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what is raytracing?

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i''ve been hearing al about it...is it relatively simple to program? If you have the knowledge to program a simple texture mapped wolf3d-like engine is it relatively easy to program a ray tracer?

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I you are familiar with 3d algebra, then a ray-tracer is relatively simple to program.

The principle is simple:

Giving the eye position and the X by Y viewing plane, you compute x*y "ray" going from the eye trough the pixel. Then you find the first interception point and calculate the illumination and that point using your favorite method.

With a ray tracer some things that are complex in a z-buffer engines become very simple (like per-pixel shadows, real reflexivity, etc)

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