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Submitted by Lauri Hyvärinen, posted on September 27, 2001

Image Description, by Lauri Hyvärinen

Above shots are from our techdemo. Some features: Very large outdoor scenes, huge amount of trees & other plants, FULLY dynamic ground. Dynamic ground modification does not reduce fps at all.

The scenes have nothing static, everything is easy to customize and the trees are planted randomly.

Currently this engine runs 20 fps with 450 mhz/gf2mx, 30 fps w/ 750 mhz/gf2mx, 60 fps w/ 900 mhz/gf2 gts (800x600x32b). T&L -based graphics board is required.

Techdemo uses our Snowstorm 3D graphics engine. Some of its features are:
  • Highly optimized for T&L
  • HSR technology to strip everything what is not seen
  • Automatic LOD
  • All the newest effects, for example
  • DXTC texture compression
  • Cubic reflections
  • Dot product bumpmapping
  • Environment mapped bumpmapping (EMBM)
  • Hardware mesh interpolation
  • Anti-aliasing, Anisotropic filtering
  • Realistic real-time shadows: No need for stencil buffer
  • And so on. Complete list and more shots from the techdemo at our site,

    The release date for our techdemo is within a week.

    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    Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active.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 Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
    Lauri Hyvärinen

    September 27, 2001, 05:25 PM

    But now we are talking about our engine.

    It requires a bit from both CPU and graphics board. If CPU isn't fast enough, no matter how fast graphics board you have doesn't help.

    And it's optimized to work with 750 mhz system with GF2MX, so less than that may really slow a lot.

    Of course, you could optimize it for 400 mhz with GF3, but who has that kind of system?

    Lauri Hyvärinen

    September 27, 2001, 05:29 PM

    Well, I agree with most of that.

    The playable demo has only a bit of the things what the final game will have, so it's scheduled to be ready in 2-3 months. But who knows what kind of problems we will face.


    September 27, 2001, 05:34 PM

    What kind of performance impact does bump mapping have?



    September 27, 2001, 05:39 PM

    who needs a game with that engine, just add a couple of nice looking women sunbathing and you're guaranteed a hit :)
    Codito, ergo sum - Graphics Programming

    zed zeek

    September 27, 2001, 05:41 PM

    bloody hell, is it just me or does anyone else have the impression that half of finland must be involved someway in the technology industry. graphics games + what not.
    it sure looks sweet esp the reflections, are the just the geometry flipped over ie rendered twice once normal + once reflected or are u doing some special trick? u dont have to say what it is ;)


    September 27, 2001, 06:21 PM

    Very nice!

    The techdemo makes me think of X-Isle: DI, especially the loading screen + many trees ;)

    It does also lag a bit (more than with X-Isle: DI) but I'm sure you guys are able to optimize it far enough to make it faster than X:DI :)

    Oh, and I've tried the demo on a P!!! 933 with a GeForce2 MX, 256 MB SDRAM and Windows XP in a resolution of 1024x768x32.


    September 27, 2001, 06:47 PM

    Look great especially the version when you press f12 :-)


    September 27, 2001, 07:04 PM

    Amazing! Loks great guys, good luck with your game!


    September 27, 2001, 07:24 PM

    looks good. ran great for me. GF3, p4 1.7Mhz, 512Mb :)

    I didn't notice much in the way of shadows, tho.

    The LOD popping was a little distracting, maybe you could implement a blend since from the previous LOD since you say everything is dynamic.


    September 27, 2001, 09:58 PM

    thoooms: so right. Just put in some half naked women in the game and it will sells good...remember Duke3D, Tomb Raider? :) But some freaks prefer demons and magician and stuff like you can do both, one heavy armed horny girl with a big breast and dress her like a magician and give her some spells, like fireballs, everyone loves fireballs. Then you're in business! Just be sure to put a lot of polys for the breast and the legs..the rest isn't that important...

