Leaves is all about using a high degree of illusionary reality. Most of the tree and plant textures started life as digital photos. Most of the plants are two-dimensional ?facers? that rotate to constantly face the viewer. This drastically lowers the model vertex count, from maybe 2000 per model to 8 per model. The result? Instead of a small number of incredibly realistic plants, Leaves gets away with huge, sprawling vistas of tens of thousands of digitally real-looking plants, until you get right up close.
As an additional advantage of this technique, the fog distance in the Leaves virtual world can be set to a very high value on even a modest computer system, allowing the visitor to see for miles ? perfect for a landscape view.