Tile to Sphere world algorithm

Came across a few thoughts in my game developments. Originally, it was going to be large maps that acted as levels. When the bare code was lain down, I decided it might be far more fun to make a survival game with the code. I’ve been scanning the nets for different implementations of making the world, and it seems most developers do flat worlds of varying sizes. I wanted to create a spherical world that appeared flat. My first approach was to create an actual spherical world that was so large, that it looked flat (like earth). This cause numerous problems between scale, and unity float accuracy limitations. The second issue with this, was that I couldn’t rotate the capsule collider, and would essentially have to rewrite all the necessary collider information from scratch, alter gravity, etc. Next, I thought to create a flat map, and wrap/bend it into a sphere. Using max3ds, this actually worked to some degree, but I still had a huge world and various coordinate issues.

The question here is, what is the most direct way to tile a map in such a way that you would simply render, and walk into the tile at the top of the map after reaching the bottom. Part of the complications with such an idea is getting the top and bottom tiles to accurately mesh with hills and structures. Are there any rendering tricks I should research as far as loading detailed terrain closer, and vague terrain farther? Links are great, terms and descriptions are also greatly appreciated.

Found an end-game solution to fast, real time, infinitely sized (yet still static), rolling terrains. This allows you to use a heightmap (of any size) and render it in variant degrees of detail from close, to far, asynchronously (meaning it doesn’t lock up your FPS). It’s called Geo Clip Mapping : http://http.developer.nvidia.com/GPUGems2/gpugems2_chapter02.html

Thanks goes out to fholm and the IRC community.