    Sebastian Aaltonen

    September 28, 2001, 04:17 AM

    Let me explain why the techdemo runs so slow (poor fps).

    The engine was not designed to run on a situation like this.

    It has no terrain engine on it at all. The whole terrain is rendered as big objects. This is not the best way to do it (you all coders know it for sure).

    The engine itself runs over 10 million polygons per second (with my 433mhz celeron) in good situations (indoors with a low amount of high polygon objects).

    And yes I would recommend Frozenbyte to download the debug DX8 runtime drivers. It's easy to locate those small errors on the code with debugger.

    PS. I'am waiting for your game... Don't start with a too big one, or you'll fail... (didn't you see what happened to our group:)


    September 28, 2001, 04:24 AM

    Looks nice,
    what kind of HSR technique do you use? Does it compute only terrain visibility? Do you use the trees as occluders?
    And tell something about shadows!
    Don't you know that sharing the knowledge is the way to improve the state of game industry... :)

    Sebastian Aaltonen

    September 28, 2001, 04:43 AM

    Shadows are rendered in real time to shadowmaps. Then the shadowmaps are projected using projected texturing and a texture transformation matrix (and texgen).

    This technique was much faster than the stencil buffer based shadow stuff (almost 100% in hardware). The only negative thing about projected shadowmaps is that with them you cannot do selfshadowing.

    Sebastian Aaltonen

    September 28, 2001, 04:54 AM

    Yes... There is a lot of good coders in Finland... You should see my friends (Vesa Halonen's) new 3d-engine with object based lightning (self illum objects and maps cast light) and full radiosity. If looks very cool.

    You asked about the mirrors. They are not fake (like flipped geometry), but a very special way of doing it... No stencil buffer required and no texture rendering required. Mirrors can be of any shape, and animate with keyframes (and mesh animation is allowed too, so the mirrors can morph etc). The goal for my engine (Frozenbyte's Snowstorm is a modification of it) was to create a 100% realtime engine. So everything is done in realtime including mirrors.

    Sebastian Aaltonen

    September 28, 2001, 05:05 AM

    Isn't there EDIT MESSAGE in this messageboard...

    I just wanted so say that if the engine had built-in terrain engine the mirroring would be done much faster (with a fake geometry duplication and clipping of underwater part). Now it causes a lot rendering state changes and some overdraw too.

    Brebion flavien

    September 28, 2001, 05:06 AM

    Looks pretty nice; the water looks a little too reflective for me; right now it's almost like a true mirror.

    As for performance, i tried it on a P3-500, 256 Mb RAM + GF2 and it ran pretty well; 15 fps worst case, 25 average and probably 40+ in good cases. I didn't really see any speed difference between the 4 scenes though..

    F. Brebion


    September 28, 2001, 05:11 AM

    I had to start the Demo twice before i could walk through the terrain.
    It looks very good, especially F12. But i think you got trouble with your memory. There are not so many Polygons and Texture, so that system has to do some hard work before it could end the demo. It take about 45 sek. And on the next Systemboot he told me that the boot partition is full and i have to restart. __very_strange__
    My System is a Dual PIII 450/ 396mb/ 96GB/ GF1 32mb i think enough for your demo.

    Keep up good work and solve your problems.


    September 28, 2001, 05:18 AM

    I have a 400MHz with GF2MX and it runs most games pretty well (including Black&White and many other modern games).
    If your game doesn't run smoothly on it i'll be disappoitned if i ever try it :)
    so shut up :)

    Andreas Magnusson

    September 28, 2001, 05:18 AM

    Yepp, it's probably because it's too cold in Finland so they can't go outside.
    I've heard they have icebears in the streets of Helsinki :).
    Seriously, I have great respect for the technology-knowledge among my finnish neighbours.
    Seems to be a nice engine btw, nice looking IOTD.

    Phil Carlisle

    September 28, 2001, 05:23 AM

    Reminds me of XIsle.. looks nice.

