Thursday, November 29, 2007

Light volumes and more

I've not been able to work much on the engine the last week since I've been busy with school projects.

Some things have been done though. I've updated the deferred rendering system to work with light volumes instead of full-screen quads. This alone provides a huge speedup as long as the lights are reasonably small. This also made me think about light attenuation. Funny enough, this thread at gamdev popped up today. As discussed in the thread, I also wanted to find a way to set a maximum radius for a light, without affecting its atenuation too much. After some playing around with Maple, I found that max(0, 1-1/maxRadius*x)/(1+k*x^2) does the job quite good (this function is suggested in the thread) . I implemented it in my lighting shaders and the result is fine. I also took the opportunity to shave of a few instructions.

Here are some screens:

In the second shot there is 100+ lights. As you can see, the point lights does not cast shadows yet. I will also need to implement a 64 bit HDR pipeline as I get oversaturation and banding artifacts.

I've also ordered a AMD HD3870. While slightly slower than the Nvidia 8800GT, it's slightly cheaper and most importantly: it's available ;)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Eliminating noise

The last couple of days I have tried to reduse the noise in the SSAO output. It proved to be a hard problem. My initial attempt was to simply apply a separable gaussian blur. It produced a nice, smooth image. But as I expected it resulted in ugly halos around object edges when combined with the albedo term. Next I tried to combine the gaussian with some edge detection trickery. Looked kind of cool, but unfortunally it just reduced the halos and did not eliminate them.

Then I turned to bilateral upsampling (see Jeremy Shopf's blog). Eliminated halos, but the SSAO input was way to noisy for simple bilinear filtering. My last atempt was a combination of a box blur and a variant of bilateral filtering. The result is acceptable. I'm not satisfied, but it will do for now.

Next up is some speed optimizations and then I'm on to indirect lighting.

SSAO + "bilateral filtering"-hack

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I've been playing around with screen-space ambient occlusion (SSAO) today, one of the AO-techniques used in Crysis. It's not trivial to get it to look good. I use the randomized normal trick described in the Crytek paper but I only sample on a hemisphere around the pixel normal to avoid self occlusion. I need to optimize the shader quite a bit, but so far this is just an evaluation of the technique and I'm quite pleased with the initial results.

Mandatory screenshots:
SSAO Only:

SSAO + direct lighting

Friday, November 09, 2007

Wheee! Shadows!