Archive for the ‘PIXEL’ Category

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Chromium is moving to GPU hardware accelerate rendering all types of web content as much as possibly with their latest efforts.

For some time now, there’s been a lot of work going on to overhaul Chromium’s graphics system. New APIs and markup like WebGL and 3D CSS transforms are a major motivation for this work, but it also lets Chromium begin to take advantage of the GPU to speed up its entire drawing model, including many common 2D operations such as compositing and image scaling. As a lot of that work has been landing in tip-of-tree Chromium lately, we figured it was time for a primer.

The primer they are looking at is not just rendering the content made in WebGL, CSS3 3d transformations and more but the entire final pass of the output.  This leads to some very interesting years ahead in browsers.  With Chromium, IE9, Firefox and Safari all now with aspects of hardware rendering and acceleration via the GPU, anyone not doing GPU acceleration is seemingly behind the curve that seemed to start in 2007ish to a culmination of today’s latest browsers.

After these layers are rendered, there’s still a crucial last step to blend them all onto a single page as quickly as possible. Performing this last step on the CPU would have erased most of the performance gains achieved by accelerating individual layers, so Chromium now composites layers on the GPU when run with the –enable-accelerated-compositing flag.

Web content will get really interesting over the next couple years.  Even basic computers now have a GPU and bottom of 32MB video memory.  Why aren’t we using those GPUs as much as possible for web content and web games. The time of software rendering might be coming to an end now that processors seem to have topped out and the bottom level computer is capable of handling a decent amount of video memory. It will be easier to justify useful graphics acceleration with a better user experience when we can take advantage of all the computer/device has to offer.

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Here is a video with more information on Silverlight 3 Beta features that are matches of the latest Flash killer features in pixel shaders, 3d planes (ability to create pseudo-3d engines like papervision3d), local saving, pixel operations/bitmap handling, local messaging (silverlight to silverlight – like localconnection), out of browser desktop running ability of SL3, SEO and search indexing capabilities / deep linking navigation and more.

Video of the features of SL3 Beta, Demos, at a Slow Pace from #mix09
Get Microsoft Silverlight

A few points after the video and taking a tour of the features.

The pixel shaders are written in HLSL (shader 2), however they are compiled to byte code and do not currently use the gpu for rendering. While the pixel shaders are very cool and the language to write them is standard pretty much for shaders in HLSL shader model 2 DirectX-based (the other is GLSL OpenGL based) they have not allowed this byte code to run on the GPU… yet. Here Flash and Pixel Bender actually are ahead there.

Although there are 3d planes which is very exciting, no good pseudo 3d engine exists yet matching the 3 in flash (papervision3d, away3d, sandy). When SL3 comes out I am sure we will see a few emerge or build them ourselves because this iteration of SL3 looks pretty fun.

Pixel based operations will be a huge advancement much like it was in earlier flash versions as it adds some demo scene type abilities and experiments with pixels that are fun.  This also lends to doing cool things like shaders, effects, AR, face recognition, motion detection etc.

Effects like Blur and Drop shadow are good and the ability to add custom ones, great. However currently they are pretty performance intensive.  They are also in Flash but there needs to be some refinement in SL3 effects before launch.

Desktop runnable apps in out of browser will be nice and this is a direct compete with Adobe AIR which was a surprise.

Local Communication supports desktop to browser communication.

Isolated storage (similar to shared objects) supports 1MB in browser, 25MB out of browser defaults.

This version of silverlight is really a 1.0 version as typical with most software.  Version 2 or version 3 is usually what the initial design goals pan out.  Much like the latest unity3d version (2.5) that has windows support and the iPhone SDK 3.0 that both came out this week, even actionscript 3 compared to earlier versions, these toolkits are finally iterated enough that they are really solid platforms for building cool stuff on and become platforms.  The next version of all these could be very, very dangerous.

Huge missing features:

Although there are some great features in SL3 beta, it is still not done and it is still missing some key components that Flash has which make it very attractive in the interactive space.

  • Camera and Microphone support - Macromedia hired one of the smartest dudes around in Jeremy Allaire back in flash 6 days to help add support for Flash Communication Server (Flash Media Server now) Camer and Microphone support.  One of the best R&D periods at Macromedia. SL needs this soon.
  • Printing support – what was long a problem in Flash is so in SL, there is no good printing support
  • No GPU usage for Pixel Effects/Shaders – (neither flash nor silverlight support hardware accelerated shaders in PixelEffects/Pixelbender – Pixel Effects/Shaders need GPU support (see Kevin Goldsmith’s article on GPU mixed with CPU and how this may or may not be good. However processors are speeding up and multi-core helps software rendering, the quality of GPU is well beyond what software rendering can deliver for a few years to come at least while architecture advances, probably more like 5-10 years.
  • No UDP plans yet - Adobe has RTMFP, SL sockets has no public plans for adding UDP that I have seen
  • No Alpha Channel in Video - You can do this with a shader though but not supported by default.

Silverlight 3 Video

Flash has the upperhand in video and probably will still even though SL3 has H.264.  Flash added this at the same time and though they still have FLV which revolutionized web video they are now much broader in support in video than SL3.  Silverlight has H.264 and VC1 support (their own FLV like codec).  Still pretty cool a couple years ago there was no HD on the web now everyone has it in H.264 video support.

Currently nothing innovative, mainly catchup still, but here are some options

Silverlight 3 beta and the video below the features and highlights will look very similar to flash and flash community advancements over the last couple years.  There is no innovation just yet.

