Extreme Detail Graphics
An engine by Jan Svarovsky
At the GDC '99, I presented a revolutionary new progressive mesh-based engine by explaining the technologies used with some slides, two movies showing how portals work, and a longer movie taken from a run of the engine through a highly detailed scene.
Available for download here are the slides, some hi-resolution stills, and various compressed versions of the movies shown. Some files have been compressed with WinZip where this was useful. If you cannot view the files, try downloading MediaPlayer. Note that most of these files are quite large. This is an engine technology demo, so they have to be.
Please note that the engine is my own, rather than Bullfrog's or Mucky Foot's. Any questions, please contact me.
Jan joined Bullfrog in Fall '95 and wrote two of the first 3D accelerator conversions (VLB 3D Blaster Hi-Octane and Magic Carpet), then worked in R&D writing AI technology code for Theme Hospital PC and PlayStation and Syndicate Wars PlayStation, as well as experimental 3D engines and network code. He worked on two Bullfrog technology-led projects as sole or lead engine programmer, before joining Mucky Foot, again working on their graphics engine (which isn't this one).
Most first-person games are either set indoors or in the foggy outdoors. Apart from gameplay reasons, this is done to reduce the amount of scene that the engine has to render so that the visible parts can be more complex and interesting. In this new engine you can have a large complex scene visible with unrestricted viewing distance, without reducing the amount of small-scale detail and the number of objects in the world. Close-by flat surfaces are seen to be polygon meshes, objects are highly detailed and characters are well animated. The level of detail systems used give us a very scaleable engine, where extra hardware power can be soaked up with extra scene complexity rather than just yet higher screen resolutions. This presentation explains how it works and describes lots of game-development specific experiences implementing view-dependent and view-independent progressive meshes, scaleable procedural geometry, and varying resolution texture caching.