Unlimited Detail Technology

  • I know there was another topic for this, but I can't find it, so screw it.

    A year ago, Unlimited Detail Technology was demonstrated as a variant of point-cloud/voxel technology, with the purpose of increase visual detail by a sheer magnitude. There was, of course, skeptics. And then the project seemed to disappear right off the map.

    Then it turns out that the project received a Commercialisation Australia Grant of $1,984,652 back in May - meaning it's being backed by the Australian Government, and we WILL see something tangible out of the whole thing at some point.

    And then the developers just released a new video, which is VASTLY improved over their previous showings.

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    While there isn't any animation shown (but the vid description does confirm that there is animation), they've developed tools to be able to convert polygon models to point-cloud data. And among the objects in the demonstration, are models created from scanning real-life objects without modification to the results, except when to take bits and pieces of real-life objects to build even larger models.

    Oh, yeah, and the whole thing is running in goddamn software rendering. At 20 FPS, but still. According to the devs, this tech should be able to run on just about anything. We'll see. But this would be goddamn amazing if it could be run on a 3DS. If they succeed, Nintendo is in the best position to benefit from this tech.

    In any case, it's still too early to call 'real or fake', but the whole "government grant" thing makes me lean towards "we're gonna get something sweet". As expected, there's a Youtube comment argument over it. They might have to get someone else to narrate the next vid, though, this fella ain't particularly suited to it.

  • What's wrong with the narration? I like it quite a bit!

    But the engine, oh my... this surely will mean a revolution in computer graphics if any of the claims are true. Which I don't really doubt atm, but I'll have to wait to experience it for myself.

    So get this done already, wanna play in the "real" world!

  • Hold your horses! That video is quite old, or only slightly improved from the one I saw over a year ago. There is a lot of hyperbole around this engine, mainly due to the way the narrators pitch it.

    I'm hugely sceptical about it.

    Check out hacker news on this, the comments are very enlightening:

    http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2835383

    offeemug 7 hours ago | link

    I think what they're doing is great, but I see two problems with their presentation. First, computer rendering techniques are extremely well understood and well researched. We've picked the low hanging fruit, much of the high hanging fruit, and everything in between. There is no "groundbreaking new technology" to be invented. They're converting polygons into voxels (although each voxel is probably a sphere for cheaper computation), and using software ray-tracing to render in real time. Since ray-tracing is trivially parallelizable, the multicore technology is just about there now. A 12-core machine will give just about 20FPS. The reason why they can get away with an incredible amount of detail is that ray-tracing diffuse objects is fairly independent of the number of visible polygons in the scene.

    The second problem is that 10^4x improvement in level of detail does not mean 10^4x aesthetically pleasing (or in fact, more aesthetically pleasing at all). Ray tracing gets very expensive the moment you start adding multiple lights, specular materials, partially translucent materials, etc. It is very, very difficult to do that in real-time even with standard geometry, let alone with 10^4x more polygons. This is why their level doesn't look nearly as good as modern games despite higher polygon count (compare it to the unreal demo: youtube.com/watch They only use diffuse lighting and few lights. In terms of aesthetic appeal of a rendered image, lighting and textures are everything.

    Furthermore, one of the biggest impacts on how aesthetically pleasing a rendered images looks is made by global illumination. That's also something that's extremely difficult to do in real time with raytracing, but is possible with gpu hardware with tricks. The trouble is, these tricks look much better than raw polygons.

    Again, I love what they're doing. Real-time ray-tracing is without a doubt the future of graphics, but it would be nice if they were a little less sensational about the technology, and more open about the limitations and open issues.

  • youtube link not working for me

  • Youtube link fixed. Tom, you might wanna check again, the video was JUST released, and it's surprisingly different from the vids from a year ago. For starters, everything is actually textured, and you you can't tell that the objects are voxel/point-cloud based, unlike previous vids.

    Gotta admit, the narrator made the phrase "these are grains of dirt" sound AWESOME.

  • Hold your horses! That video is quite old, or only slightly improved from the one I saw over a year ago. There is a lot of hyperbole around this engine, mainly due to the way the narrators pitch it.

    I'm hugely sceptical about it.