But where that could happen is in socket support with UDP. Flash has moved on this in RTMFP and the beginning of larger scale networking support with UDP with samples like stratus.  This is a huge differentiating feature for what I think will be game changer on the web (it already is on desktop mmos) in real-time or closer to real-time support for larger sets of users in online games like MMOs or virtual communities, even tools to make request based real-time sites like micro-blogging faster and able to handle more users (right now it is very linear if users get many followers, UDP will allow a better distributed framework for messaging).

Local Storage

Silverlight and Unity3D all need this, Flash could use better support for this.  Local saving of a files for cache beyond the internet cache and greater than the 1MB/25MB limits of SL3 IsolatedStorage.  This is an issue when you are making large scale games in that you need to save lots of assets to a client but to make it economical you want ot save more than the default internet cache amount. Flash Shared Object (Local) allow you to do this somewhat but it would be great to have a way to just download files for cache (upon user agreement) to store assets in bulk of allowable types (images, video, models, bundles) to the file system.

Hardware rendering for 3d support and UDP support will put Flash and SL3 on par with the killer Unity3D kit for making online web games and other activex/plugins like instantaction that allow you to do these things already.

The one thing SL has over Flash

Flash and Flex are great. But there is this massive division in the community and marketing of Flash. Silverlight is entirely unified and this has much to do with starting clean at a time that interactive development is heading more into a technology and developers control. Flash and Flex need to bring it together. AS3 has been out long enough that the people with skills have hopped on and taken it to a new level, mainly from programmers. If Adobe created a version of Flash that was a new IDE and consolidated Flex and Flash into just Flash, made the IDE as powerful as FDT or FlashDevelop3 there could be hope to bring the platform together. I understand they had to work it in slowly because it was a designers platform really (even though coders still pushed the limits in games and apps built on it) so they had to tip toe carefully on this to not alienate people. But now I think the division is a serious problem with the platform and must be addressed, noone expected Silverlight to be this quick on at least SL3 features. And even though the initial approach might have been bad as SL1 was a huge letdown, Microsoft does not give up and you can see in the XBOX360 and DirectX that they are very pursuant. DirectX really didn’t become huge until version 7 so these guys won’t relent.

I am not a huge fan of using the proprietary tools. Even in Flash I use as much open source as I can even though the player is locked, but Moonlight is something that trails Silverlight development and is a very unique thing in both open source and cross platform/multiplatform development. It is a clear relationship and aims to make Silverlight run on multiplatform mono including Linux. This could win out in the end who knows.

Futures

Great iterations of software happened this week in the latest unity3d version (2.5) that has windows support and the iPhone SDK 3.0 and now SL3 is quite a surprise in feature set.

I have been really busy this week just delving into all them and hope to start making more cool and useful projects in them.  The best part is right now is great to be an interactive or game developer as all major software companies and markets are focused on retaining good developers.  I don’t’ recall a time other than the beginning the the web virtual land rush that has so many options and markets that skilled developers and designers can choose from.  Good times.

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

The interactive space is blowing up with releases of really good iterations of software.

Just this week the iPhone 3.0 SDK was announced and available for download for developers, Unity3D 2.5 was released with a windows development capability (was previously mac only) and now Silverlight 3 is making some waves as it was released at #MIX09 (with the Moonlight open source mono version hopefully not too far behind…).

There are a few things that piqued my interest in Silverlight 3 beta notes and that is hardware acceleration on video, 3d canvas and pixel effects (unclear if these are hardware accelerated like shaders or pixel bender) similar to filters and with the possibility to write effects similar to shaders or Adobe’s Pixel Bender pbx shaders.

