the surface of open and deep waters realistically. The main problem of this area is that the model has to accurately simulate both the statistical, optical and physical properties of a real sea or ocean surface. The simulated waves are needed to match statistically in wavelength, propagation speed, etc. with their real-world counterparts, they have to seem optically the same taking reflections and refractions into account and the objects on and under the surface are needed to move according to the forces created by the waves.
As it can be seen, the task is monumental: satisfying all these requirements at the same time while keeping the application real-time is really complex if not impossible. This insatiability led to the creation of many techniques achieving a subset of these goals each.
In my work I present a few of these techniques capable of real-time rendering, including the ones most frequently seen in ocean or water simulations. They frequently exploit the possibilities and massive computational power of today’s modern graphics hardware by executing most of their calculations on the graphics processor.