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Last Updated: Tuesday May 04, 2004 12:17:56




The Technology - Some Terms and Features Explained.

Dynamic Visibility Analysis:

The DVA (tm) engine is built on top of a new, unique, visibility technology that allows us to build extremely complex environments with as much detail as we need. The DVA (tm) engine is the first of a new breed of cutting-edge rendering technologies, bringing us significantly closer to being able to create environments that look as good as reality.

Dynamic Visibility Analysis:

DVA (tm) for short, handles what is seen, and therefore rendered, in real-time every frame. It allows us to use significantly more complex geometry in our worlds, but most importantly it allows us to create games that are totally dynamic. Every object, cars, trucks, helicopters, anything that in reality is movable, destroyable and deformable is easily handled, rendered by the DVA (tm) visibility system, and it does not slow down your frame rate since the DVA (tm) will only render what is seen on-screen, not what is behind or covered by dynamic objects. The uninitiated might believe that other engines out there does the same, but that is not the case. Your typical render engine today deal with, and send, at least 2-5 times as many polygons as are needed, over the bus to the 3D hardware. Worst case happens when large dynamic objects are drawn in front of the main geometry, such engines will then render both the dynamic objects and the background world geometry. That does not happen with the DVA (tm) engine. Therefore, we can have 4 or more times as many polygons actually showing up on your screen, instead of just drawing layers and layers of unnecessary geometry. The DVA (tm) engine takes full advantage of next-generation hardware by ensuring that hardware and drivers resources are not wasted on dealing with unnecessary geometry. 

Full Per-Pixel Real Time Lighting and Shadowing:

The DVA (tm) engine calculates light in real time, at the full per-pixel resolution. Other engines use lightmaps or vertex-based lighting that is just not enough to re-create the quality of a real rendering. The DVA (tm) engine renders at the same quality level as any professional modeling / rendering package, such as 3DSMAX, SoftImage or Maya and it does it all in real time, even in software without dedicated bump-mapping hardware. There is no other engine that is capable of doing this; the DVA (tm) engine is the first ever engine that matches the quality of still-images generated in 3DSMAX, in real-time and at higher frame rates than any other existing engine. This technology was available to us 3.5 years ago and has been tweaked and improved to the point where we now know that there is nothing out there that can even begin to touch it. Further advances will bring the lighting quality up to the maximum achievable level according to light theory… Watch us. The DVA (tm) engine takes advantage of next-generation per-pixel shading hardware to speed up multiple dynamic light sources. While the technology works on all current generation hardware, accelerated per-pixel shading will increase the performance, without degrading quality. 

Real Time True Bump-Mapping:

The DVA (tm) engine handles real time true bump-mapping, without any slowdown. The bump-mapping feature is built into the per-pixel lighting capability, it takes no additional time to calculate or use. We use bump-mapping on everything in our games as it increases the quality of the rendered images tenfold. Bump-mapping is a way to model detail on surfaces, to increase the overall level of detail in a game. It is very effective, as you can see in some of our screenshots.

Inverse Kinematics:

Inverse Kinematics is an advanced method to control skeleton-based animations, to be able to manipulate the skeleton in ways that mimic the behavior, the motion and animation, of a real human being. Besides this, it also allows the engine to do dynamic deformations and changes to the skeleton, to have the skeleton / the character behave realistically when interacting with the environments, bullets, physics and other characters. No longer are the animations for characters 'locked' and rigid; IK allow us to create an endless sequence of unique animations.

A Bit About Audio:

HRTF, short for 'Head Related Transfer Function' is a system for relaying the 3D-positioning of a sound-source to the listener, through a pair of headphones or a pair of speakers. It works by using data gathered from real-life scientific research about how the head, the ears and various natural phenomena changes the sound, as we perceive it in real-life, based on the relative position of the sound-source to our head. This data is then used to re-create the same effects when we play a sound in the engine, so that your brain gets the same hints about where the sound originates, just like in real life. It works amazingly well! 
Sound-scape raytracing is a way to dynamically build a 360 degree 'image' of the world that surrounds a sound-source. This 'image' is then used in various calculations and processing to recreate how it would really sound, if this sound was played in this environment in real-life, as accurate as possible. 
Dynamic realtime-calculated reverberation. Reverberation, or 'reverb' for short, is the reflections of sound from the environment, reaching your ears. One could think of it as 'echo' but this is not entirely correct. If you clap your hands in a small square room, you will hear hundreds (or more) reflections of the sound that are superimposed over the main sound almost instantaneously. This effect can be thought of as reverb. There are both 'early' and 'late' reflections in a reverb; the early reflections are the ones that bounce right back at you from the environment, and the late reflections are the ones that first bounce around in the environment, multiplying until there are several thousands (or more) and then reaching your ear. The human brain uses the encoded reverb data in the incoming sound-stream to decode information about how large the environment is, what materials it is built of, and to some extent to extract 3D-positioning data (HRTF being the main source). The DVA (tm) engine use the sound-scape 'image' to position reverb reflections within the environment, dynamically. This is the first technology to do this. Traditionally, a reverb is simply applied based on the 'size of the room' hint.


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