Ray-tracer improvements (aka “Did you know our engine has ray-tracer?”)

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ray_tracer_textures
ray_tracer_smooth_1
ray_tracer_smooth_normals

I was playing with the ray-tracer inside Castle Game Engine this weekend. Although the focus of our engine is real-time rendering (not a software ray-tracer), but there is a distinct pleasure when you’re able to generate pretty images without the help of OpenGL:)

New ray-tracer features:

  • It can now use smooth normal vectors.
  • Classic ray-tracer supports now 2D textures, with bilinear or nearest filtering.
  • It looks at Background.skyColor.

You can try it out e.g. using view3dscene Ctrl + R (“Display -> RayTrace!” menu item). From code, you can use the CastleRayTracer unit.

The ray-tracer in CGE is still just a toy subproject for me. Our ray-tracer does not try to compete with professional, full-featured ray-tracing renderers existing today. But it is a nice demo that, using Castle Game Engine API, you can take a scene and create a decent ray-tracer, because

  1. All the necessary information about the 3D scene is available,
  2. You have a fast structure (octree) to perform ray collisions.

I hope that you enjoy it!:) If anyone here is interested in putting more work into this way of rendering (we have classic ray-tracer and a path-tracer), if you dream about creating a real, full-featured physically-based solution, than please join the development of CGE! I would happily see someone extend the CGE ray-tracer to render some really cool stuff! 🙂

An old gallery of images is here.

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CommonSurfaceShader in view3dscene and Castle Game Engine implemented:)

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CommonSurfaceShader with bump mapping
CommonSurfaceShader with steep parallax bump mapping and self-shadowing
CommonSurfaceShader defining a mirror for ray-tracer

I’m proud to announce an initial implementation of CommonSurfaceShader in Castle Game Engine and view3dscene! CommonSurfaceShader acts as a powerful “material on steroids” X3D node, in particular with support for normal maps (bump mapping).

1. The documentation

2. The demos

3. To try this *now*, you can use view3dscene from our “nightly builds”. Or you can compile any of the engine tools (like examples/3d_rendering_processing/view_3d_model_basic ) using the engine code from GitHub.

This is happening thanks to the support on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/castleengine). Robert Daniel Murphy sponsored improving the Blender exporter to be able to export normalmaps (and specular maps and similar) from Blender to Castle Game Engine easily. I took the idea a little further, and implemented it by adding the CommonSurfaceShader node to the engine, and then the Blender exporter will export an X3D file with the CommonSurfaceShader.

This way the Blender exporter will be improved for everyone, e.g. Instant Reality / X3DOM users will also benefit by having an exporter that can write CommonSurfaceShader.

More work is yet ahead (the Blender exporter, and the specular maps are not done yet). But the CommonSurfaceShader, with many basic fields, and normal maps, is supported now!

The CommonSurfaceShader works both for interactive rendering, and for our toy raytracer. It is also understood when editing materials in view3dscene (Edit->Edit Material->… menu items).

P.S. If you like view3dscene, or you’d like to request more view3dscene features like that, please support me on Patreon !:)

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fpcupdeluxe and Castle Game Engine

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fpcupdeluxe

Recently I’ve been playing with fpcupdeluxe, a great tool to install FPC/Lazarus (stable, unstable…), with cross-compilers. I’m very impressed by it, and I wrote a wiki page documenting how to use it (in the context of Castle Game Engine, although contains some general notes too):

https://github.com/castle-engine/castle-engine/wiki/fpcupdeluxe

In another news: Ten Square Games is helping us by lending Apple hardware with the latest Mac OS X! This is a great help towards the upcoming improvents of iOS in the Castle Game Engine (integrating it with the build tool better). Thousand thanks!

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Support for the STL format for 3D models (commonly used for 3D printing)

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Knocker in STL format, by Shira, www.thingiverse.com/thing:1458545
Robot woman in the STL format, by Shira, see http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:614366
Moonkin Bust in the STL format, by bardiir, see http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2211053

Castle Game Engine and view3dscene support now the STL format for 3D models, commonly used for 3D printing. This means that you can open these models using view3dscene, or the engine API (TCastleScene.Load), and you can convert STL files to X3D.

It’s a really simple 3D format (just vertexes with normals), and I think that the current loader (in file x3dloadinternalstl.pas) nicely serves as an example 3D file loader in our engine. It shows how to read binary and text files from a TStream instance using some helpers in our engine.

More information about the STL format is available in Wikipedia. We support both the text (ASCII) and binary formats.

Blender includes an exporter to this format.

Many sample models in the STL format, ready for 3D printing, can be downloaded e.g. from Thingiverse.

If you’d like to try it NOW in Castle Game Engine, you can download the view3dscene from snapshots. Or you can grab the source code of the engine and view3dscene from GitHub: https://github.com/castle-engine/castle-engine/ , https://github.com/castle-engine/view3dscene/.

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