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  • 10/24/01 05:17 PM
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    Graphics and GPU Programming

    Myopic Rhino


    [size="5"]1.0 Abstract

    One night when there was a lightning storm (2 or 3 nights ago) I decided I would write an article on lightning just for fun. This is the first time I have ever tried to simulate lightning before. If there are any spelling mistakes or similar please E-Mail then to me at [email="javaman@telusplanet.net"]javaman@telusplanet.net[/email].

    [size="3"]1.1 About this Article

    All the demo code is in Visual Basic with DirectX8. There is a demo with code and exe that you can via the attached article resource.

    [size="5"]2.0 Getting down to work

    First off, you just set up a normal Direct3D scene. I added a bit of fog to make it look like it's raining, but you don't have to do this if you don't want to.

    Enough of that on with the fun. I use 2 classes in this method: the first you only need on ref to its name is "clsLighteningBoltMain". It's more or less just a container class for the second class called "clsLighteningBolt".

    [size="3"]2.1 clsLighteningBoltMain

    Class variables

    Private BoltArray as clsLighteningBolt
    This is the head of are singly linked list


    Public Function Get_YfromXZ(ByVal X as single, ByVal Z as single) as Single
    This function returns the height of the ground at X, Z. (Note: This function only returns 0 because our ground is flat)

    Public Sub AddBolt(ByVal X as single, ByVal Y as single, _
    ByVal Z as single, ByVal lColor as single)
    This sub adds a bolt to the list at the starting pos of X, Y, Z with the color lColor (Note: for some unknown reason color is not working; if any one finds out why please e-mail me)

    Public Sub DrawBolts()
    This sub draws the bolt list and removes any bolts that say they can be removed.

    [size="3"]2.2 clsLighteningBolt


    Public iNext as clsLighteningBolt
    Pointer to the next bolt in the list

    Public Parent as clsLighteningBoltMain
    Pointer to the container class (so we can call Get_YFromXZ)


    Public Sub Init_Bolt(ByVal X as single, ByVal Y as single, _
    ByVal Z as Single, iColor as Long)
    Sets the bolt startup values

    Public Function Draw_Bolt() as Boolean
    Draws the bolt and returns false if it's done (e.g. hit the ground)

    [size="3"]2.3 How the code works

    2.3.1 clsLighteningMain


    This function returns the height of the ground/strike plane at position (x, z).

    Public Function Get_YFromXZ(ByVal x As Single, _
    ByVal z As Single) As Single
    Get_YFromXZ = 0

    End Function

    This sub adds a bolt to the start of the bolt list with the specified position and color.

    Public Sub AddBolt(ByVal x As Single, ByVal y As Single, _
    ByVal z As Single, lColor As Long)
    Dim NewBolt As New clsLighteningBolt
    NewBolt.Init_Bolt x, y, z, lColor
    Set NewBolt.iNext = BoltArray
    Set BoltArray = NewBolt
    Set NewBolt.Parent = Me
    End Sub

    This sub draws all of the bolts in the bolt list and removes bolts that have hit the ground.

    Public Sub DrawBolts()
    Dim Curr As clsLighteningBolt
    Dim Last As clsLighteningBolt

    Device.SetVertexShader FVF_LineVertex

    Set Curr = BoltArray
    Device.SetTexture 0, Nothing

    If Curr Is Nothing Then Exit Do
    If Curr.Draw_Bolt() = False Then
    If Not Last Is Nothing Then
    Set Last.iNext = Curr.iNext
    Set Curr = Curr.iNext
    Set BoltArray = Curr.iNext
    Set Curr = BoltArray
    End If
    Set Last = Curr
    Set Curr = Curr.iNext
    End If

    End Sub
    2.3.2 clsLighteningBolt


    This sub just sets the first line segment up.

    Public Sub Init_Bolt(ByVal x As Single, ByVal y As Single, ByVal z As Single, ByVal iColor As Long)
    ReDim Lines(1)
    NumberLines = 1
    With Lines(0)
    .x = x
    .y = y
    .z = z
    .Color = iColor
    End With

    With Lines(1)
    .x = x

    .y = y - 0.06
    .z = z
    .Color = iColor
    End With
    End Sub

    This sub draws and adds one more vertex to the line strip and returns true if its not done yet and false if it is.

    Public Function Draw_Bolt() As Boolean
    NumberLines = NumberLines + 1
    ReDim Preserve Lines(NumberLines)
    With Lines(NumberLines)

    .x = Lines(NumberLines - 1).x + (1 - Rnd * 2) * 0.3

    .y = Lines(NumberLines - 1).y - (Rnd + 0.55)

    .z = Lines(NumberLines - 1).z + (1 - Rnd * 2) * 0.3

    .Color = Lines(0).Color
    End With

    D3DPT_LINESTRIP,NumberLines, Lines(0),_

    Draw_Bolt = True
    If Lines(NumberLines).y <= Parent.Get_YFromXZ(Lines(1).x, Lines(1).z) Then
    If Rnd > 0.95 Then
    Draw_Bolt = False
    End If
    End If
    End Function

    [size="5"]3.0 Theory

    [size="3"]3.1 How it works

    The way this works is really simple when you think about it. There is a list of all the bolts that this container needs to think about. You add and remove bolts from there. Here's a picture to help out with this one:

    Adding a new bolt

    Step One:


    Create a new bolt class and set its variables.

    Step 2:


    Insert the new bolt into the list right after the head.

    Removing a bolt


    1. Set 1.iNext = 2.iNext
    2. Set 2.iNext = Nothing
    3. Set 2 = Nothing
    Figuring out where to put the next vertex for a bolt is even easier then that. Here's how:
    1. Resize the Vertex array so you can fit one more vertex in it
    2. Set the X to X(index-1) + 1-(rnd * 2) * 0.3 and same for the z coordint
    3. Set y to Y(index-1) - (rnd + .55)
    Now last but not least: drawing the bolt. I do it with DirectX using a line strip.

    Device.DrawPrimitiveUP D3DPT_LINESTRIP, Ubound(Lines()), _

    [size="5"]4.0 Conclusion

    Well that's all there is to it. Not hard, is it?

    WepPage: http://www.telusplan...public/javaman/

    E-Mail: [email="javaman@telusplanet.net"]javaman@telusplanet.net[/email]

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