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Submitted by Jeff Russell, posted on March 01, 2005

Image Description, by Jeff Russell

The basic concept is this: create a regular 2.5D zone style map editor (very much like those used with Doom or Marathon), and trick it out with point and ambient light sources, give it an interactive preview mode for applying materials, call it ChopChop, and post shots of it on flipcode IOTD.

The result is an engine which by nature of its geometric and logical simplicity is GPU bound to an almost ridiculous extent. This leaves a lot of room for all sorts of cool rendering effects; the current checklist is as follows:
  • Per pixel Omni and spotlighting
  • 4 Levels of adjustable specular complexity, including specular masking
  • Per pixel environment reflection
  • Per pixel refraction
  • Glow / Bloom effect
  • Stencil Shadow Volumes
  • 3 Levels of adjustable shader detail
  • Parallax Mapping (in progress)
  • The Editor GUI was created using Objective-C and apple's interface builder, while the core engine is written in C++/OpenGL to maintain some semblance of portability. The top two shots show the preview mode where you can apply materials and adjust lighting in real time, the bottom shot is of course the top down schematic. The large circles represent light radii, and the thick green lines denote zone borders. Each zone is given a floor and a ceiling height - and thats it. It has really become quite an effective tool for producing levels very quickly; the level pictured here took me about 10 minutes to make. The only pre-calculation that is performed is level visibility, which generally takes < 1 second even for large levels, so switching between instant w.y.s.i.w.y.g. editing and the schematic view is quite painless. Even fun...

    There's a bit more info here:

    Jeff Russell
    Iowa State University

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    Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active.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 Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

    March 01, 2005, 12:19 PM

    What kind of visibility determination are you using? Standard BSP-based portals, or something else?

    Joiey Seeley

    March 01, 2005, 03:32 PM


    What's up my fellow Iowan? It's good to see I'm not the only one from our great corn state!

    It looks like you are doing some really excellent work there. Are you enrolled, or previously enrolled, in the game design course/s there at ISU?

    For good measure though; you know the Cyclones are going down to the Hawks again next year. It is destiny...


    March 01, 2005, 03:59 PM

    Go Cyclones!

    This is fine work, I admire the simplicity greatly.

    Chad Austin

    March 01, 2005, 04:21 PM

    Glad to see you finally submitted it, Jeff. :)

    (Where'd all the Iowans come from?)

    Joe Spazuh

    March 01, 2005, 04:35 PM

    whoa spazuh! very impressive and useful. what are your plans on releasing it?

    This thread contains 5 messages.
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