  • Support for Higher Quality Video & Audio. With support for native H.264/Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) Audio, live and on-demand IIS7 Smooth Streaming, full HD (720p+) playback, and an extensible decoder pipeline, Silverlight 3 brings rich, full-screen, stutter-free media experiences to the desktop. New and enhanced media features in Silverlight 3 include:
    • Live and on-demand true HD (720p+) Smooth Streaming. IIS Media Services (formerly IIS Media Pack), an integrated HTTP media delivery platform, features Smooth Streaming which dynamically detects and seamlessly switches, in real time, the video quality of a media file delivered to Silverlight based on local bandwidth and CPU conditions.
    • More format choice. In addition to native support for VC-1/WMA, Silverlight 3 now offers users native support for MPEG-4-based H.264/AAC Audio, enabling content distributors to deliver high-quality content to a wide variety of computers and devices.
    • True HD playback in full-screen. Leveraging graphics processor unit (GPU) hardware acceleration, Silverlight experiences can now be delivered in true full-screen HD (720p+).
    • Extensible media format support. With the new Raw AV pipeline, Silverlight can easily support a wide variety of third-party codecs. Audio and video can be decoded outside the runtime and rendered in Silverlight, extending format support beyond the native codecs.
    • Industry leading content protection. Silverlight DRM, Powered by PlayReady Content Protection enables protected in-browser experiences using AES encryption or Windows Media DRM.
  • Empowering Richer Experiences. Silverlight 3 contains new 3D graphics, animation features, hardware accelerated effects and text improvements that enable designers and developers to create next generation Web visuals. Additional features include:
    • Perspective 3D Graphics. Silverlight 3 allows developers and designers to apply content to a 3D plane. Users can rotate or scale live content in space without writing any additional code. Other effects include creating a queue in 3D and transitions.
    • Pixel Shader effects. These software based effects include blur and drop shadow. In addition, you can also write your own effect. Effects can be applied to any graphical content. An example would be to make a button appear depressed on rollover you could use a drop shadow effect on the pressed visual state.
    • Bitmap Caching. Silverlight 3 dramatically improves the rendering performance of applications by allowing users to cache vector content, text and controls into bitmaps. This feature is useful for background content and for content which needs to scale without making changes to its internal appearance.
    • New Bitmap API. With Silverlight 3, developers can now write pixels to a bitmap. Thus, they can build a photo editor to do red eye correction, perform edits on scanned documents or create specials effects for cached bitmaps from elements on the screen.
    • Themed application support. Developers can now theme applications by applying styles to their Silverlight 3 applications and changing them at runtime. Additionally, developers can cascade styles by basing them on each other.
    • Animation Effects. Silverlight 3 provides new effects such as spring and bounce. These make animation more natural. Developers can also now develop their own mathematical functions to describe an animation.
    • Enhanced control skinning. Silverlight 3 provides easier skinning capabilities by keeping a common set of controls external from an application. This allows the sharing of styles and control skins between different applications.
    • Improved text rendering & font support. Silverlight 3 allows far more efficient rendering and rapid animation of text. Applications also load faster by enabling the use of local fonts.
  • Improving Rich Internet Application Productivity. New features include:
    • 60+ controls with source code : Silverlight 3 is packed with over 60 high-quality, fully skinnable and customizable out-of-the-box controls such as charting and media, new layout containers such as dock and viewbox, and controls such as autocomplete, treeview and datagrid. The controls come with nine professional designed themes and the source code can be modified/recompiled or utilized as-is. Other additions include multiple selection in listbox controls, file save dialog making it easier to write files, and support for multiple page applications with navigation.
    • Deep Linking. Silverlight 3 includes support for deep linking, which enables bookmarking a page within a RIA.
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Silverlight 3 enables users to solve the SEO-related challenges posed by RIAs. By utilizing business objects on the server, together with ASP.NET controls and site maps, users can automatically mirror database-driven RIA content into HTML that is easily indexed by the leading search engines.
    • Enhanced Data Support Silverlight 3 delivers:
      • Element to Element binding : UI designers use binding between two UI properties to create compelling UI experiences. Silverlight now enables property binding to CLR objects and other UI components via XAML, for instance binding a slider value to the volume control of a media player.
      • Data Forms. The Data Form control provides support for layout of fields, validation, updating and paging through data.
      • New features for data validation which automatically catch incorrect input and warn the user with built-in validation controls.
      • Support for business objects on both client and server with n-Tier data support. Easily load, sort, filter and page data with added support for working with data. Includes a new built-in CollectionView to perform a set of complex operations against server side data. A new set of .NET RIA services supports these features on the server.
    • Improved performance, through:
      • Application library caching, which reduces the size of applications by caching framework on the client in order to improve rendering performance.
      • Enhanced Deep Zoom, allows users to fluidly navigate through larger image collections by zooming.
      • Binary XML allows communication with the server to be compressed, greatly increasing the speed at which data can be exchanged.
      • Local Connection This feature allows communication between two Silverlight applications on the client-side without incurring a server roundtrip: for instance a chart in one control can communicate with a datagrid in another.
  • Advanced Accessibility Features. Silverlight 3 is the first browser plug-in to provide access to all system colors, allowing partially-sighted people to make changes such as high contrast color schemes for ease of readability by using familiar operating system controls.
  • Out of Browser Capabilities. The new out of browser experience in Silverlight 3 enables users to place their favorite Silverlight applications directly onto their PC and Mac, with links on the desktop and start menu—all without the need to download an additional runtime or browser plug-in. Further, the new experience enables Silverlight applications to work whether the computer is connected to the Internet or not—a radical improvement to the traditional Web experience. Features include:
    • Life outside the browser. Silverlight applications can now be installed to and run from the desktop as lightweight web companions. Thus, users can take their favorite Web applications with them, regardless of whether they are connected to the Internet or not.
    • Desktop shortcuts and start menu support. Silverlight applications can be stored on any PC or Mac computer’s desktop with links in the start menu and applications folder, and so are available with one-click access.
    • Safe and secure. Leveraging the security features of the .NET Framework, Silverlight applications run inside a secure sandbox with persistent isolated storage. These applications have most of the same security restrictions as traditional web apps and so can be trusted without security warnings or prompts, minimizing user interruptions.
    • Smooth installation. Because Silverlight applications are stored in a local cache and do not require extra privileges to run, the installation process is quick and efficient.
    • Auto-update. Upon launch, Silverlight applications can check for new versions on the server, and automatically update if one is found.
    • Internet connectivity detection. Silverlight applications can now detect whether they have Internet connectivity and can react intelligently including caching a users’ data until their connection is restored.

The great news is we have all major companies about software, mobile and the web are focused on interactive development. If you are an interactive developer with programming skills and design skills, this is the time.  Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, even Google with Chrome (javascript engine ineteractive focused), and others are all on development that suits needs and requires skills of people that know the interactive and web platforms and are able to develop the best solution with the best technology for that solution. The programming depth is getting deeper (Adobe’s Alchemy, Silverlight/Moonlight/Mono/C#/Unity3D) but the capabilities are growing exponentially with what you can do with these new markets.

