Update: Actually, I’m still too sick for this. My cold/flu has turned into a nasty sore throat/cough. On top of that, Heidi’s sick as well now! 🙁
I’ll reschedule for another time.
I hope that some of you will join me to make up a team for Pub Trivia!
I’ve been going stir-crazy kooked up at home sick for the last few days, so I decided to head out tomorrow night (at which point I will hopefully be even less sick than today; I’m feeling better than yesterday, but still a bit crook).
There have been a number of interesting news stories on the OpenGL homepage. I think with SIGGRAPH 2006 approaching, everything is coming to a head. The most interesting news is that Khronos Group and the OpenGL ARB are merging. This seems like a fairly natural progression and it will bring related technologies (such as OpenVG, EGL, and COLLADA) under the same banner as OpenGL.
The other interesting bit of news is the first issue of Pipeline, the OpenGL ARB newsletter. The ARB has been fairly quiet for the last… year or so… (their last public meeting notes are from December 2004). It’s good that they are making an effort to inform the wider development community about their… developments; The newsletter point to a GameDev article with a general overview of OpenGL 2.1. This first issue also mentions that it is most likely the last issue (due to the aforementioned merger).
Some of you may know that I’m a bit of an advocate for the use of portals in creating dynamic virtual environments. I’ve published a fewpapers, and generally think that they are pretty cool. I’ve also recently written a few new algorithms for portal rendering (not yet published). Unfortunately, the use of dynamic, place-anywhere portals has been fairly limited in commercial products.
Static portals are fairly common in game engines. They are usually manually placed in a level to optimise rendering (just making the game run faster), but they have also been used for reflective surfaces and transportation devices (sometimes you can see through them and sometimes you can’t). Prey (a game in development for a very long time) is the most recent game to include portals as a key gameplay feature (to create interesting, physically impossible spaces).
Joystiq reports that Game Videos has a new video demonstrating the more flexible use of portals in Valve’s upcoming game (aptly) named “Portal”.
Here are a few screengrabs:
It’s nice to see a game actually using dynamic portals in an interesting way. The promise has been there for a while, but this seems to be one of the only games to use it. From a technical perspective, there have been barriers to adoption of dynamic portals. Chiefly, it can make rendering much more difficult if using a conventional engine. I read on the 3D Realms forums that Prey’s portals “black out” with distance to limit draw requirements.
From the demonstration video, it seems that Valve is getting around potential technical problems by ensuring that their portals are still somewhat restricted (there’s only two, they only appear on walls, and are always planar and elliptical). I’m still looking forward to the appearance of even less constrained (say, 3D animated) portals in commercial games. Something like those demonstrated in these old videos I made.