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Submitted by Alex Taylor, posted on June 30, 2001

Image Description, by Alex Taylor

Here is my first IOTD. It is a screenshot from a model I spent this afternoon working on in our (commercial) package ViewBuild. It's a package designed for quickly doing houses. It's built on icky D3D retained mode and makes use of most of the features in the API. Of particular note in the screen shot is the heavy use of Bezier curves, I put them in the package about a year ago, and they've made some rather impressive looking scenes. Look at the top middle image at how curved all this is. The bottom left shows a wireframe version of the main image. The top right has an extra bezier added in showing off how nice they look with an environment map and a little specular. Try it out on your own projects - it looks sweeeet in motion.

The program itself is getting close to 4 years in development, though I've only been there around 1.5 years. It's written in C++ using MFC+D3D Retained Mode (DirectX 5), and currently only works on Win32. There is a rewrite in the works (OpenGL, STL, cross platform), that should allow for a lot more expansion above what is available in retained mode.

As this is a commercial product, you can get a free viewer (free reg. required) and download the model. I'll put it up just as soon as I send this off. Expect to see some more shots of sweeter looking related work (less commercial - more research oriented, possibly some source) soon. You can read about ViewBuild on the website or email about any of the techie stuff.

Alex Taylor

Image of the Day Gallery


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Wayne Marsh

June 30, 2001, 03:45 PM

Sometimes my face goes on fire. Ouch, for it burns with the power of four monkeys.


June 30, 2001, 04:19 PM

how are you doing the final visualisation?

bad choice of colours, nice pic :)


June 30, 2001, 04:22 PM

why do i suddenly feel like playing monkey island 2?


June 30, 2001, 07:07 PM

Environnment map = very very very cool.

Have you tried Serious Sam? Very nive environnment maps there too. Like your app! Can it do textures and such? Looks great!

Alex Taylor

June 30, 2001, 08:27 PM

lycium - It currently only outputs whatever the video card does - no ray tracing or radiosity.

disableddan - There are actually textures in this scene, they've just been mip-mapped out to color. The textures are actually one of the strong points. We have actual products in there from manufacturers (All Australian), that are in 'real life' scale. The orange central path is a Nubrik paver.


June 30, 2001, 11:50 PM

do the models feature wool? :)


July 01, 2001, 03:26 AM

Wow. That almost makes me want to stop everything and learn bezier curves...


July 01, 2001, 09:06 AM

Um bezier curves are easy retard.

Martijn Stoffels

July 01, 2001, 12:55 PM

Thank you for your constructive criticism.

Wayne Marsh

July 01, 2001, 12:58 PM

Sorry. That wasn't me. My browser had stored my username and password for this place, so my less than intelligent friend thought he'd have some fun.
Nice pic, and nice website to go with it too. Good luck, I'm sure you'll have all the success you expected with this. :)


July 01, 2001, 05:19 PM

Nice.:) And its cool to know im not the only person still suffering with Retained Mode.:)

Are you planning to move away from RM? Now that its no longer supported its becoming a real pain in the arse for us, so we're upgrading to D3D8.

It'd be nice to see a close-up where we can see the textures!



July 01, 2001, 06:16 PM

yeah dude... there are alot of beginners around here(like myself) who are just trying to learn... And how in hell are we supposed to know if they're easy if we've never even tried to learn them before..? You have to have exposure to know whats easy and whats not....

Alex Taylor

July 01, 2001, 08:43 PM

I am currently working on a multi-API version (OpenGL/DirectX - cross platform). The day after I posted this image, I got the same model loading into the new version. So I am making some progress. I hope to make a lot more use out of LOD and VSD algorithms in the new version. Losing retained mode makes this a lot nicer to implement.


July 02, 2001, 10:03 AM

Has anything happened recently from Microsoft on a replacement for retained mode? Last I heard Bill Gates was saying Fahrenheit was still alive (despite the rumour that basically no one was assigned to it anymore except for research purposes). Has anybody seen evidence of it or a successor?


July 02, 2001, 12:02 PM

I think there is a Bezier Patch tutorial on .

Try looking in the "bible" (Computer Graphics: Principles and Practise) on basic theory behind bezier curves and patches.

They are very simple to understand and implement.


July 02, 2001, 02:51 PM

XSG is pretty much the child of retained mode. I was on the beta for it, and was shipped 1.0 final. They attached a little note that said basically 'thanks for testing, now we have to go find new jobs, cause the project has been canned.' But for something like this IOTD, XSG would have been perfect. It had fancy curved surfaces, DLOD, killer framerates, and much more. Tis a pitty they cancelled it.

If your intrested in XSG, I'm sure you can order the final for a few bucks (this is just a guess :) - One really neat thing that I played with often was it's game extensions, which had things like CLOD heightmap-based terrain built in!

Ben Vanik
Lead Programmer
MiME Entertainment


July 03, 2001, 06:39 AM

yep.. I just read up on them... *very* easy... (still stand by the fact that that guy was being inconsiderate)

Mike Taylor

July 11, 2001, 04:10 PM

Bezier curves are easy in theory, but when you adapt them to central differenced static VIPMs with full crack fixing at amazingly high speeds using only assembly you hafta actually put out some effort.

(And what's with this kid up there calling people names?)

-Mike Taylor

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