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Submitted by Brebion flavien, posted on May 18, 2001

Image Description, by Brebion flavien

These are screenshots from my 3d MMORPG engine. They were taken on a P2-400 with a GeForce. I tried to show a few interesting effects, such as true volumetric clouds and detail objects (grass) on the ground. The performance is rather low due to many factors: no LOD (this will be my next big task), true 3d meshes for everything (including the landscape), on-the-fly computed soft shadows (look the mountains and the house; the sun can be moved), and mostly, everything is dynamic (vertex buffers are refilled every time). The application is CPU limited.

The sky and grass are animated. I tried to not abuse of the lensflare effect, which can be disabled by users anyway. There is also the usual stuff (particles, 3d sound, procedural terrain textures, detail textures, collision detection, frustum culling, 3ds importer, shaders, state groups, etc..). I am sorry for the poor quality of the models/colors/textures used -i'm definately not an artist-.

I am seeking a job in the game industry in France. If you are interested, or know someone that could be, feel free to drop me a mail. I'll release a public demo in a few days.


F. Brebion

Image of the Day Gallery


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

May 18, 2001, 02:54 PM

Looks great so far, the top right picture really shows off the volumetric fog/cloud, the lighting and the particle system I assume u used for the chimney smoke.

The terrain looks good too, in particular the grass effects ( an often failed feature in most game engines that attempt it ).


1st post :P

Moby Disk

May 18, 2001, 02:55 PM

1) A well-done lens flare!!!!!!
2) Grasss!!!!!

Grass and trees are really hard to do well. I've never seen anyone even try for grass. When viewing the grass from the side of the hill, the grass looks like it actually sticks up off the ground. How is that done? Clearly it is more than just a detail texture.

Kurt Miller

May 18, 2001, 03:03 PM

That looks quite cool; especially the grass ;] Can't wait to see the demo...

Rui Martins

May 18, 2001, 03:12 PM

Curious about the Grass Too.

See ya

David Olsson

May 18, 2001, 03:12 PM

Looks great, especially the upper right screen, love that.
The only complain I have is (if possible) to use more detailed textures. The textures look blury. Would be alot nicer with more detail. Maybe these screens are taken at worst case senario, close enough to make textures blury and to far away for one being unable to spot the detail textures. Had that problem myself in demo some time ago. But that is just a minor detail, otherwise it's just great. That grass looks very good.


May 18, 2001, 03:15 PM

I really like the whole feel of the engine... very delightful.


May 18, 2001, 03:24 PM

Now that looks sweet! I am very impressed by the grass. I have never seen anything like that in a game, except in the preview Turbine gave of their 2.0 engine. How on earth did you do that?


May 18, 2001, 03:34 PM

I must agree, this is really really good.


May 18, 2001, 03:36 PM

As everybody said : Kool !!
I love the grass, can you tell us more ?


May 18, 2001, 03:40 PM

When you say the performance is rather low... what is a typical frame rate?

BTW very awesome looking pictures though. I think once he adds the LOD he will probably fix up the detail textures, ussually that's a good time to fix it, hint, hint. Anyways, i'd love to see a demo of this in real-time. You should get a website up and let people download the demo and send you what system they had, what problems they encountered, and what type of frame rate they were getting, that way you can see how it'd run with all different types of hardware, and see what kind of specifications you need to run it at a "descent" frame rate.

Ok, I'm rambling...


Machin Shin

May 18, 2001, 03:40 PM

seems like everyone is getting high off the grass ;)

though i gotta say that the grass *DOES* look very real ..


May 18, 2001, 03:42 PM

Hey, I don't suppose the grass blows with the wind does it? Now, that would be realistic grass! Although, your grass is just about as close to real grass as it gets without getting real grass.. try to say that 10 times fast.

Keep up the good work.



May 18, 2001, 03:47 PM


-i'm definately not an artist-.

I would say you _are_ :)

That's even better looking than 3DMark2001 :P

How is it possible that such talented people are still searching for a job? :)

I also can't wait to see the demo :)


May 18, 2001, 03:48 PM

Woops, smiley overkill :P


May 18, 2001, 03:57 PM

A lens flare (e.g. for the sun) should only be shown when you have line-of-sight to the light source. For a massive terrain, this is hard to tell. How do people solve this problem?

I have some theories:

1. Ignore it. This would look really stupid. The sun will shine through
2. Trace a ray to the sun (ouch... worst case need to touch every pixel in the height map along a line towards the edge. ~1000 points, destroys cache coherence, etc.) Still doesn't handle other occluders, like trees, other characters, walls of a house, etc.
3. Precompute the data from (2) and store it as a 1 bit quantity for each height map pixel. Still doesn't handle other occluders, can't move the light source.
4. Read from the depth map after rendering. This seems really slow.

Thoughts? I'll probably do #2 in my outdoor engine unless I can find a better method.



May 18, 2001, 04:01 PM

Wow, that's awesome. I love the grass. But the lenseflare has to go.


May 18, 2001, 04:04 PM

How is the placement of grass handled? Do you mark the part of the terrain with mostly grass textures as grass and then splatter (with an algorithm) some of this grass (great looking btw) of yours over it?


May 18, 2001, 04:10 PM

I would use your fourth method. Why do you think it will be slow? It's just one pixel you have to read...

Or am I totally missing something?



May 18, 2001, 04:32 PM

how do you place the objects(house, trees) on the landscape?
how these are "handled/managed" by the renderer?

i can´t resist to say : the grass looks really cool.

Garett Bass

May 18, 2001, 04:42 PM

Looks to me like the grass is a repeating texture on some tris/quads that are perpendicular to the terrain in a grid. a pattern like ### should look good as long as you're not looking straight down on it. Very clever, and very good looking. Some modifications to the grass at very close range could make it even more convincing for looking straight down.


May 18, 2001, 04:52 PM

How do you read the depth map in OpenGL? I've never done it, but I thought it caused a pipeline stall. If it doesn't, please let me know so I can start!


Christian Schüler

May 18, 2001, 05:05 PM

This is the first time I respond to an IOTD because the image that you sent simply rock. Now take that.

Would you like to share what algorithm you use to create the shadows on the fly?


May 18, 2001, 05:07 PM

Well, in my software engine it takes just a few clock cycles :P

I never worked with OpenGl, but I don't think it will be terribly slow, even if it causes a pipeline stall. I believe it is possible with glReadPixels(..., zBuffer);...

Happy coding ;)



May 18, 2001, 05:31 PM

Very very very cool! I always wanted to see realtime grass and realtime shadows are just simply amazing. GREAT work! Hope to see more of your engine



May 18, 2001, 05:35 PM

The grass is really nice. This shows more than just dedication and perserverance, it takes artistry.



May 18, 2001, 05:38 PM

Can't you read from the Terrain Heightmap in the direction of the lightsource, and use some algebra to calculate whether Y value will cause the light to be blocked. Haven't given it much thought but that what springs to mind most readily. Give me a bit of time and I'll come up with something.


May 18, 2001, 05:44 PM

Wow, I really like the look of this one. Definately not just another average/typical engine.
Keep up the good work!

Mark Friedenbach

May 18, 2001, 06:05 PM

If you've already rendered the entire scene, then what's wrong with stalling the pipeline? The pipeline wouldn't be doing anything anyway...


May 18, 2001, 06:09 PM

It should be rendering the next frame.


May 18, 2001, 06:15 PM

It will do that, after the nanosecond it takes to read the z-buffer...

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