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kill

Voxels. The future, or dead technology.

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Hi. I just got this idea about voxels, and one question popped up in my mind. The mars demo is VERY fast, and it looks better then most of the stuff that would be done with polygons in hardware. Of course, it uses 2d array, not 3d. To make a 3d level, it would take way too much memory. But I am sure there is a way to optimize. Don''t store empty space. Compression. Etc, etc, etc. Thousands of ways. Voxels also provide a very good level of detail. You need to render too many voxels, no problem, just turn 8 adjecent voxels to one. Now, since voxels are so damn wonderful, why did 3d acceleration manufacturers went with polygons. And are there any voxel acceleration chips? Anyway, just my ideas... Please post ur opinion.

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I honestly believe it was the driving forces of the God''s that would be (M$ and SGI) that forced the hardware guys into the venue of polygons.

I wholeheartedly agree, with hardware implementation and some reworked functionality for voxels, they would do quite well in the games community.

Also, there is plenty of hardware that does voxelling in 3D. Everytime you go to the hospital for a CAT scan. It has just not been devloped on the PC level.










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Two comments:
1. Voxel memory requirements are still prohibitive for consumer-level PCs.
2. Voxel Processing is slow ( TRUE voxels, the 3D ones ) - that hospital equipment doesn''t have to generate 70 frames per second.
3. The MARS demo is a very unfortunate example of bad naming. It renders a heightfield, not voxels. It''s true that it doesn''t use polygons, but the engine has severe degrees-of-freedom limitations. You can''t look up or down, nor can you roll the camera.


#pragma DWIM // Do What I Mean!
~ Mad Keith ~
**I use Software Mode**

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I just want to point out that voxels accelerator processors (like triangle accelerator commonly found in our PC today) exists in laboratory and that 3Dfx is said to add one in one of it''s future product.

With that kind of hardware, we can hope to see fast voxels apps.

Something else : PC are more and more powerfull, with more and more memory, so voxel is a best and best solution

-* Sounds, music and story makes the difference between good and great games *-

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Sorry Ingenu, this is not a personal attack on you, but 3Dfx has been said to be doing a lot of things, but the pricing of their new cards, and that new T-buffer technology, don''t leave me with much respect for that company.

HAD the T-buffer been a full accumulation buffer, perhaps that could have saved their skin, but it isn''t.

Even if they are adding Voxel technology to their hardware, it''s not the complexity and speed of a single voxel operation that is the problem, it is the sheer number of them. Even if you could store a 1024*1024*1024 voxel space using compression techniques, it still leaves that many voxels to be considered when rendering. There''s a lot of research going on in this field ( and I''m one of the people doing it ) - so we might see some advances, but no magic 100% voxel engines.

Note: Pure Voxels HAVE been used in games - Tiberian Sun is a good example. But they use them for very small sprites only, not for the whole game.


#pragma DWIM // Do What I Mean!
~ Mad Keith ~
**I use Software Mode**

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Voxels are great for more realistic games. I hope there will be some voxel accelerator cards in near future.

Visit our homepage: www.rarebyte.de.st

GA

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I''m not offended
I didn''t like 3Dfx, I prefer the PowerVR technology.

About voxels: Outcast is a full 3d game with a splendid voxel engine.

This show you what could be done with voxels in software.
Think what can be done in hardware !

I must say that the PowerVR tech decrease my interest in voxels, whose main advantage to me was the no overdraw thing.


-* Sounds, music and story makes the difference between good and great games *-

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I think with some research and some practical solutions voxel engines can do A LOT. Correct me if I''m wrong, but if you generate quake level 1024x1024x1024 with about 32 bit per voxel, memory requirements won''t make it up to that point anywhere soon. But if you compress that, probably 85% will be "air" voxels, which will allow you to compress this level to possible memory requirements. I''m sure you could come up with hundreds if not thousands of other optimizations...

Can someone point me to voxel links? I need some good info...

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Some clever guy came up with the idea of using heightfields like textures: Put them on a polygon like a texture map. Since it can be drawn with lines instead of points, it takes less time than true 3D voxels, and it only takes as much memory as a texture map. Basically, the lines are drawn normal from the polygon, with their length corresponding to the height of the heightfield. An article explaining this was posted on GPMega, but that site has been down for a long time. Don''t know what happened, www.perplexed.com just went down one day and never got back up.

A single polygon in this case would be able to define a major portion of an object. A sphere would be only 2 polygons back-to-back!

The vehicles in Command & Conquer: Tiberian sun are made with true voxels. I hope accelerator cards will support them. If that happens, the realism of games will reach almost photographic quality at high framerates pretty quickly.

Anybody can try www.perplexed.com/GPMega but I can''t guarantee that they''re up. But the idea was brilliant.

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Hey kill, I recommend you check out the game "Outcast"... it''s a fully 3D (very nice looking) voxel game.

just do a search for it since I can''t remember who developed it.

Alex
Atypical Interactive
www.atypical-interactive.com

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