I've just got back from a 3 day trip to the Lake District. I love the lakes, just a shame I didn't get to walk up any mountains whilst I was there.
On the flip side I did go canoeing and build a raft (that didn't work) on lake Windermere, crawled through a tunnel in the ground and appreciate why cavers/pot-holers take torches with them. All of this was in the interest of team-building and team effectiveness - part of the graduate scheme at my new job (Fujitsu Services).
One of the things we had to do is complete a questionaire based on Meredith Belbin's classification of team members. There's loads of these sorts of things from what I've seen and I'm always dubious of whether they have any relevance [lol]
Apparently I'm a coordinated specialist implementor. I also need to stop talking so much - which is a fair point that I'm sure those familiar with my forum-spamming might understand [wink]
I won't be around much for the remainder of the week. My job requires me to be in Manchester most of the week. Friday should be good - Microsoft UK are holding an open-day for MVP's. Get to hear about some of the latest-n-greatest tech stuff (although nothing that seems obviously related to games/graphics). Should get a chance to say hello to some interesting people as well - often one of the highlights of these events. Simon (aka S1CA) and possibly Richard (aka superpig) should be in attendance (Seems Steve couldn't make it [sad]) and it'll be good to catch up with them [grin]
I also had my first pay-day yesterday, what with my "golden hello" bonus it's much like a fleeting experience of actually being paid a manager-level salary...[oh]
The choice is whether I blow my new found wealth on expensive toys or whether I be sensible and save it. I still have a huge interest-free student overdraft so I could have some fun [evil]
On a more interesting note, I've been drafting out the theory parts for my "Techniques for per-pixel lighting" section of our book.
I'm laying down a strong argument for considering the resolution at which you compute your lighting - I've had mixed (but generally good) success with the approach, but I'm convinced it is an aspect that Direct3D 10 can enhance if a developer actually gives it the time of day.
Even a simple thing like scaling by distance - do flat shading for distance geometry, Gouraud closer up and Phong for important objects. Consider it a quality-driven form of load-balancing.
Moving on from that discussion I'm focusing on per-pixel lighting as the base technique for the remainder of the section on lighting. I've therefore been digging around for various tricks and techniques in this area and settled on three that I figure are easy to cover (I do have to be careful about the page-count!) as well as being good examples and building blocks to launch the reader from.
I've also picked out a nice progression that strikes me as making the techniques a lot easier to understand. Combined with some diagrams of best/worst case scenarios it actually seems to be very easy [smile]
Bottom line, I'm going for regular Normal Mapping as an opener to introduce the applied side of tangent-space calculations; I follow this up by demonstrating the key weakness of normal maps and how introducing a height-map and doing Parallax Mapping With Offset Limiting can help improve quality at a marginal performance cost. I'm then going all-out for the last section and implementing Relief Mapping - essentially a ray-tracer inside a pixel shader [grin]
Normal Mapping -> Parallax With Offset Limiting -> Relief Mapping
I'm going to be writing this up on my spare time in Manchester (oh, the joy of hotel rooms [rolleyes]) and if I knock up any screen-shots then you know where I'll be posting them [wink]
So, if you actually bothered to read this far (yes, I know there weren't any pictures - I'm sorry!) any comments? Think you'd be interested in my proposed progression through lighting resolution/techniques?