NPR

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Dan Wexler pointed out this great page by skitten, which lets you quickly load up your Google Calendar with all SIGGRAPH events. Dan notes, “I’ve used these the past three years and they are fantastic”. Non-West-Coasters: don’t try to use these events for planning before SIGGRAPH, unless you go lock the time zone to West Coast times (or if you like to be three hours late for everything).

So if you want to thank Dan in person, see their talk, Intelligent Brush Strokes, around 4:20 pm Thursday, room 408A. Or virtually thank him by checking out the one-page abstract or the related, and brand-new, Glaze iPhad/iPone app.

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The ACM Non-Photorealistic Animation and Rendering Symposium has put out its call for papers. NPAR alternates its location each year between Annency, France (which is lovely) or colocated with SIGGRAPH (which is convenient for many of us). This is a SIGGRAPH year, in Vancouver (lovely and convenient). NPAR takes place the weekend before, colocated with Sketch-Based Interfaces and Modelling (SBIM) and (new this year) Computational Aesthetics (CAe).

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Well, I have 69 links stored up, wade through them here if you want unedited content. I’ve decided that getting 7 links out per post is a good round number, so here’s the first.

  • This is my screen-saver du jour: Pixel City (put the .scr file in your Windows directory). It’s fully described (along with source) in this great set of articles; if you’re too busy to read it all (though you should: it’s an fun read and he has some interesting insights), watch the video summary on that page. If you feel like researching the area of procedural modeling of cities more thoroughly, start here.
  • The book Real-Time Cameras, which is about camera control for games, now has a sample excerpt on Gamasutra.
  • NPR: Forrester Cole has two worthwhile GPU methods for deriving visible line segments for a set of edges (e.g., computing partial visibility of geometric lines). He’s put source code for his methods up at his site, the program “dpix“. Note: you’ll need Qt to compile & link.
  • The author of the Legalize Adulthood blog has recently had a number of posts on using DirectX10.
  • DirectX9 is still with us. Richard Thomson has a free draft of his book about DirectX 9 online. He knows what he’s about; witness his detailed pipeline posters. The bad news is that the book’s coverage of shaders is mostly about 1.X shaders (a walk down memory lane, if by “lane” you mean “horrifically complex assembly language”). The good news is that there’s some solid coverage of the theory and practice of vertex blending, for example. Anyway, grist for the mill – you might find something of use.
  • Around September I have 6 weeks off, so like every other programmer on the planet I’ve contemplated playing around with making a program for the iPhone. The economics are terrible for most developers, but I’d do it just for fun. It’s also interesting to see people thinking about what this new platform means for games. Naturally, Wolfenstein 3D, the “Hello World” of 3D games, has been ported. Andrew Glassner recommended this book for iPhone development, he said it’s the best one he found for beginners.
  • Speaking of Andrew, he pointed me at an interesting little language he’s been messing with, Processing. It’s essentially Java with a lot of built-in 2D (and to a lesser extent, 3D) graphics support: color, primitives, transforms, mouse control, lerps, window, etc., all right there and trivial to use. You can make fun little programs in just a page or two of code. That said, there are some very minor inconsistencies, like transparency not working against the background fill color. Pretty elaborate programs can be made, and it’s also handy for just drawing stuff easily via a program. Here’s a simple image I did in just a few lines, based on mouse moves:
    Processing output
That’s seven – ship it.

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With SIGGRAPH, the release of ShaderX^2 for free, and the publication of our own 3rd edition, there was much to report, but now things have settled down a bit. The bread and butter content of this blog is any new or noteworthy article or demo that is related to the field. The assumption is that not everyone is tracking all sources of information all the time.

So, if you don’t subscribe to Gamasutra’s free email newsletters, you wouldn’t know of this article: Inking the Cube: Edge Detection with Direct3D 10. It walks through the details of creating geometry for silhouette and crease edges using the geometry shader. To its credit, it also shows the problem with the basic approach: separate silhouette edges can have noticeable join and endcap gaps. One article that addresses this problem:

McGuire, Morgan, and John F. Hughes, “Hardware-Determined Feature Edges,” The 3rd International Symposium on Non-Photorealistic Animation and Rendering (NPAR 2004), pp. 35–47, June 2004.

One minor flaw in the Gamasutra article: the URL to Sarah Tariq’s presentation is broken (I’m writing Gamasutra to ask them to correct it), that article is here.

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In wading through my bookmark collection, there were a few sites that I felt were appropriate for the blog but not the resources pages. Basically, interesting tidbits, but not worth the (semi-)permanence of the website’s other pages.

First, Naty pointed out that NPR is used in the next Prince of Persia. Interesting style, and I look forward to seeing how well it animates. Update: Mikkel Gjøl at Zero Point Software pointed out that, with E3 just having happened, game trailers galore have come out, including an animated trailer for Prince of Persia.

I was trying to find what are the largest (highest resolution) commercial, or at least public, display systems available. Two I found: someone’s flight simulator setup, and the Zenview Command Center Elite. If you know of larger, please say so. Coolest death-star-related display system was easily The Emperor.

Tidbit: Intel division is still slow, but will someday be twice as fast.

There’s a quick little article in Forbes on NVIDIA. You already know 80% of it, but there are some new bits. Huang’s education at a reform school is a classic tale (though Wired’s piece is a little more detailed).

OK, my queue is now cleared!

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