Pretty much everyone wants to use texture shadows in their real-time scenes these days; since they are calculated entirely on the GPU they scale well with modern chipsets, they are capable of shadowing alpha-rejected materials correctly (both as casters and receivers), they can be extended relatively simply to have soft edges, a variable penumbra and opacity with distance, and all kinds of other nice features. Depth-shadowmapping is the approach whereby you render the light-space depth (or some derivative thereof) of the shadow caster into a (typically floating point) shadow texture, then when rendering the main scene perform comparisons of the light-space depth of the pixel being rendered versus what is stored in that shadow texture.
Here’s a quick tip - if you run a technical site and have decided to use MySQL’s full-text indexing feature to make searches faster, you will want to change something out of the box. I’m upgrading the Ogre forum over xmas to phpBB3, and I’d found that the default ‘native’ search index took over 18 hours to build, simply because the forum is so large (and has in fact been ‘pruned’ back to the last 3-4 years now), plus my test server here is a more modest spec.
I posted about Johnny Lee’s Wiimote head-tracking demos early this year, and everyone said how much they’d love to play a game that included that kind of control system. Well, students at Qantm College in Brisbane, Australia have done it with Ogre. “State of Rage” is an on-rails shooter with multiple Wiimotes to perform head tracking and gun aiming. This video is from a non-final version before they added ragdolls and a few other features.
I read with some interest Matt Asay’s blog on TWiki, and what has happened over there as the company associated with the open-source project has basically decided to ‘reorganise’ everything, it appears in order to make itself more attractive to venture capitalists. To be honest, I really don’t understand the motivation at all. All open source projects live or die by the strength of their community, and to suddenly break from it in the interests of attracting investment is crazy.
I’m here in Sweden again for the rest of the week, working for an interesting client who is making a sizeable investment in creating a long-term strategy on Ogre, which is obviously a good thing. It’s a little under the radar for the moment so I’ll leave it at that until a more appropriate time 😀 Luckily my back held up for the trip, despite carting luggage and 3 flights with fairly small connection windows in between.
IDV yesterday issued a press release on speedtree.com announcing OgreSpeedTree 😀We’re also in their gallery and (currently) also on their front page. I’m rather pleased! I do however feel the pressing need to come up with some better screenshots, including HDR and some more interesting terrain. As always my thanks go to Kevin Meridith from IDV for his assistance throughout this whole process.
A few people asked for an OgreSpeedTree video with more varied scenes, and I’ve now uploaded one to the OgreSpeedTree section of the Torus Knot site. Just scroll down below the screenshots if you want to view the video. I have a higher resolution & better quality version (this one is H.264 at 1Kb/s) but I’ve kept this one small for now to keep my bandwidth under control. Places like Vimeo don’t allow commercial advertising, and while before I could get away with claiming it was just in-development test output shared with enthusiasts only, this is really an advertisement video so I’m hosting it myself.
I’ve been crazily busy lately trying to get OgreSpeedTree to a fit state for a 1.0 release alongside other projects (such as Ogre of course), so I can really start promoting it. Being the kind of person I am, I find it hard to stop tinkering and perfecting and I can’t let something go out the door without being totally happy with it. The screenshots and videos so far have been good I think, but I’ve been polishing away and making it all just that bit better, and one element of that has been some additional optimisation.
Next in the line of OgreSpeed* products, here’s a shot of OgreSpeedGrass. It’s based on IDV’s SpeedGrass but I’ve rewritten a fair amount to make it work conveniently with Ogre, and also improved it somewhat - such as better wind effects and the completely dynamic lighting and shadowing you see there, which I think looks rather nice. OgreSpeedGrass will be bundled with a yearly support agreement for OgreSpeedTree, in the same way that the original SpeedGrass is licensed.
I’ve just released a report summarising the results of the OGRE 2008 User Survey. Thanks to everyone who participated, we did in fact break the 1,000 responses mark which was my goal when I decided to run the survey, I think that’s a statistically respectable number to draw conclusions from. I intend to give copies of this report to hardware and software companies I need to blag a bit of assistance from, so I think this will do the job.