Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
GoatLord

The future: Voxels or polygons?

Recommended Posts

Faceted triangles are extremely useful for simulating most types of geometry. But one-dimensional points of a single color and light value (voxels) are sometimes used for mountain terrain and clouds, and can be useful if an object must be cross-sectioned, like a medical imaging scan. Triangulation has the limitation of creating shells of a single layer, while voxels can represent an object's entire solidity but are typically static. Which method will be more productive for future simulations in video games?

I personally believe that either a method will be developed that can allow for voxels to be animated as easily as polygon meshes, or a new type of rendering will be invented that encompasses the best features of voxels and triangles. Either way, I don't think we can use traditional rendering means for much longer, because the demand for detail and interaction may make it increasingly difficult to simulate using current methods.

Share this post


Link to post
GoatLord said:

or a new type of rendering will be invented that encompasses the best features of voxels and triangles.

Rage does something like that already, unless I'm understanding it wrong.

Share this post


Link to post

Fascinating article, and I learned a lot! But it points out the fundamental problem with voxels, which is animating them. That's what this thread is about. Will we eventually figure out how to animate voxels as easily as polygon meshes? Or we will have to develop an entirely new rendering technique?

Share this post


Link to post

Tomorrow's hypothetical ultra-realistic games will still mainly use polygon-based rendering. The notion that we'll have to move on to a new rendering technique as video games become more demanding on computer hardware implies that there's some ultra-efficient form of rendering that is yet to be developed. If there was, Carmack would have thought of it by now.

Then again, ellipsoids show a lot of promise.

mod edit: "abandonware" link removed

Share this post


Link to post
Technician said:

Has someone figured out voxels in Doom yet?

Yes.

Share this post


Link to post

I think that the technology involved in games has now greatly surpassed developers' abilities to do a good job developing for them. Unless the current paradigm of Halo-like story-driven linearity is abandoned, I don't see games doing anything but getting rounder, shinier, shorter, and easier.

Share this post


Link to post
AndrewB said:

I think that the technology involved in games has now greatly surpassed developers' abilities to do a good job developing for them. Unless the current paradigm of Halo-like story-driven linearity is abandoned, I don't see games doing anything but getting rounder, shinier, shorter, and easier.

Now that companies are outsourcing art and pre-fabs to foreign countries at a fraction of the coast, there really shouldn't be any problem creating a game with a story and killer mechanics.

Share this post


Link to post
DooMAD said:

Rage does something like that already, unless I'm understanding it wrong.

The sparse voxel octree is their next-gen technology. So yes, you're reading it wrong.

There is something voxels don't do very efficiently at all - animation. It's effectively the same problem as efficient video playback, except with an additional depth dimension to the already established width, height, and time dimensions. The polygon pipeline is so far ahead at the moment that any work on voxels will take a long time to get to the same degree of versatility - hence why the sparse octree is intended for virtualising terrain mesh in the same way megatexture virtualises the texture maps for the terrain.

Share this post


Link to post
Technician said:

Now that companies are outsourcing art and pre-fabs to foreign countries at a fraction of the coast, there really shouldn't be any problem creating a game with a story and killer mechanics.

I'd think making good mechanics has more to do with the developers not being braindead than having more money.

Plus, if developers can get assets for less that doesn't mean they'll get more money for themselves. More likely the savings will be stuck on the publisher's bank account. :/

Share this post


Link to post
GoatLord said:

But it points out the fundamental problem with voxels, which is animating them.

Too bad that when polygons first appeared they basically killed off all efforts to refine voxel tech. Commanche 3 still has IMO awesome terrain generation with its Voxelspace engine, comparable only with Magic Carpet and Extreme Assault.

Share this post


Link to post

You make it sound like polygons haven't been around forever and voxels aren't used in medical imaging software.

Share this post


Link to post

Voxels have been used in medical imaging for maybe 25 years, but polygons were around a couple decades before that, so I don't where Belial is getting his information.