There are so many new, emerging and re-newed market forces in interactive development that things are going to shake up a bit and there is plenty of opportunity no matter what platform you might be locked into.  However I recommend not locking yourself into one platform and exploring, but specializing in what you do best. There has never been a better time for developers looking to take the web to the next level with cooler game development visuals, more immersive virtual spaces and applications that have usabililty and design in new ways and mimic the great usable design of the iphone; for developers going mobile or specializing in web game development this is a good time to be in the game.

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Nicolas Cannasse is at it again.  This time with a PBJ (Pixel Bender File) binary file reader and writer in haXe and Pixel Bender Assembler tools. What this can do is create and decompile PBJ files with haXe, the possibilities are limitless to how this is used including dynamic pbj file creation.

The latest haXe file format library contains complete support to read and write PBJ file, enabling you to write Pixel Bender assembler directly in haXe, then compile it on-the-fly into PBJ bytes, which can then be saved on disk or loaded directly in Flash.

I plan to have much more on Pixel Bender (shaders in flash) and Adobe Alchemy (compile other languages to which is a very cool technology that involves LLVM that Nicolas also has lots of great input on.

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Jono is giving SWFZ to science and the open source devices.

The SWFZ engine is one Flash 3D engine that took a different approach. It is a bit early in its technique used but the author at custom:media Jono has decided to float the source code out there in ghost mode (no active development but not dead). It is just ready to branch and others to run with it. He is floating the source but I think in 1-2 years this will be the preferred method if processors and multicore parallel usage is optimized. We shall see.

The implementation method and difference with SWFZ engine in Flash for 3d is that is is a pixel based renderer or scanline. It is based on a really fun game engine called Irrlicht which has been pretty active for the last few years but is a C++ DirectX and OpenGL engine. Since SWFZ has to run in Flash and it is a pixel renderer/scanline it has some limitations currently in Flash. Games and renders have to be fast to pull this off and Flash is limited by the software renderer but as computers get multiple processors and flash player gets better at this then this will be a viable option (it is the same thing that limits Canvas based renderers right now). One main problem with this is you can’t go too full screen the biggest sizes that perform well are smaller windows 320×240 etc. But if the processors can handle it it is actually more efficient when it removes overlap, extra triangle drawing and painters algorithm like problems dont’ pop up (triangle overlap when on same plane). This method draws pixel by pixel but fast enough flash engines like Papervision, Sandy3D and Away3D draw overlaps due to the drawing technique, back to front.

But SWFZ still manages to pull off some amazing feats such as these demos

Quake Demo

Terrain Demo

Yoshis Hip Hop Couzin

Jono has put some great classes into SWFZ engine such as bsp parsers, quake md2 parsers, animated mesh, and lots of great examples in porting C++ Irrlicht to AS3. This was a very early example of how AS3 was fun for programmers to port stuff from C or C++ into Flash. AS3 is just fun. Also be sure to check the site for more samples like an FPS game, some basic ai etc.

Jono has been working on 3d in Flash for a while and actually this message is what shows the difference betweeen this approach and other flash engines the way Papervision, Sandy and Away3D (pv3d derivative) make 3d in flash fast enough (Painter’s Algorithm and drawing skewed movieclips and textures.

Demos

More about the Engine Some Notes

The SWFZ engine.

Overview:

SWFZ engine is the result of four years of me messing with 3D in Flash.

I was a complete newbie to 3D, so a lot of learning has happened to get to here.

If you’re interested in 3D engines check out the resource links at the bottom of the page:

The Demo:

Model

  • .md2 format from ID’s Quake2.
  • Uses frame based animation
  • Textured with jpeg
  • No lighting, No Gouraud Shading, just plain texture

Skybox

  • Textures are just jpegs.

Boxes

  • Rendering – Textured Gouraud , Textured Gouraud with Alpha, Textured Gouraud with Quick Alpha, Gouraud Shaded, and the large box is just Textured.
  • Star Texture – Targa (.tga) file format.

AS3 classes

  • 171 classes and interfaces

Scene

  • No lighting
  • No collision detection

SWFZ engine technology:

The demo only shows a small part of the capabilities of the engine. In the coming weeks I will get www.custommedia.co.nz up and running and start to post more info then.

Currently implement stuff:

New file formats supported

  • .tga – Targa Image
  • .bmp – Bitmap Image
  • .3ds – 3D Studio Max
  • .bsp – Quake3 levels
  • .md2 – Quake2 models
  • .obj – Wavefront 3d object (static)
  • .zip – Read from a zip archive (all in Flash, no server side scripts)

3D Rendering

  • mipmaps
  • perspective correct texturing + affine texturing
  • Flat shading
  • Gouraud
  • Textured Gouraud
  • Textured Flat
  • Textured Two Layers
  • Gouraud Alpha
  • Textured Flat Alpha
  • Textured Gouraud Alpha

3D Scene

  • Billboards
  • Parent, Child scene nodes
  • OctTree
  • Skybox
  • Static Meshes
  • Animated Meshes
  • Basic collision detection
  • Scene node animators

If any code is useful to you maybe drop him a donation or what would be nice if this was all setup at google code and used to be integrated into other engines. Irrlicht ports are fun and there is a future in this method when processors catch up I think.

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Nicolas Cannasse, a virtual machine genius (maker of MTASC compiler, Neko and haXe (haXe compiles to target flash 6-9 but really only flash 9 is used anymore unless you are making banners)) released the Physaxe 2D Physics kit for haXe today.

