demoscene

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7 things, with images for each as some quick eye candy – is it worth my adding these images?

  • Here’s a nice rundown of much of the graphical goodness (and badness, e.g. temporal antialiasing) of the Halo: Reach beta. It’s worth a skim just to get a sense of the state of the art in a wide range of areas. The motion blur video appears to not be available currently. (thanks, Mauricio)
  • Unlimited Detail Technology is a voxel-based renderer with an interesting history: it was developed by a self-taught hobbyist who once ran a supermarket chain. There’s been interest in voxels for awhile, e.g. Jon Olick’s SIGGRAPH presentation in 2008 (slides here). Voxel rendering reminds me of the CPU-side heightfield renderer used in Novalogic’s Comanche and Delta Force game series from 1992 on. Novalogic’s was a 2.5 D system using contour following, while the Unlimited Detail system is full 3D voxels. Looking at UD’s presentations, it seems like a form of 3D clipmapping, where the level of detail of the voxels needed are determined by distance. The look reminds me of dribble sand castles. The coolest part: no GPU needed, it’s all CPU. I can imagine 18 limitations to this system: animation/deformation, sharp-edges not possible, shading models have limitations, transparency doesn’t work, textures are difficult to apply, fuzzy objects can’t be rendered, etc. Still, fun to see and a fascinating option. (another thanks, Mauricio)
  • The Ruin Island demo was created by some students in France. Parallax occlusion mapping, depth of field, NPR toon rendering, motion blur, glow and bloom, and more – it’s a grab-bag of effects in OpenGL. What’s nice is that the source code is provided. (Geeks3D)
  • Norbert Nopper has a small set of standalone OpenGL 3.2 and GLSL 1.5 tutorial programs with code for various effects. (Morgan McGuire)
  • The demoscene demo agenda circling forth uses particle clouds for a beautiful look. Note that the links for the video and demo are just under the image at the top of the page.
  • The photorealistic Octane Renderer uses CUDA for acceleration. To try it out you’ll need a fairly up-to-date NVIDIA driver, the demosuite, and the executable. It’s actually pretty cool to see the frameless rendering in action, it’s quite interactive for their simple scenes. There’s golden thread rendering: the longer you sit, the better the image gets. (Geeks3D)
  • 3D printing with ice. (BoingBoing)

Halo: Reach motion blur:

Unlimited Detail voxel image:

Ruin Island demo:

OpenGL 3.2 Nopper demo image:

agenda circling forth:

Octane Rendering, after 2 merged frames (interactive update) and after 5685 frames (a few minutes):

3D ice printing:

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First day of work, so here are a few from coworkers and others:

  • Naty passed on this blog post about RGBD, a compact way of storing HDR environment map colors.
  • Gamasutra has an excerpt from Game Engine Architecture, a book we’ve mentioned before. Added bonus info on the author, Jason Gregory: he was a lead programmer on Uncharted 2 (which my older son loves, as do many others).
  • Manny Ko mentioned the free program Mendeley, which he swears by for organizing his PDF collection of graphics papers. I’ll look into it once I’ve reloaded everything after my Windows 7 upgrade.
  • Physics in graphics? Here’s one person’s extensive collection of abstracts through 2005.
  • From Nicholas Wilt, interesting to hear how one brokerage firm is now using GPUs to run complex simulations for bond prices. That GPU Gems chapter on options pricing was prescient.
  • Speaking of brokers and lots of GPUs, there’s this article. I’m a little skeptical of a GPU cloud for graphics (vs. running OpenCL), since graphics cards are not quite interchangeable parts at this point. Also, CPUs don’t normally need driver updates, GPUs do. OTOY I’m super-skeptical about, I have to admit, though I’d love to see them pull it off. Anyway, fun to think about situations where network bandwidth > graphics compute power and cloud cost < local cost.
  • One more from the demoscene, Farbrausch’s The Cube – interesting effects, what looks like procedural clips and procedural surfaces using interior mapping. At least, that’s my guess. I wish they would spend a little time explaining what they did, though maybe that would ruin the magic.

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A schedule for Christmas:

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