    I remember them saying the demonstration in the first video was run on a regular laptop of the time. So probably a 2-core (not 12-core) machine. I believe this is possible, as Intel were working towards the same thing as well. They went for the increased core number though.

    Still, I believe it more now that they've returned with new content from being "dead" for a year, and are being funded by the government.

  • there's no way for me to know if it really works or not, but Tom, I think the guy in your post is both closeminded and wrong. Coming soon id's new engine will allow unlimited detail textures. well...not limited by vram anyway. to me that's new. it hasn't been done before, and it changes the way artists can work. the next id engine is supposed to have some voxel octree thing that's like halfway between what unlimited detail is claiming to do, and regular polygons, and once again redefines what detail level is possible. to say that the current methods of 3d technology are the endall be all, and there's no other way to handle graphics that could revolutionize everything is kinda ridiculous. also, he's not even correctly describing what they're claiming to do. they didn't say we're raytracing everything, and so we can use voxels. he's claiming (not in this video) that they've found a way to only have to access visible voxels that will actually correspond to onscreen pixels, and so all the overhead of the additional geometry isn't computed, and the speed is determined by the current number of pixels onscreen, much like id's tech whatever engine is doing in rage with the textures

  • The only way its going to work is through procedural generation.

    So actually this is probably going to put artists out of work.

    It's at least going to piss off a few, cause well who wants to make an ultra high poly model of a rock?

  • I still am sceptical, and hear what you are saying, but the adage "too good to be true" applies here:

    http://notch.tumblr.com/post/8386977075/its-a-scam

    Scam is quite a harsh word, but they are basically lying if the article is correct.

  • Basicly what Notch is saying is that they're marketing over the nice looks, making it breaking through and revolutionary and not communicating on the drawbacks (stockage space of the assets and other).

    In his article he links to other projects and engines that already existed in 2008.

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    looks pretty impressive.

    What I was wondering about is how Euclideon will include physic and apply it to each "grain of dirt" ^^

    In atomontage the guy took the opposite way. He's built physic that was able to render. He's talking about matter, etc...

    The video is impressive too, and 6 months old now ^^

    So basicly, this will be a revolution for players when this will arrive to them. No matter who gives it away the first (Euclideon proving their point or anyone else just having worked really hard) and for how long tech-demos have existed.

    I believe the guy is over-hyping it, and disappear again for a year ^^

    Mostly marketing and raising funds. Other projects are really at work, so whatever.

    But the fact is it is doable, it will become true. But it is probable that we will need to wait a few years, for the technology to be fully developped and the computer gear to have raised (the more power, the more render) before it becomes mainstream.

    And in 20 to 30 years, there will be a Voxel based Construct.

    "Wait and see"

  • I said it a year ago, and nothing I saw could change my opinion: There'S still nothing new to be seen here.

    For example, the unlimited texture sizes of the Quake engine, that's something new.

    But voxels (however you call them, voxel, atom, sphere, ...) aren't new. The technology exists since at least 20 or so years, there were even games made based on that tech.

    The only thing that changed is that there is a market crier now, trying to be the loudest in the hope to make the people forget, that they are selling the same old wine in new wineskins.

    They profit from technology progress in other fields of computer graphics, that's all. Their example would have been the same 20 years ago, just with 2 fps instead of 20, and a smaller viewfield because of smaller displays of that time.

    It doesn't work better because they reinvented the wheel, but because computers calculate faster nowadays.

    Besides, the real breakthrough would have been a convincing fast character animation algorithm reacting to physics. I wait, until Euclideon presents this, and then I say: "Wow, they really made a huge step for the whole industry."

    For now, they just present another of the many early stage voxel engines with mostly no use for a game.

  • The is a 40+ min video of the man behind this technology on youtube show it in real time. Or so it look like it is in real time. I can't post it on here because i'm on my phone.

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  • You mean:

    [tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnboAnQjMKE[/tube]

    [tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwQBRrjDEpE[/tube]

    [tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CCZIBDt1uM[/tube]

    [tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2qkne-EOG8[/tube]

    ?

  • No, it is bruce dell interview.

  • Here is the link [tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVB1ayT6Fdc&feature=youtube_gdata_player[/tube]

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