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New Renderer Update March 2016


Hi, Its been a while since we last wrote a blog on the new renderer but we have been making some noise on the forum with screenshots and videos that you all may have seen already. If not they will be included in this blog.

I want to talk to you today of the realistic development time that has been taken up and will be taken up again by the new renderer upgrade. On one hand it all feels like its going really well with many major features back in the engine, and then there are those tasks which seem or feel impossible to get through. Terrain is one of them for me! It feels like every time we make a bit of headway on the upgrade from the old system, we are sent hurdling back miles due to something just not working.
There are a lot of cool features back in though like large amounts of assets, large numbers of lights, etc…

Lights are working based on a new approach called Forward3D which is a tile based forward renderer for lights. It is very efficient but can still be slow with too large a number of active lights. This is why we are going to build a light zoning which will be a simple bounding box that you place around parts of your level to cull and show lights as you move through the level. This will make the performance even better and the shadows should improve where its placed in the scene as we can only have the 3 shadows per PSSM split point and the extra 6 spot light shadows that use a normal focussed camera shadow setup. This is the technique that will be used until we can implement an occlusion culling technique to take over which we really really hope soon as it is a necessity in any modern engine.

I will start with what is left to upgrade:

  • Terrain – This is my current big task and is taking much time to get done as a lot of it is imcompatible.
  • Vegetation – I am hoping this is a quick task as i don’t think there is too much out, but it will be able to use the newer material systems.
  • Roads / Spline Paths Debugs: Currently our chained billboards used to create roads and spline debugs are not yet working but are going to be developed.
  • Camera system – this will be done in the next few days as they are used slightly differently to they were before. Does not affect the end user though 😛
  • Material Editing and Save/Loading of custom files. Conversion from Uber is working! – Important to really edit scenes and materials to how we want to see them.
  • Navmesh – Not too much work but still needs done.
  • Some Post Processing: SSAO, Light Rays, Tone mapping / Photofilter.. (HDR with anamorphic lens flarealready exists :))
  • Editor work to setup HDR properties and settings plus some extra parts.
  • Particle Universe Memory leaks… not sure where they are yet, but the particles are loading and working.

What’s not in, but is the least priority due to still having the older version of skyline.

  • Mesh Editor – Still have old skyline to edit meshes which then import to new skyline. Slow but not breaking workflow.
  • FBX Converter – Still have old skyline to convert and then upgrade using new editor. Slow but not breaking workflow.
  • Asset Manager Threading – Although the editor is functional again.

So, this time we are able to say what’s left rather than what have we done lol 😛 It doesn’t look big, but some of the tasks like terrain are very big and time consuming.

There is of course more to talk about, but that is for another blog and with some new screenshots and videos hopefully, but in the meantime in case you missed all the latest media, then here they are:

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