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tulio

OpenGL Global Illumination

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Hi, What games use somekind of global illumination (Ray Tracing, or anything else) algorithm on the rendering engine? I know that Ray Tracing has a realtime algorithm and a free rendering engine that is openGL based. But does any good use something like that? And how about radiosity or Photon Mapping?

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If you are talking about the OpenRT project: in fact, it is not real-time and at this moment of time, it is not really useful for game development. I know, the developers of OpenRT love to say that it IS realtime, but to get 15-20 frames you will need a cluster... even if 15 frames would be possible with one computer, it still will be not enough for games.

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halo, max payne 2, half life 2 and probably others used radiosity for the static lighting

I'd imagine spherical harmonics have been used in at least a couple games, but I can't be too sure

now, did you mean stuff being calculated at runtime? that is an entirely different story, and the answer is likely no [at least, not for rendering adn stuff]

radioisity and photon mapping aren't fast enough [for complex scenes] to be done in a game engine.

[also, it would have to be done entirely on the graphics card as the cpu will be busy with other things]

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Thanks...

Your answer was what I was looking for. I imagined that any global illumination is done in batch...

But how is this applied? They make textures with the scene or they do some kind of collor buffer? How is this accomplished?

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They all use lightmaps as textures, but there are many ways to create them.. Lightmaps are mostly genrated in 3dsmax or other 3d packages. In max payne, for example, the lightmap is rendered by their probitary radiosity tool called 'GI server' inside the mapeditor.. but the lighting isn't that exact. Actually the best way to create lightmaps is using mental ray or final render, I think...

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Of course that games don`t use real-time radiosity or raytracing. Have you played Unreal 2 lately ? It is heavy on lightmap usage and yet it crawls on a lower configuration (under 2 GHz, 256 MB RAM, slower than GF4). And it has already precalculated all lightmaps ! Now imagine it would have to calculate those lightmaps in such detailed environment. It`s not gonna happen anytime soon. You`d need at least 1 GB of RAM just for patches and form factors, i.e. another 512 MB for other game-related stuff.

True, there are algorithms that can make radiosity a real-time solution on newest crop if vid cards. But then again, it`s nowhere as detailed environment as current games are (which again just use already precalculated lightmaps, yet struggle to run on slower machines). Yes, next two generations of vid cards can double the shader performance, but you know what ? Gaming environments will also double in polygon count and complexity, so it`s a neve-ending game "Catch me, if you can !". True, they could make the real-time radiosity in old games like maybe Quake3, which is low in polygon count (although it has pretty high walls which would mean lots of patches would have to be calculated). But would it really look that much different ? It`s definitely not going to be a difference as was the case with Tenebrae Quake.

Besides, I have yet to see a clever way of using real-time radiosity that would actually benefit the player and environment. What would be the point of real-time radiosity other tahn coolness ? I can`t seem to see any other usage than dynamic diffuse lights which can also be done otherwise.

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