Thread: Making great graphics

  1. #1
    Slave MadCow257's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Making great graphics

    I'm looking into what the maximum settings for my engine should be (aimed at 2007+ hardware)

    -16X Antialiasing (beyond this, is it even an improvement?)
    -A full atmospheric model (outdoors only, using terragen as guideline)
    -High Dynamic Range rendering
    -Per pixel shadowing
    -1280X1024 resolution
    -Some kind of fast radiosity
    -Dynamic anisotropic hair (not quite sure if I understand this)

    What other stuff is needed for great graphics in real time?

    Also, I know that alot of games use maps (bump mapping, light mapping, HDR maps, etc.) is that neccesary? I really don't feel like implementing support for these things, and it seems like making all the maps would take a great deal of time while reducing the flexibility of your game.

    Before I get told how hard making an engine like this, I realize it will be alot of work and I won't ever end up making it look as good as I want. Luckily, the nongraphical parts of the engine will be easy as I already have experience with 3D sound, UDP, and game phyiscs.

  2. #2
    Registered User VirtualAce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    -16X Antialiasing (beyond this, is it even an improvement?)
    Major overkill. Most, if not all, gamers I've come across rarely use anything over 2x or Quincux. I personally do not use anti-aliasing because it indescriminately fuzzes out all jagged lines but it does not take into account that some scenes need them to look correct.
    Watching the horizon in a flight sim turn into a stairstepped fuzzy affair is quite ugly.
    Watching distance objects become fuzzballs because of over-anti-aliasing is equally as ugly.

    -A full atmospheric model (outdoors only, using terragen as guideline)
    This is possible with shaders. However spending oodles and oodles of CPU time on is somewhat of a waste of resources, unless the atmosphere is a vital portion of the game....say in an RPG space-based shooter or something.

    -High Dynamic Range rendering
    This can be done using shaders as well. However be careful since this produces extremely bright glares and effects. You may give the gamers a major headache with your new cool uber effect - which means most of them will whine about it or will find a way to shut it off.
    Check out Pacific Fighters by 1C and Oleg Maddox. The sun glare is major uber and major annoying.

    -Per pixel shadowing
    Shaders, again, are your answer. You may not be able to per-pixel shadow everything even on high end systems. It all depends on your shadowing approach.

    -1280X1024 resolution
    This is already a standard in graphics. Most play games near or around 800x600 to 1024x768 simply because text gets extremely hard to read at higher resolutions. I know some that play games in 1280x1024. This is already possible on modern hardware so I would not include it as a requirement for great graphics.

    -Some kind of fast radiosity
    Radiosity is cool when done in moderation. Using radiosity on everything simply won't look right. Radiosity, glow mapping, and hemispherical lighting all do wonders, but only when applicable. Usually per pixel diffuse and specular look quite nice.

    -Dynamic anisotropic hair (not quite sure if I understand this)
    I have no idea what this is. I seriously doubt anyone cares if their main character's hair flows like that on the Final Fantasy movie. This, in my opinion, is a waste of time.

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