• Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  

New trends in gaming: voxels are the key to real-time raytracing in near-term future

This topic is 1241 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Jon and his team have created a very fast, true voxel engine with ray-tracing from the ground up. 
 
 
Their website, you can subscribe to get on a weekly mailing list: http://www.mek-entertainment.com/
 
~~
Another raytraced voxel engine is called 'Staxel', from a couple employees who left Chucklefish Games / Starbound. You can see more here : http://playstaxel.com/
~~ 
 
 
What is occuring? It appears a new rendering format, Raytracing, is becoming plausible for hardware in the near future. Voxels and Octrees appear to be the key to making things work - I imagine a movement coming in gaming akin to the pixel 2D graphics of 80's and 90's gaming. Eventually, Octrees will no longer be the fundamental key, and as such perhaps triangles will resume their importance in a raytraced format.
 
This seems exciting!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement

Also, every year or so someone will bring up a technology where the company, such as Euclideon, keeps claiming it will allow "infinite detail" or "unlimited detail" using voxel-based rendering.

 

These are basically precomputed, voxel-based octrees that were all the rage in the 1970s. Storage speed and transmission speed have both increased, but still it is only mildly useful in games.  There were many different algorithms in the '70s and '80s over it. Marching Cubes, a moderately efficient voxel isosurface algorithm, was released and patented in 1987. The patent hurt the research field rather painfully until it expired in 2005.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A very relevant video:

 

For how long has voxel-based ray tracing been on the verge of revolutionizing gaming graphics and subplanting the triangle as the prefered rendering primitive?  10 years? 20?  I remember people talking about the imminent pending death of the triangle back before fixed-function GPUs turned into programmable GPUs, and it was an old argument even back then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nVidia is finally putting Crassin's work to use with there voxel power GI (VXGI), but other than this, it seems the trend is to supplement conventional polygonal rendering with certain voxel-based techniques.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as i recall, eurofighter 2000 supposedly used some realtime raytracing for some of its graphics effects. i think that was the first time i saw mention of realtime raytracing in a game. commanche was an excellent chopper sim based on a voxel type terrain engine. i might even still have a copy! <g>.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Voxels will never be as practical as using a surface-based representation once the scenes get to be large. The number of voxels is generally cubic in the scene size, whereas triangles can have arbitrary level of detail. It just takes too much memory. Imagine ray tracing a voxel scene that is 1km^2 with a voxel resolution of 10cm. I would rather use a small BVH (10s of MB) than have GB of voxel data. Voxel traversal is popular because it's easy on the GPU, but doesn't scale well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Voxels will never be as practical as using a surface-based representation once the scenes get to be large. The number of voxels is generally cubic in the scene size, whereas triangles can have arbitrary level of detail. It just takes too much memory. Imagine ray tracing a voxel scene that is 1km^2 with a voxel resolution of 10cm. I would rather use a small BVH (10s of MB) than have GB of voxel data. Voxel traversal is popular because it's easy on the GPU, but doesn't scale well.

The other reason that people are using it at the moment is because they're using pre-filtering approaches.

Ray-tracing voxels isn't the big popular thing at the moment -- it's cone-tracing them.
Cone-tracing against a soup of textured polygons is extremely complex, even on a CPU.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Plus, you have to deal with the issue of animating those suckers.

 

If you need procedural/destructible terrain or something it's much easier to polygonize voxel data using an algorithm like dual contouring (which I advocate over Marching Cubes as it has no corner cases and can handle sharp edges!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, every year or so someone will bring up a technology where the company, such as Euclideon, keeps claiming it will allow "infinite detail" or "unlimited detail" using voxel-based rendering.

 

These are basically precomputed, voxel-based octrees that were all the rage in the 1970s. Storage speed and transmission speed have both increased, but still it is only mildly useful in games.  There were many different algorithms in the '70s and '80s over it. Marching Cubes, a moderately efficient voxel isosurface algorithm, was released and patented in 1987. The patent hurt the research field rather painfully until it expired in 2005.

 

laugh.png  And in today's news...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holy shit, scanning a religious place, those guys might have got a new logo but WTF their marketing team is missing the basics.

 

As a side note there's a company near here doing more or less the same thing... except they will give you pretty nice meshes and tons of metadata on request.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


scanning a religious place

Wut?


those guys might have got a new logo but WTF their marketing team is missing the basics.

As a side note there's a company near here doing more or less the same thing... except they will give you pretty nice meshes and tons of metadata on request.

Who done what?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, every year or so someone will bring up a technology where the company, such as Euclideon, keeps claiming it will allow "infinite detail" or "unlimited detail" using voxel-based rendering.
 
These are basically precomputed, voxel-based octrees that were all the rage in the 1970s. Storage speed and transmission speed have both increased, but still it is only mildly useful in games.  There were many different algorithms in the '70s and '80s over it. Marching Cubes, a moderately efficient voxel isosurface algorithm, was released and patented in 1987. The patent hurt the research field rather painfully until it expired in 2005.

 
laugh.png  And in today's news...
Holy shit, scanning a religious place, those guys might have got a new logo but WTF their marketing team is missing the basics.

As a side note there's a company near here doing more or less the same thing... except they will give you pretty nice meshes and tons of metadata on request.
Wut?
Who done what?

The "Unlimited Idiocy" people uploaded a new video, with the same condescending & misleading voice-over from their CEO, so it's time for the idiotic hype train to arrive again.

I'll C&P my response to that article from FB:
They've decided to target the GIS industry, where their tech actually makes sense, after over a decade of failure as a games middleware company. Not looking forward to all the red-herring cries of *HYPE* and "FAKE!" that flood the Internets whenever these snake-oil salesmen poke into the gaming world... Those are red herrings because yes their tech is legit, but no it's not actually that useful for most people. If it was, they wouldn't have failed to sell it to gamedevs for all these years.

If your art generation pipeline is based around laser scanning, your geometry is completely static, you're not already making use of your CPU for gameplay code or whatever, you don't care about using the GPU for rendering (maybe you moved your gameplay code there already
?) pre-baked lighting and shading is adequate, you have terabytes of storage available, and sub-30Hz "interactive" frame-rates are ok with you... then yeah, hype4dayz...

Edited by Hodgman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


If it was, they wouldn't have failed to sell it to gamedevs for all these years.

You gotta hand it to them though, for having achieved the longest running hype campaign in history. :)

IMO, they're just doing it to prove that whatever patent they have for it doesn't make them look like a patent troll, just in case there's money to be made from a future patent-infringement suit against anyone who might actually come up with a useable implementation of the technology.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement