New Version of Magnum out

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Monday, January 2. 2006 • Category: OpenGL

It's already some months since the last demo for Magnum has been published. Unfortunately a real new demo is not ready yet (I am even not working on any), but the library has been extended by many new features including

  • Transparency support

  • Picking

  • New input methods for VR devices like the P5 Glove

  • Camera Layers

  • many bugfixes and improvements

Most of the work is behind the scenes, but the biggest new feature probably is picking, which is not only implemented in the model classes, but also in the scene3d universe class which enables effcient culling of nodes that cannot be hit by the pick-ray.

You can download the newest version of Magnum here and the newest test can be found here.

New OpenGL Extension: EXT_packed_depth_stencil

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Thursday, October 27. 2005 • Category: OpenGL
A new OpenGL specification for an extension has been finished by the "ARB superbuffers workgroup". The new extension called EXT_packed_depth_stencil is about a hardware-native format that handeles the depth-buffer and stencil buffer in one interleaved buffer. This extension allows to read from/write to such an combined depth/stencil buffer with one function call instead of two plus no conversion of the data is needed any more, which in turn should speed up such operations. Plus this new packed data format can be used together with the EXT_framebuffer_object extension which allows an application to render directly to a texture.

Currently I don't need this extension myself, but it is important to all those people out there who wanted to render to a texture using the stencil buffer - this was not possible on many consumer level graphics cards due to the lack of an appropriate render target format.

Finally - a new demo.

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Tuesday, September 6. 2005 • Category: OpenGL
Finally I decided to publish a new demo together with the current version of magnum, although the scene graph is still not in a working condition. But there are so many new features and bugfixes that I thought it would be a good time to release at least something.

The demo itself is using the long awaited EXT_framebuffer_object extension from OpengGL for creating cubemaps for the reflections of each sphere rendered.

But there are so many new features in magnum, including new model loaders (LWO, MD2, MD3, MDS, PLY, OBJ), vertex and bone/skeleton animations (finally!) plus a lot of small changes and additions that make life easier. Some more demos coming soon, including animations!

On Quaternions and more...

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Monday, September 5. 2005 • Category: OpenGL
One important mathematical object for animating 3d graphcis objects are the so called quternions. It is not easy for beginners to understand the idea behind quaternions and why they work better than Euler angels. But for those interested in this subject I found to nice links, the first goes to a general geometry and graphics page which inculdes many other interesting tidbits: EuclideanSpace - building a 3D world.

The second link called Understanding Slerp, Then Not Using It is a rant about the important slerp operation. Here the author points out that slerp may be a very precise interpolation but that it is overkill for most applications and a much simpler normalised linear interpolations will do the job just as good.

So you can expect a new release of magnum soon which will include a lot of new features and more importers (PLY, LWO, MDS, MD2, MD3) plus vertex animations and skinned bone animations. So I haven't been lazy during the last weeks, but there are still some small things missing plus the scene graph module is defunct at the moment.


Huge 3d models

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Monday, August 8. 2005 • Category: OpenGL
I was looking for some big 3d models for some performance test, and I found the The Stanford 3D Scanning Repository which includes the original data sets of some popular 3d models, which range from medium (the Stanfort Bunny with 69451 triangles) to huge (the Stanfort Lucy with 28,055,742 triangles). So if you want to stress any 3d algorithm, these models might come in handy.

Crippeled OpenGL in Windows Vista?

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Sunday, August 7. 2005 • Category: OpenGL
Currently there are some rumors at the disccusion forum of about the OpenGL architecture in the next Windows release called "Windows Vista". They state that Microsoft will only provide a wrapped OpenGL 1.5 that sits on top of DirectX 9. This would mean degraded performance plus the end of the simple exntension system for OpenGL - with other words, Microsoft is going to kill OpenGL on Windows. And that in turn would probably kill OpenGL on most other platforms as most companies wouldn't care to port their software from Windows DirectX to OpenGL any more.

For some more information, you can browse these Microsoft Winhec slides:

"Windows Graphics Overview [WinHEC 2005; 171 KB]"

"Advances in Display and Composition Architecture for Windows [WinHEC 2005; 422 KB]"

You can follow the discussion here.

Let us hope that either these rumours turn out to be false or that Microsoft is willing to change their strategy.

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