It is heavily based on Glaze (demos) and Box2D which the Motor2, Glaze and Box2DFlashAS3 physics kits are all based on. Box2D is a great C++ 2D physics engine, it is simple which lended itself to being ported to AS3 quite easily. It is also a testament to AS3 that C++ kits are being ported into the language, not once, but many times. Also C ports like Chipmunk and other signs point to == AS3 is of fun.

Physaxe is quite amazing you must see the demos (very similar to Glade demos), it will get the inspirational wheels turning in your idea machines.

2D Physics in Flash and AS3 are extremely hot and can be used for many, many things from game development to promotions to simulations to user interface or visualizations and even modeling natural systems. It is nice to have a port of Box2D and similar to glade capabilities with Chipmunk like Glade has.

A game and physics engine for Flash including:

  • Rigid Body Dynamics
  • Scene management
  • Line of sight
  • User Input
  • Scrolling
  • AI

Core parts of the physics solver and collision system are based on the C physics engine Chipmunk

Notes about Physaxe:

Physaxe is a 2D Rigid Body Library written in haXe. It’s been highly optimized for the Flash 9 Player, with the best optimizations available.

Physaxe is based on several existing physics engines, mainly :

  • Box2D, the reference open source physics engine
  • Glaze, an AS3 engine which is a port of Chipmunk, itself based on Box2D

Physaxe features are :

  • rigid body consisting in several shapes
  • shapes supported are circles, segments (with rounded edges) and arbitrary convex polygons
  • customizable broadphase (currently bruteforce and y-sorted list are available)
  • island resolution and sleeping (allow ~0 CPU to be spent when groups are sleeping)
  • constraint solver based on Box2D sequential impulses
  • customizable body properties, such as linear/angular friction and maximized motion

Updated list of physics engines are like this:

AS3 3D Physics Engines (Open Source)

AS3 2D Physics Engines (Open Source)

haXe 2D Physics Engines

Get your game on! It is best to get them out early and often. I need to take my own advice.

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Den Ivanov scored another “why didn’t I think of that” flash demos with extruding pixels into 3d with papervision.  He has some great samples and demos on his site about it.  Den Ivanov is a long time flasher and recent scores with Brahma bus (one of the coolest first papervision commercial projects) and the terrain generator.

This uses ExtrudeImage which does exactly what the class says.

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Forrest Briggs throwing down with a real-time raytracer in AS3. Also a C++ OpenGL version sample on the page.

Real-time pixel manipulation in flash is getting faster, but is still probably going to have to be faked in AS3, maybe AS4 will provide us per pixel speeds that Andre Michelle has been harping on since flash 8.5. Native operations can be much faster in that area. AIF might look to change some of that but that is Flash 10.

Here is the code for the as3 raytracer. Read more at laserpirate.

package
{
import flash.display.Sprite;
import flash.display.Bitmap;
import flash.display.BitmapData;
import flash.events.Event;
import flash.utils.getTimer;
import flash.events.MouseEvent;
import flash.text.TextField;
import flash.text.TextFormat;

public class RayTracer extends Sprite
{
 private var t:Number;
 private var dt:Number = .01;
 private var frameTimeTxt:TextField;

 public static const BUFFER_WIDTH:int = 160;
 public static const BUFFER_HEIGHT:int = 120;
 public static const BUFFER_SCALEDDOWN:int = 320 / BUFFER_WIDTH;

 public static const HALF_BUFFER_WIDTH:int = BUFFER_WIDTH / 2;
 public static const HALF_BUFFER_HEIGHT:int = BUFFER_HEIGHT / 2;

 private var outputBitmapData:BitmapData;
 private var outputBitmap:Bitmap;

 public var FOV:Number = 20;

 public var sphereCenterX:Array 	= [0,	0,		0, 		0];
 public var sphereCenterY:Array 	= [0, -.2,	.4, 		100.5];
 public var sphereCenterZ:Array 	= [4, 	4,		4, 		10];
 public var sphereRadius:Array 	= [.35, .35,	.25, 	100];
 public var sphereR:Array 		= [255,	0,		0,		20];
 public var sphereG:Array 		= [0, 	150,	0,		20];
 public var sphereB:Array 		= [0, 	0,		255,	20];
 public var sphereReflects:Array = [false, false, false, true];
 public var sphereReflectiveness:Array = [0,0,0,.3];
 public var sphere2dX:Array = new Array(sphereCenterX.length);
 public var sphere2dY:Array = new Array(sphereCenterX.length);
 public var sphere2dR:Array = new Array(sphereCenterX.length);

	public var numSpheres = sphereCenterX.length;

	var skyR:int =  20;
 var skyG:int =  20;
 var skyB:int =  20;
 var skyColor:int = (skyR< <16) + (skyG<<8) + skyB;
 var ambientIllumination:Number = .1;

	var canvas:BlankClip;

	var theta:Number = 0;
 var mouseIsDown:Boolean = false;
 var mouseDownTheta:Number = 0;
 var mouseDownX:Number = 0;

	public function RayTracer()
 {
 	outputBitmapData = new BitmapData(BUFFER_WIDTH, BUFFER_HEIGHT, false);
 	outputBitmap = new Bitmap(outputBitmapData);
 	addChild(outputBitmap);
 	//outputBitmap.smoothing = true;

		outputBitmap.width= 320;
 	outputBitmap.height = 240;

