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Basic questions about voxels, where do I start?

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Hello there, my name is Simon and I've been looking into some voxel rendering techniques lately. I have been googling like a freak around voxels, how to render them and what they actually are.

So after days of searching all I can find is old information (start of 2000-ish), which I would believe, or atleast guess is outdated? One thing I've seen alot is raytracing, which would be used for rendering terrains. Am I right? But raytracing doesn't really tell me anything. It's simply a word, nothing more to me. Is this the only technique? And what if I want to draw for example characters, or items in voxels. Would I still be using raycasting?

I do understand that it may be hard (or even impossible) to tell me everything about voxels in one post. I've come to understand that it's kind of complicated stuff? But I find it hard to know where to start, should I make sure to know 3D Game Programming fully before trying this out? Basically, where do I start? And where do I begin reading/what do i read up on to understand voxels?

FYI, Im not afraid of wall of texts, neither really long tutorials. Just shoot them at me!

Thank you in advance, Simon! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

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[quote name='FLeBlanc' timestamp='1333661563' post='4928598']
Raytracing refers to a method of tracing rays (remember, rays are portions of a line that have a starting point and a direction, that extend from that point to infinity) through a scene and calculating interactions of that ray with the scene in order to generate the visible view. It is not limited only to terrains. With a voxel system, you face basically two methods for rendering the scene: convert the voxels to geometry, or render the entire scene via raytracing...
[/quote]

Thank you A LOT, that is really helpfull! I believe im going to read up on raytracing some more. Seems like that would be the best alternative when I understand the rays fully. I've also read about those knotty problems you mentioned, but I decided that I will take it as a learning oppurtunity and try to counter them as good as I possibly can!

Thanks again! REP+!

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