Graphical effects that were ahead of their time

Discussion in 'Rendering Technology and APIs' started by OCASM, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. OCASM

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    Let's start with a nice one from Team ICO:



    The difference with pretty much every other screen space god ray implementation is that what is being simulated here is light scattering inside a camera not in the atmosphere which honestly makes FAR more sense for a screen space effect.

    Too bad it's rarely used in the game (the semi-fixed camera angles don't help either).

    Apparently it was going to be used in SotC (as per NICO's prototype video below) but the final game doesn't have a sun :/

     
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  2. Pixel

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    Precursor to tessellation in Messiah by Shiny/Interplay

    [​IMG]

    Here Dave Perry talks about the engine including momentary thoughts of patenting the technology which were shot down by rest of the team
    https://dperry.com/2003/03/17/messiah_what_yo/
     
    #2 Pixel, Dec 10, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
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  3. Davros

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    #3 Davros, Dec 10, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  4. Davros

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    Other graphical effects ahead of their time were due to voxels
    afaik first used in comanche maximum overkill from 1992
    and possibly most impressive in outcast
     
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  5. OCASM

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    Somebody on reddit brought to my attention that Halo CE also has screen space god rays_

     
  6. Laa-Yosh

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    As interesting as the tech was, you are actually wrong - this was not about progressively adding detail, but removing it instead! It was indeed similar to Intel's MRM, but as far as I know it was custom tech, and actually quite limited in its implementation too.

    As I remember it kinda worked like this:
    - build a highres character model
    - create several cylinders and fit their vertices on top the character model (like, 1 for the torso, 1 for each limb, maybe even 1 for individual fingers)
    - possibly, mark important vertices that should be kept for as long as possible
    - the system would then progressively decimate vertices from the cylinders at run time, depending on CPU load

    Intel's tech was more advanced in that you haven't had to do the cylinder stuff, it could work on arbitrary meshes. I think the cylinder part was related to skeletial skinning.

    All in all this has proven to be a dead end though. Discrete LODs are much more efficient at reducing detail, and tessellation is also better for multi-res models (although it also has its drawbacks).


    Edit: I also have to mention Sacrifice, which was a super crazy FPS action-RTS hybrid that has probably used a more advanced version of this tech. The highly "stylized" (trippy) visuals were also fitted to make the most out of it.
    [​IMG]
     
    #6 Laa-Yosh, Dec 12, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
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  7. Laa-Yosh

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    Voxels were actually just one part of Outcast's advanced graphics tech. There was a lot of stuff, implemented in software rendering, that was pretty rare not just in its time but also in general.

    As far as I remember they had stuff like:
    - projected shadows
    - bump mapping (although it has only worked on objects that were facing upwards - as soon as you flipped them vertically, the bumps became inverted :) )
    - water with variable reflectivity and procedural ripples
    - a form of post-process AA (or perhaps edge smoothing to be more proper)
    - procedural footprints

    And possibly even more. Again, this had nothing to do with using voxels for the terrain, but with the use of a software renderer. I think a lot of these relied on using a Z-buffer.

    Also, they had some tricks with their voxel terrain where they could shift entire blocks of it upwards or downwards, thereby increasing the range of height without sacrificing precision or using too much memory. They also had voxel filtering to make the terrain less blocky.

    It was a really advanced software renderer, and while it was another tech dead end, it offered some truly unique and outstanding visuals.
     
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  8. OCASM

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    Another one from Team ICO. Due to its implementation, bloom tends to look a lot like light scattering in haze/fog, not inside the camera as it should. Objects far in the distance look darker and blurry. The halo around the colossus, an artifact of blurry buffer used, ends up looking like volumetric ambient occlusion. The frame blending (ghosting) is the cherry on top that smooths out artifacts from the transition of making the camera look into the sky or away from it.

    [​IMG]


    One of the best places in the game to appreciate it is this arena:



    Another great one. Fog, dark background silhouettes and heavy bloom:



    Team ICO realized this and that's why particle effects take advantage of it. At 0:36 when the cloud of dirt fills the screen they increase the blending of the blurry bloom texture which once again looks like heavy light scattering. It's hard to see but the geysers also have the effect (2:20-2:40 is a good time to pay attention).

    From 1:36 to 1:40 we can see the dust cloud blurring the background:


    Another great example at 2:55:


    At 1:40 it doesn't make any sense to have bloom there but that's not the intention. It's not supposed to look like bloom but like fog:


    It's one of those effects that pretty much all realistic looking games should have but for some reason none does.
     
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  9. OCASM

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    Not only does it work great for mimicking complex fog, it's perfect for murky water as well:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. idsn6

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    Shrek was a 2001 launch game for the original Xbox with a fully deferred shading renderer.
     
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  11. Pixel

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  12. OCASM

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  13. Rootax

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    I remember the water visuals and physics of Wave Race 64. I still wonder how they did it with such hardware...
     
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  14. Davros

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  15. milk

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    These guys that think they understand tech, trying to explain tech, saying Thousands of inacuracies along the way are painful.
     
  16. Davros

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    what inacuracies ?
    take the first game when they say first game to feature dynamic shadows are they wrong ?
    game 2 far cry first game procedural breakage are they wrong
    ect
    I dont know if they are correct but if you think they are wrong tell us why
     
  17. idsn6

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    I skipped through the video and everywhere I stopped was wrong. He says that prior to 1999 the only shadows were blobs, which is laughable given how many games had projected shadows before then. He thinks the first game with polygons came out in 1995; that is not only after the launch of the Playstation, but years after polygonal arcade games and early 3D games on the PC, like MechWarrior. He appears to believe not only that Quake III rendered curved surfaces directly, but that it was the first to do so and that games like Ecstatica never existed.

    This video is a universal waste of time.
     
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  18. Dictator

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    Great idea for a thread OCASM!

    One graphical effect that I think was ahead of its time were the volumetric light sources in F.E.A.R. (2005)
    [​IMG]
    There are a number of them scattered about the game and they seem to be a raymarched type. Anyone know of any game before this one that had non-screen space / real volumetric lighting / shadowing like the above?
     
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  19. Lefungus

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    My presence was summoned here by pronoucing the word Ecstatica
    [​IMG]
    I completely forgot this game !
     
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  20. hoom

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    Imperium Galactica 3 demo.
    So old it was sponsored by Matrox Parhelia (March 2002)

    All the lens flares! <3
    Beam weapons, glows, particles, self shadowing (also asteroid shadows affected ship lighting), progressive & I believe location specific damage texture/decals, I think was one of the earliest PC bump mapping implementations available for those with the hardware.

    Technically Dx8.1 but its my understanding it was nearly all Dx7 with 8.1 mainly only used for the bump-mapping, maybe shadows.

    Game eventually came out several years later as Nexus: The Jupiter Incident.

    Incredibly the demo still runs mostly fine on my modern Win10, Rx480 setup :runaway:
    And it still looks amazing :happy2:
    From recollection the bumpmapping was tied to Dx8.1hardware so the ship surfaces don't render properly anymore, shadows too & sadly resolution is limited to 1024*768 max.
     
    #20 hoom, Feb 17, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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