		canvas = new BlankClip;
 	addChild(canvas);
 	canvas.buttonMode = true;
 	canvas.useHandCursor = true;

		frameTimeTxt = new TextField();
 	frameTimeTxt.defaultTextFormat = new TextFormat("Arial");
 	frameTimeTxt.x = 8;
 	frameTimeTxt.y = 8;
 	frameTimeTxt.width = 640;
 	frameTimeTxt.textColor = 0xFFFFFF;
 	frameTimeTxt.selectable = false;
 	addChild(frameTimeTxt);

		t = 0;
 	addEventListener(Event.ENTER_FRAME, update, false, 0, true);

		canvas.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, mouseDownHandler);
 	canvas.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP, mouseUpHandler);
 }

	public function mouseDownHandler(e:*):void
 {
 	mouseIsDown = true;
 	mouseDownX = stage.mouseX;
 	mouseDownTheta = theta;
 }

	public function mouseUpHandler(e:*):void
 {
 	mouseIsDown = false;
 }

	public function update(e:*)
 {
 	// start frame timer and update global time
 	var timer:Number = getTimer();
 	t += dt;

		// handle mouse rotation
 	if( mouseIsDown ) theta = mouseDownTheta - .0015 * (stage.mouseX - mouseDownX);
 	theta += dt;

		// do some funky animation
 	sphereCenterX[0] = .5*Math.sin(theta*5);
 	sphereCenterZ[0] =1 + .5*Math.cos(theta*5);

		sphereCenterX[1] = .5*Math.sin(theta*5 + 2 * Math.PI / 3);
 	sphereCenterZ[1] = 1 + .5*Math.cos(theta*5 + 2 * Math.PI / 3);

		sphereCenterX[2] = .5*Math.sin(theta*5 + 4 * Math.PI / 3);
 	sphereCenterZ[2] = 1 + .5*Math.cos(theta*5 + 4 * Math.PI / 3);

		// reused variables
 	var x:int;
 	var y:int;
 	var i:int;
 	var j:int;

		var r:int;
 	var g:int;
 	var b:int;

		var dx:Number;
 	var dy:Number;

		var rayDirX:Number;
 	var rayDirY:Number;
 	var rayDirZ:Number;
 	var rayDirMag:Number;

		var reflectRayDirX:Number;
 	var reflectRayDirY:Number;
 	var reflectRayDirZ:Number;

		var intersectionX:Number;
 	var intersectionY:Number;
 	var intersectionZ:Number;

		var reflectIntersectionX:Number;
 	var reflectIntersectionY:Number;
 	var reflectIntersectionZ:Number;

		var rayToSphereCenterX:Number;
 	var rayToSphereCenterY:Number;
 	var rayToSphereCenterZ:Number;

		var lengthRTSC2:Number;
 	var closestApproach:Number;
 	var halfCord2:Number;
 	var dist:Number;

		var normalX:Number;
 	var normalY:Number;
 	var normalZ:Number;
 	var normalMag:Number;

		var illumination:Number;
 	var reflectIllumination:Number;

		var reflectR:Number;
 	var reflectG:Number;
 	var reflectB:Number;

		// setup light dir
 	var lightDirX:Number = .3;
 	var lightDirY:Number = -1;
 	var lightDirZ:Number = -.5;
 	var lightDirMag:Number = 1/Math.sqrt(lightDirX*lightDirX +lightDirY*lightDirY +lightDirZ*lightDirZ);
 	lightDirX *= lightDirMag;
 	lightDirY *= lightDirMag;
 	lightDirZ *= lightDirMag;

		// vars used to in intersection tests
 	var closestIntersectionDist:Number;
 	var closestSphereIndex:int;
 	var reflectClosestSphereIndex:int;

		// compute screen space bounding circles
 	//canvas.graphics.clear();
 	//canvas.graphics.lineStyle(1, 0xFF0000, .25);
 	for(i = 0; i < numSpheres; ++i)
 	{
 		sphere2dX[i] = (BUFFER_WIDTH / 2 + FOV * sphereCenterX[i] / sphereCenterZ[i]);
 		sphere2dY[i] = (BUFFER_HEIGHT /2 + FOV * sphereCenterY[i] / sphereCenterZ[i]);
 		sphere2dR[i] = (3 * FOV * sphereRadius[i] / sphereCenterZ[i]);
 		//canvas.graphics.drawCircle(sphere2dX[i]*BUFFER_SCALEDDOWN, sphere2dY[i]*BUFFER_SCALEDDOWN, sphere2dR[i]*BUFFER_SCALEDDOWN);
 		sphere2dR[i] *= sphere2dR[i]; // store the squared value
 	}

		// write to each pixel
 	outputBitmapData.lock();
 	for(y = 0; y < BUFFER_HEIGHT; ++y)
 	{
 		for(x = 0; x < BUFFER_WIDTH; ++x)
 		{
 			// compute ray direction
 			rayDirX = x - HALF_BUFFER_WIDTH;
 			rayDirY = y - HALF_BUFFER_HEIGHT;
 			rayDirZ = FOV;

				rayDirMag = 1/Math.sqrt(rayDirX * rayDirX + rayDirY * rayDirY +rayDirZ * rayDirZ);
 			rayDirX *= rayDirMag;
 			rayDirY *= rayDirMag;
 			rayDirZ *= rayDirMag;