Share this post


Link to post

All sorts of controversy being kicked up about this at the moment, mostly due to it being on the Minecraft developer's blog:



This video certainly makes it seem more credible than their official tech demo, but its legitimacy is yet to be proven beyond doubt. One could argue that it seems unlikely that one or two individuals could come up with a tech that could beat every major player in the business, but then this is a Doom forum, heh.

Share this post


Link to post

Am I the only one who can't stand the smugness dripping from the guy's voice?


Anyway, looking at their "unlimited details" demo, it seems that a large part of their tech relies on everything being the clone of everything else, so that the same object in memory can be used as reference for each object on the map. That makes the thousands upon thousands of elephant statues a lot less impressive.

Share this post


Link to post

We used to get a voxel thread on Doomworld every 6 months, it's been ages since the last one though. What happened there?

Would Elite count as having "polygons" or was that just some sort of point-based wireframe drawing thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Gez said:

Am I the only one who can't stand the smugness dripping from the guy's voice?

Yep. Same with a large chunk of the (now basically defunct) Brisbane game development scene. I did get talked to by him a few years ago whilst manning a Krome booth at some geek festival about this tech (I even recall asking him about sparse octrees at the time only to have him skirt around the issue), got back to work later that day and discovered he'd been doing the same to everyone he could meet in the games industry for a while.

Now, he's got $2mil from the Australian government, and a few really good programmers I know are working there. So hopefully it'll transform from easily-picked-apart technology to something useful.

Also:

deathbringer said:

Would Elite count as having "polygons" or was that just some sort of point-based wireframe drawing thing?

Elite counts. Unfilled polygons are still polygons. Certainly predates the usage of voxels in video games, so perhaps Belial should give a shit if he's going to try rewriting video game history.

Share this post


Link to post
DooMAD said:

This video certainly makes it seem more credible than their official tech demo, but its legitimacy is yet to be proven beyond doubt. One could argue that it seems unlikely that one or two individuals could come up with a tech that could beat every major player in the business, but then this is a Doom forum, heh.


That video IS a scam. No animation showcasing deformities (basic skeletal movement means dick, sorry), no dynamic lighting, no translucent objects, copypasted objects all around, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
GooberMan said:

Elite counts. Unfilled polygons are still polygons. Certainly predates the usage of voxels in video games, so perhaps Belial should give a shit if he's going to try rewriting video game history.

I was actually just wondering if old "polygon" games from the 80s and the like (for some reason all I can think of now is Corncob 3-d) were actually polygons of just filled vectors. I don't know if Elite is one of these games, because I never played it. Just looked at a couple screenshots, and I guess it is.

Share this post


Link to post
GooberMan said:

Elite counts. Unfilled polygons are still polygons. Certainly predates the usage of voxels in video games, so perhaps Belial should give a shit if he's going to try rewriting video game history.

Sorry, I'll never use Elite or Test Drive 3 and their vector graphics as an example of polygons.

Share this post


Link to post
Danarchy said:

I was actually just wondering if old "polygon" games from the 80s and the like (for some reason all I can think of now is Corncob 3-d) were actually polygons of just filled vectors.

A polygon is literally a plane with its surface defined by a series of vectors.

While you can point to pretty much any flight simulator in the 80's as an example of polygon graphics (and even versions of Elite, such as the Archimedes and Amiga ports), what is interesting is the Quadrascan technology used in Asteroids, Battlezone, Temptest, etc. It was literally a precursor to modern GPUs, the hardware accepted a list of points to draw to screen. Very easy to implement a hardware renderer for it these days in emulation (Game Room). Impossible to get it looking just like the arcade though as the monitor wasn't a traditional CRT and thus could produce an image brighter than anything we can do with modern monitors (or even old televisions).

Share this post


Link to post

Themoreyouknow.jpg

There's a reason I gave up my dreams of being a programmer while I was still learning BASIC. I mean, aside from the fact that I'm absolutely terrible at math.

Share this post


Link to post

Considering that real matter is made of voxels (atoms), I think that voxels are the future of rendering.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×