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Little Inferno - Fire Algorithm

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#1 BlazeCell   Members   -  Reputation: 452


Posted 29 May 2013 - 05:46 AM

So I just got done playing Little Inferno by Tomorrow Corporation, and I absolutely loved it. The algorithm they used for the fire combined with the physics of the smoldering debris matched the visual feel of fire so well, I couldn't distinguish what I was seeing from real fire. The pyromaniac within me is doing cartwheels.


So I was wondering, what algorithm were they using for the fire? There are definitely particles being used, but I'm not sure the fire is entirely comprised of just particles. It's very fluid and whole looking.


So, any thoughts on what they might be doing under the hood?


#2 Bacterius   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 9060


Posted 29 May 2013 - 07:28 AM

They may be doing some fluid dynamics calculations behind the hood, there are some visible advection/convection patterns. Also they seem to do some "heat wave" effect which creates visual distortions around fire, which, though exaggerated, adds to the immersion. I'm basing this reply off the second trailer video, I haven't actually played it.

The slowsort algorithm is a perfect illustration of the multiply and surrender paradigm, which is perhaps the single most important paradigm in the development of reluctant algorithms. The basic multiply and surrender strategy consists in replacing the problem at hand by two or more subproblems, each slightly simpler than the original, and continue multiplying subproblems and subsubproblems recursively in this fashion as long as possible. At some point the subproblems will all become so simple that their solution can no longer be postponed, and we will have to surrender. Experience shows that, in most cases, by the time this point is reached the total work will be substantially higher than what could have been wasted by a more direct approach.


- Pessimal Algorithms and Simplexity Analysis

#3 SuperVGA   Members   -  Reputation: 1118


Posted 29 May 2013 - 08:16 AM

I think they feedback previous frames over the current one, while warping them (warp can change gradually) and using some blurring and color calibration.

The result of the frame is perhaps particle effects like you said, but it can be combined with a classic flame effect or the likes.

2D image processing is fast nowadays, so it's basically just about combining stuff right. Above is my 2 cents.


Fluid dynamics iscan be a whole lot more complicated than the abovelinked (Although I guess it is a simplification hereof, in the plane). I'm convinced it can be done with little effort.

It's just that particle effects has been so "in" during the past 15 years, and it hasn't become mainstream yet to using pixel shaders for 2D fire effects like this one.


The method is a few decades old, though, to my awareness. Naturally the requirement to resolution has changed, and 20 years ago, we'd probably be using pixel doubling and as direct video memory writes from the CPU as we could.

Edited by SuperVGA, 29 May 2013 - 08:42 AM.

#4 BlazeCell   Members   -  Reputation: 452


Posted 30 May 2013 - 11:37 AM

Thanks guys. Those are some good tips on creating a realtime fire effect.

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