    So the landscape is generated? how do you add "solid" features such as buildings at a specific height?


    Babar Zafar

    September 28, 2001, 05:25 AM

    --rant mode on--

    Finland has a lot of good coders.

    But the only good game I've seen so far from my Finnish neighbours is Max Payne (Remedy) and Supreme Snowboarding by Housemarque.

    My country on the other hand (Sweden), has almost equal amount of 'good' coders - but a much bigger list of good games.

    BTW, Finnish guys - we kicked your ass in this years Finnkampen.

    --rant mode off--


    September 28, 2001, 05:55 AM

    Athlon 1.2Ghz, 512Mb ram, GF1 SDR - it ran, but not very fast...
    basicly it looks like an engine that has 3 functions :

    - DrawObject
    - DrawHeightmap
    - Cast vertical ray against heightmap.


    September 28, 2001, 06:14 AM

    HEY!! you forgot "I've got some balls" by Sebastian Aaltonen. That one really hooked me! =D and what about Liero?! =D

    Sebastian Aaltonen

    September 28, 2001, 06:36 AM

    Actually the engine has over 20000 rows of code on it... (that's not much, but enough).

    The engine in very complicated and has a lot of features. But the engine's user interface hides all this, and so it's very easy to use.

    - DrawObject

    True... But not so. The engine handles scenes, objects, meshes, textures, materials and different types of lights, helper objects, cameras etc. You can put objects on scenes, and render them with scene (scene->RenderScene, or scene->RenderSceneToTexture). Object uses mesh and mesh uses materials and material uses textures... You can share all these freely.

    Engine also supports all type of keyframe animation, keys include: position, rotation, scale, mesh, color, multiplier, cones, decay, target... for example position keyframes are used with objects, some lights (point, spot), some helpers (point,vector,box,sphere).

    And the material and texture handling is done so, that you can add maps to material like this:

    It may look like piece of cake, but there is a lot of code inside. But the user does not want to know what happens inside. Only that it's easy to use, and does what you want.

    - DrawHeightmap
    - Cast vertical ray against heightmap.

    The engine does not have a terrain engine as I said before. So terrain is made with basic objects and meshes (I don't know the amount and detail in them, because I don't work at Frozenbyte).

    But the engine has optimized collision routines for raycasting and other types of collisions. I don't know if Frozenbyte uses them, or has done some routines of their own that use their heightmap.

    Lauri Hyvärinen

    September 28, 2001, 08:41 AM

    We are releasing soon evaluation version from the Snowstorm 3D engine, so you guys can also test it. We will announce about it at our webpages at . The release date for evaluation version is soon.


    September 28, 2001, 08:43 AM

    Very nice stuff. Keep up the good work!


    September 28, 2001, 09:09 AM

    Sorry. I was a bit tired and didn't read your post very well (the end of it)

    I'm also aware that this kind of code may work with retail drivers on another hardware but on another crash or cause other undefined behaviour. (btw. NVidia seems to make decissions, even between driver versions, how picky they are for errors like this)


    September 28, 2001, 09:29 AM

    Mmmm... Lets not start a war but doesn't quality beat the amount ?-)
    I played Supreme Snowboarding about 5 times longer than Ground Control and Hitman.


    September 28, 2001, 10:10 AM

    Have you considered what type of game would bennefit from your engine?
    I thought about a tactical first person shooter, like a Delta force clone perhaps... Or perhaps some Black and White sort of game, as it is easy to alter the terrain.

    What do you aim at?


    September 28, 2001, 10:46 AM

    Hmm... I seem to be unable to run the demo on my setup. I get an error stating 'Error creating fullscreen device'. I imagine it has something to do with my dual displays - have you guys tested the engine with a multi-head system? I have a GF2 GTS as the primary display, and an ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon as the secondary - works fine for Quake3/Half-life/Max Payne/Etc. Any ideas?

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