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I want to render very pretty smooth undulating hills. There are objects snuggled between these hills, so I can't really use naive bump-mapping.

I am currently rendering using a very detailed mesh that I generate myself. Its a lot of very small triangles.

Are there other approaches? What is the current viability of displacement mapping, for example?

I would like to run on mainstream hardware, including integrated graphics, and possibly even one day across to tablets and such.

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All the games I know of that display lots of terrain make heavy use of LODing to create the illusion of huge amounts of very detailed surfaces.

The CryEngine is king at this. And in World of Warcraft you can even see the LOD transitions when using low-performance settings.

The second post at http://www.gamedev.net/topic/439081-crysis-voxel-based-terrain-engine/ describes many different techniques to visualize huge terrains efficiently. Especially the HLOD article http://www.cs.unc.edu/~walk/hlod/ seems helpful.

I doubt that displacement mapping will get you anywhere near the performance obtained by simply reducing the number of triangles for far-away terrain. Especially for mobile devices lacking hardware support.

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I've been trying to probe if geomipmapping with displacement would work, but no bites: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/13972/… –  Will Jun 27 '11 at 5:35
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