Identify a DOS/486 era landscape rendering app
September 18, 2023 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Way back in the 90s, I had a pirated copy of a 3d ray tracing program that rendered landscapes based on height maps, and allowed the user to place the sun, determine the weather, etc.

I specifically remember that one of the demo landscapes was Crater Lake. It would take my 486/66 about 15 minutes to render a decent image of Crater Lake.

I'd love to play with this again. Any ideas?
posted by bowbeacon to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The only DOS-era ray tracer that I recall existing is POV-Ray. Looks like it's still a thing. It's not specifically for landscapes, though.
posted by jordemort at 1:14 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Vistapro! Oh my god I played with that for hours.

YT Link to a demo

posted by bondcliff at 1:18 PM on September 18 [5 favorites]

My mind went to Bryce 3d, released in '94, and i think landscapes were kind-of a thing with them.
posted by straw at 1:29 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]

@bondcliff It's amazing how much that video looks like Minecraft with better resolution.
posted by jferg at 1:33 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's a manual for VistaPro, which mentions a Crater Lake demo file.

Now I want to play with it again.
posted by bondcliff at 1:33 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]

I'm sure I used Terragen in the late 90s/early 2000s. It uses height maps to render landscapes, and also rendered clouds, sun, etc. It looks like it's still being updated.
posted by blisterpack at 3:12 PM on September 18

There's a copy of VistaPro here on Internet Archive.

I gave it a whirl and believe it or not, this actually works in Windows 10 with no fuss.
posted by neckro23 at 4:18 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: It's 100% VistaPro. Thanks!
posted by bowbeacon at 5:13 PM on September 18

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