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It’s D-Day and it’s been awhile, so let’s get going. This is a LIFO of the 486 backlogged links I’ve collected for this blog:

  • GPUView looks like an interesting profiling tool from some students at Stanford (done as interns at Microsoft, which has a more official page), though I’ve heard it’s a bit of work to set up. If you’ve used it, how did you find it?
  • Open source code for a fast and scalable GLSL GPU implementation of the Perlin noise with functions, not textures.
  • NV Path Rendering is not what you might think, it’s about rendering text and 2D paths with quite a bit of elaboration available (think SVG or other 2D vector descriptions). GTC presentation here.
  • The book “Physically Based Rendering” is now in eBook form, including PDF (so I assume no DRM?). Annoyingly, it costs considerably more than the physical book on Amazon, but that’s the publisher’s doing.
  • Proland looked intriguing, a procedural terrain generator that creates based on view. Appears fairly elaborate, and a quick way to get some plausible-looking terrain data.
  • Geekbench is a cross-platform benchmarking system; from what I’ve heard, mobile platforms kind of set the clock back a fair number of year in terms of performance. Still, 3D is doable (it certainly was in 2002); here’s a starter list of 3D CAD apps for Android (many are on the iPad, too). I need to search out more, I’m interested in what’s out there.
  • Finally, in the category “this looks like a painting but is reality”, a photo taken in Namibia:

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I’m back from a NYC trip (highlight: went to the taping of the Jimmy Fallon show and saw Snooki & Laurie Anderson – now there’s a combo; if only they had collaborated) and a San Francisco trip (highlights: the Autodesk Gallery – open to the public Wednesday afternoons – plus the amusingly-large and glowing heatsink on a motherboard at the NVIDIA GDC reception). So, it’s time to write down seven other cool things.

  • A convincing translucency effect was presented at GDC by the DICE guys (there’s precomputation involved, but it looks wonderful); Johan Andersson has a rundown of other DICE presentations. Other presentation lists include ones from NVIDIA and Intel, which I need to chew through sometime soon.
  • Vincent Scheib has a quick GDC report, and a presentation on HTML 5 and other browser technologies (e.g. WebGL), with a particular interest in the handheld market. Vincent mentions the Unreal GDC demo, which is pretty amazing.
  • Intel has a nice shadows demo, showing the various tradeoffs with cascaded and exponential variance shadow maps. It compiled out of the box for me, and there’s lots to try out. My only disappointment was that Lauritzen et al.’s clever shadow tricks are not demonstrated in it! Their basic ideas center around the idea of a prepass of the scene. They get tight bounds on the near and far view planes by finding the min and max depths, and tighten the shadow maps’ frustums around the visible points. Simple and clever, large improvements in shadow quality in real scenes, and relatively easy to implement or add to existing systems. (thanks to Mauricio Vives)
  • Feed43: This is a nice little idea. It tracks any web page you want, and you specify what is considered a change to the page. When a change is detected, you’re given an RSS ping. Best part is, you can share any RSS feed created with everyone. Examples: Ke-Sen Huang’s great conference paper list, and The Ray Tracing News. If you make a good feed, let me know and I’ll pass it on here. (thanks to Iliyan Georgiev)
  • This one’s old, but it’s a great page and I found it worthwhile, a discussion of gamma correction and text rendering. The surprising conclusion is that gamma alone doesn’t work nicely for text (it does wonders for line antialiasing, as I hope you know: compare uncorrected vs. corrected). It turns out that things like TrueType’s hinting has been tuned such that antialiasing and gamma correction can be detrimental.
  • An interesting tidbit from the government report “Designing a Digital Future“: on page 71 is an interesting section. A sample quote: “performance gains due to improvements in algorithms have vastly exceeded even the dramatic performance gains due to increased processor speed.” They give a numerical algorithms example where hardware gave a 1000x gain, algorithms gave a 43000x gain, 43 times as much. (thanks to Morgan McGuire)
  • My Minecraft addiction has died down a fair bit (“just one more project…”), but I was happy to see Notch make a blog post with some technical chew, with more posts to come. He talks about a problem many apps are starting to run into, how to deal with precision problems when the terrain space is large. His solution for now, “it’s a feature!”, which actually kinda makes sense for Minecraft. He also starts to describe his procedural terrain generation algorithm.

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