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Dev Blog

 Dev Blog #1.1  |  August 14, 2010  |  Reading forum stats...
The Future Is Volumetric, Atom-Based 1/3

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Part 1 of 3 - An Accelerated Hybrid Rendering

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A hybrid solution
Atomontage Engine can mix polygon-based with voxel-based content and render both in real-time. Currently only static content can be voxel-based. The engine features an accelerated renderer so the engine performs well on modern PCs as well as on older PCs in real-time. It manages the LOD of the rendered data so that real-time performance can be achieved also in cases with very limited resources available for rendering.

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Pickup model by Twayan

Voxel rendering
The engine renders voxel-based content with per-pixel details on the screen. Due to the nature of voxels it is useful to apply super-sample anti-aliasing to get smooth high-quality picture. The engine can also render the content with sub-pixel geometry details but in that case a higher level of super-sampling is appropriate and that's expensive.

GPU-based post-processing
The engine applies some of the typically GPU-based effects to enhance the quality of the picture. The Depth-of-Field effect presents a simple solution to avoid the noticeable voxelization in close-ups. It can be parametrized well and is most useful in 3rd person views. This solution may be unsatisfactory in some first-person views. There are other ways to overcome the voxelization in close-ups but currently Atomontage Engine doesn't provide any of them, except for a smooth-voxel rendering technique wich is currently not really sufficient in extreme close-ups as well. A kind of dynamic up-sampling may be doable in real-time but it is expensive and probably not worth the effort on the state-of-the-art hardware.

Another effect is the Bloom effect which is useful in views of the voxelized content in foreground with a bright background. In cases when the engine temporarily runs out of resources the Bloom effect smooths out the noticeable voxels on the edge of the foreground.

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