This image presents terrain from the upcoming nGENE Tech demo, I'm going to show as a proof-of-concept on annual IGK conference (Polish Game Developers conference). nGENE Tech is free to use engine. More info and dowloads are available at http://ngene.wikidot.com/.
A full screenshots gallery can be viewed at http://ngene.wikidot.com/effects
Screenshot features following techniques:
* Preetham daylight model with added sun glare - the only change to the original model was making sun look more like sun than a faint dot. That was achieved through using pretty strong emission for pixels near the sun (based on the angle between sky normal and light vectors). No magic but I like the result.
* Terrain rendering - nothing new here, just simple terrain patches created from height-map with box-filtering applied. Also haze is used.
* Clouds with light scattering and fade out towards horizon - simple pixel shader tracing from the position of the sun
* HDR (I know it's impossible to tell it from the picture)
* Water rendered as a post-process effect - this is due to the fact deferred rendering is used. Rendering water this way allowed me to improve it by adding several depth related information. By depth I mean waters depth not scene depth. Of course as no real geometry is used, all calculations (including normals computation) must be done in pixel shader. The most important in my solution is realistic colour extinction, something what most game waters lack in my opinion. Also rendering in a post-process stage, having G-Bufferd filled with data allows to create some nice waves. The waves in the picture doesn't look as good as they could as low resolution height-map was used. Also foam is used to further improve water quality.