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GoatLord

Finally, some animated voxels!

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There have been a few threads in the past about the "Unlimited Detail" videos which showcase a detailed but static world of voxels. That was the ultimate drawback; the fact that animating a voxel data set was either impossible or would look extremely glitchy. This video is remarkable in that it demonstrates a character made out of voxels, engaged in walking routine which looks as good as it would have as a triangulated mesh. This is exciting and shows promise for the use of voxels in future video games and computer animation in general.

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GoatLord said:

the fact that animating a voxel data set was either impossible or would look extremely glitchy.

...no. As discussed over and over in those threads, it's that it was effectively the same problem as 2D digital motion video but with n times the amount of data (where n is the depth of the voxel soup).

This video (which you didn't post properly, remove the &related part from your link) shows a method where the author has applied traditional poly skinning to a voxel soup by assigning weights to each voxel in the same way weights would be assigned to a vertex.

Of course, the problem then is that the voxel is not in the same location in that octree that it originally was. His solution? Worry about it at render time. The culling of the tree quite simply isn't as efficient as it should be because each node is skinned at rendertime before deciding whether to continue traversing the octree at that point or not. This basically eliminates one of the advantages of using an octree to represent a voxel soup - simple frustum culling is now out of the question.

So, as a proof of concept? Cool. As a usable piece of tech? Still has a way to go.

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That could be an untextured polygonal object, for all we know.

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Could be. The source is freely available though, and since the video's half a year old I'm sure bullshit would have been called already if it were.

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Well...it did show an increase in FPS with scaling it down which would be consistent with an octree-based detail shifting.

Considering that in order to make it displayable and texturable by current hardware (with acceleration) it will eventually have to be converted to polygons in the end, surely using less voxels as the basis for the displayed mesh is a Good Thing (I guess).

Of course, the day where they'll start building graphics hardware that has built-in voxel primitives and facilities, then we'll see.

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Posting just because I'm expected to be present whenever people are talking about voxels.

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You can tell when he zooms in to the creature that it's an architecture of voxels.

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It was written in CUDA, which means it can bypass the current-standard polygon pipeline to render the voxels natively on hardware. It's one of the advantages of using a GPGPU library. I'm waiting for the day when new hardware ditches the polygon pipeline entirely and implements it in GPGPU software. It'd probably perform a little slower than the current pipeline, but it's the way forward.

The GPGPU capabilities of the next generation of games consoles will dictate exactly how viable voxel technology is in the foreseeable future. It can certainly be used successfully right now with certain limitations (ie Crysis, which uses a heightmap and voxel capping features that are both converted to polygons) but any development with voxels is effectively a gamble for all but the PC development crowd at the moment. Or, in this case, the basis for a thesis. Hooray for academia.

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