				/// trace the primary ray ///
 			closestIntersectionDist = Number.POSITIVE_INFINITY;
 			closestSphereIndex = -1
 			for(i = 0; i < numSpheres; ++i)
 			{
 				// check against screen space bounding circle
 				dx = x - sphere2dX[i];
 				dy = y - sphere2dY[i];
 				if( dx * dx + dy * dy > sphere2dR[i] ) continue;

					// begin actual ray tracing if its inside the bounding circle

					lengthRTSC2 = 		sphereCenterX[i] * sphereCenterX[i] +
 									sphereCenterY[i] * sphereCenterY[i] +
 									sphereCenterZ[i] * sphereCenterZ[i];

					closestApproach =	sphereCenterX[i] * rayDirX +
 									sphereCenterY[i] * rayDirY +
 									sphereCenterZ[i] * rayDirZ;

					if( closestApproach < 0 ) // intersection behind the origin
 					continue;

					halfCord2 = sphereRadius[i] * sphereRadius[i] - lengthRTSC2 + (closestApproach * closestApproach);
 				if( halfCord2 < 0 ) // ray misses the sphere
 					continue;

					// ray hits the sphere
 				dist = closestApproach - Math.sqrt(halfCord2);
 				if( dist < closestIntersectionDist )
 				{
 					closestIntersectionDist = dist;
 					closestSphereIndex=i;
 				}
 			}
 			/// end of trace primary ray ///

				// primary ray doesn't hit anything
 			if( closestSphereIndex == - 1)
 			{
 				outputBitmapData.setPixel(x, y, skyColor);
 			}
 			else // primary ray hits a sphere.. calculate shading, shadow and reflection
 			{
 				// location of ray-sphere intersection
 				intersectionX = rayDirX * closestIntersectionDist;
 				intersectionY = rayDirY * closestIntersectionDist;
 				intersectionZ = rayDirZ * closestIntersectionDist;

					// sphere normal at intersection point
 				normalX = intersectionX - sphereCenterX[closestSphereIndex];
 				normalY = intersectionY - sphereCenterY[closestSphereIndex];
 				normalZ = intersectionZ - sphereCenterZ[closestSphereIndex];
 				normalX /= sphereRadius[closestSphereIndex]; // could be multiply by precacluated 1/rad
 				normalY /= sphereRadius[closestSphereIndex];
 				normalZ /= sphereRadius[closestSphereIndex];

					// diffuse illumination coef
 				illumination = 	normalX * lightDirX +
 								normalY * lightDirY +
 								normalZ * lightDirZ;

					if( illumination < ambientIllumination )
 					illumination = ambientIllumination;

					/// trace a shadow ray ///
 				var isInShadow:Boolean = false;
 				for(j = 0; j < numSpheres; ++j)
 				{
 					if( j == closestSphereIndex ) continue;

						rayToSphereCenterX = sphereCenterX[j] - intersectionX;
 					rayToSphereCenterY = sphereCenterY[j] - intersectionY;
 					rayToSphereCenterZ = sphereCenterZ[j] - intersectionZ;

						lengthRTSC2 = 		rayToSphereCenterX * rayToSphereCenterX +
 										rayToSphereCenterY * rayToSphereCenterY +
 										rayToSphereCenterZ * rayToSphereCenterZ;

						closestApproach =	rayToSphereCenterX * lightDirX +
 										rayToSphereCenterY * lightDirY +
 										rayToSphereCenterZ * lightDirZ;
 					if( closestApproach < 0 ) // intersection behind the origin
 						continue;

						halfCord2 = sphereRadius[j] * sphereRadius[j] - lengthRTSC2 + (closestApproach * closestApproach);
 					if( halfCord2 < 0 ) // ray misses the sphere
 						continue;

						isInShadow = true;
 					break;

					}

					/// end of shadow ray ///

					if( isInShadow ) illumination *= .5;

					/// trace reflected ray ///
 				if( sphereReflects[closestSphereIndex] )
 				{
 					// calculate reflected ray direction
 					var reflectCoef:Number = 2 * (rayDirX * normalX + rayDirY * normalY + rayDirZ * normalZ);
 					reflectRayDirX = rayDirX - normalX * reflectCoef;
 					reflectRayDirY = rayDirY - normalY * reflectCoef;
 					reflectRayDirZ = rayDirZ - normalZ * reflectCoef;

						closestIntersectionDist = Number.POSITIVE_INFINITY;
 					reflectClosestSphereIndex = -1
 					for(j = 0; j < numSpheres; ++j)
 					{
 						if( j == closestSphereIndex ) continue;

							rayToSphereCenterX = sphereCenterX[j] - intersectionX;
 						rayToSphereCenterY = sphereCenterY[j] - intersectionY;
 						rayToSphereCenterZ = sphereCenterZ[j] - intersectionZ;

							lengthRTSC2 = 		rayToSphereCenterX * rayToSphereCenterX +
 											rayToSphereCenterY * rayToSphereCenterY +
 											rayToSphereCenterZ * rayToSphereCenterZ;

							closestApproach = 	rayToSphereCenterX * reflectRayDirX +
 											rayToSphereCenterY * reflectRayDirY +
 											rayToSphereCenterZ * reflectRayDirZ;

							if( closestApproach < 0 ) // intersection behind the origin
 							continue;

							halfCord2 = sphereRadius[j] * sphereRadius[j] - lengthRTSC2 + (closestApproach * closestApproach);
 						if( halfCord2 < 0 ) // ray misses the sphere
 							continue;

