Game Development Crack
Every year, game developers of all fields flock to San Fransisco to take part in Game Developers Conference. Presentations and Keynotes cover a wide range of topics, from audio to business, game design, production, programming, art. Although the web design of GDC leaves much to be desired, one of the best aspects is the sharing of information, not just at the conference itself but also online via the GDC Vault
In an attempt to fight the running joke that there is indeed a B3D front page, today I'd like to focus on one of the presentations that has come out of the vault, Chris Tchou's Halo Reach Effects Tech
. At ~450MB, it's a pretty meaty download, and what with GDC's excellent download speeds, you should be able to open up the pptx in a couple hours. It's definitely worth it because you'll be treated to a number of embedded video examples, but I figured not everyone has MS Office or the patience, so I hope my butchered summary of a summary will suffice.
There are three techniques which Chris shares, including cheap colliding particles, 'shields' & depth (buffer based) effects, and low resolution transparents. Folks who have been following the development of Reach may recall that one of the new tech features for Reach was being able to render thousands of colliding particles whereas Halo 3 was limited to a couple hundred (non-colliding) particles (apparently budgeted 7 with collisions per frame). The shields & depth effects portion are a neat look into how the depth buffer could be used to create a number of different effects in-game from shields to electrical arcs and outlines for objects passing through a portal/geometry. The last technique covers Reach's implementation of multi-resolution rendering, an exceedingly common idea for transparency rendering on consoles due to limited fillrates, however, the approach for Reach involves buckets. If you're confused, that's ok!
With those in mind, let's move on to the details!