							// ray hits the sphere
 						dist = closestApproach - Math.sqrt(halfCord2);
 						if( dist < closestIntersectionDist )
 						{
 							closestIntersectionDist = dist;
 							reflectClosestSphereIndex=j;
 						}
 					} // end loop through spheres for reflect ray

						if( reflectClosestSphereIndex == - 1) // reflected ray misses
 					{
 						r = sphereR[closestSphereIndex] * illumination;
 						g = sphereG[closestSphereIndex] * illumination;
 						b = sphereB[closestSphereIndex] * illumination;

						}
 					else
 					{
 						//trace("ref hit");
 						// location of ray-sphere intersection
 						reflectIntersectionX = reflectRayDirX * closestIntersectionDist + intersectionX;
 						reflectIntersectionY = reflectRayDirY * closestIntersectionDist + intersectionY;
 						reflectIntersectionZ = reflectRayDirZ * closestIntersectionDist + intersectionZ;

							// sphere normal at intersection point
 						normalX = reflectIntersectionX - sphereCenterX[reflectClosestSphereIndex];
 						normalY = reflectIntersectionY - sphereCenterY[reflectClosestSphereIndex];
 						normalZ = reflectIntersectionZ - sphereCenterZ[reflectClosestSphereIndex];

							normalX /= sphereRadius[reflectClosestSphereIndex]; // could be multiply by precacluated 1/rad
 						normalY /= sphereRadius[reflectClosestSphereIndex];
 						normalZ /= sphereRadius[reflectClosestSphereIndex];

							// diffuse illumination coef
 						reflectIllumination = 	normalX * lightDirX +
 												normalY * lightDirY +
 												normalZ * lightDirZ;

							if( reflectIllumination < ambientIllumination )
 							reflectIllumination = ambientIllumination;

							r = sphereR[closestSphereIndex] * illumination + .5 * sphereR[reflectClosestSphereIndex] * reflectIllumination;
 						g = sphereG[closestSphereIndex] * illumination + .5 * sphereG[reflectClosestSphereIndex] * reflectIllumination;
 						b = sphereB[closestSphereIndex] * illumination + .5 * sphereB[reflectClosestSphereIndex] * reflectIllumination;
 						if( r > 255 ) r = 255;
 						if( g > 255 ) g = 255;
 						if( b > 255 ) b = 255;

						}  // end if reflected ray hits

					} /// end if reflects
 				else // primary ray doesn't reflect
 				{
 					r = sphereR[closestSphereIndex] * illumination;
 					g = sphereG[closestSphereIndex] * illumination;
 					b = sphereB[closestSphereIndex] * illumination;
 				}

					outputBitmapData.setPixel(x, y, (r<<16) + (g<<8) + b);

				} // end if primary ray hit
 		} // end x loop
 	} // end y loop
 	outputBitmapData.unlock();

		// compute FPS
 	var fps:Number = 1.0/((getTimer() - timer) / 1000.0);
 	frameTimeTxt.text = "Drag to rotate. FPS: " + int(fps);
 }

}
}
Friday, March 21st, 2008

I was messing with water effects and Perlin Noise (sandy3d) and some other stuff and collected some water effects and simulations that are fluid like for research, a snapshot of the state of fluid and water effects in 3d in flash.

Ralph Hauwert, of course one of the original pv3d team members, posted some great samples on water effects on 3d objects in Papervision 3D. Of course the papervision list spawned this discussion from another great post on water simulation in papervision and away3d by Exey Panteleev .

Also, some other water like effects from Fabrice Closier and the notorious mrdoob.

Ralph’s Water Effect Demos:

Hey look, the water ball is smiling at you.

Exey Panteleev’s Water Simulation:

Some other Water Like Fluid Effects:

Water is hard in flash. Fluid dynamics will probably have to be cheated but it is still looking pretty good. The amount of processor usage depends on how real you want it to look.

If you are looking to make some agua, with x, the y AND the z in Flash or Flex, these are a good place to start.

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Great news! Polygonal Labs has released the long awaited Motor Physics engine. It is now called Motor2.

UPDATE: Now hosted at Google code

Project hosted at code.google.com/p/motor2
License: New BSD License

After the port of Box2DFlashAS3 appeared the fate of Motor Physics engine was unknown. But with time and just before the stroke of midnight on the final hour of 2007 Michael Baczynski released Motor2 2D physics engine on the world.

This now gives us, count them, FOUR AS3 Physics engines that were released in 2007 in order of release.

Be sure to check the demos of Motor Physics:

To get the source head on over to the blog and in the post it is in the first para.

Currently you can get the source for the preview here.

Polygonal always has such great information and demo write ups the source link gets lost in there. Hopefully this will be at Google code soon or a public SVN. The code looks great and there are optimizations in there but even those are elegant.

With 3 excellent flash as3 3d engines (papervision3d, away3d, sandy), 4 physics engines, lots of great utilities like FZip or ASZip, AlivePDF, Red5, haXe etc etc. 2008 is looking like it will be a great year for performance, optimization and gaming/app platforms on the web like never before seen. I am most looking forward to the coming gaming market for flash, lots of possibilities. With the added competition from Silverlight, much innovation will happen here.

It is great that Motor2, which has a great author and dedicated to performance has joined the physics engine scene, not only that posting on new years eve. Thanks to all that make the flash platform possible of creating excellent new fun and useful tools.

UPDATE: Now hosted at Google code

Project hosted at code.google.com/p/motor2
License: New BSD License