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Topics - Stefan

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2141
3D-Tech News Around The Web / PhysX From Inside Out: RayFire Tool
« on: February 08, 2010, 05:07:16 PM »
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Many CG artists are familiar with RayFire Tool – excellent plug-in for 3ds Max, focused on fracturing and objects demolition.
Mir Vadim, RayFire Tool creator, was kind enough to answers some of our questions, and tell us about RayFire development history and PhysX SDK  role in this process.

Full story at PhysXinfo

2142
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Biggle is a small extension wrapper library for OpenGL. It’s designed to be much smaller than most of the other ones, so that you only pay for the the extensions you actually use. It’d probably work well for 64K intros and other such.

Usage:

    #include “biggle.h”

Then:

    biggleInit();

That’s it! And just link against biggle.lib

It should support the full range of current GL extensions, as listed at the OpenGL registry. If you find any problems with it, let me know and I’ll update it.
http://www.codersnotes.com/files/biggle-1.0.zip

[via]

2143
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Microsoft DirectX February 2010 available
« on: February 06, 2010, 03:04:54 PM »
Download SDK
Download Redist
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What's New in the February 2010 DirectX SDK

This version of the DirectX SDK contains the following new features, tools, and documentation.

Improvements to PIX

PIX has much-improved support for analysis of programs that use Direct3D 11 features, including compute shaders, tessellation, and dynamic shader class linkage. PIX features such as pixel history, the shader debugger, the mesh viewer, frame counters, and screenshots now work for these Direct3D 11 programs.

The new "Playback Device" control in the Events pane enables the user to force PIX Direct3D playback to use the REF device.

Mesh viewer data can be exported to a CSV file by right-clicking the data tables displayed in the PreVS, PostVS, or PostGS views.

The texture viewer now supports the following additional formats:

    * DXGI_FORMAT_D24_UNORM_S8_UINT
    * DXGI_FORMAT_R24G8_TYPELESS
    * DXGI_FORMAT_BC1_UNORM_SRGB
    * DXGI_FORMAT_BC2_UNORM_SRGB
    * DXGI_FORMAT_BC3_UNORM_SRGB

XNAMath C++ SIMD Math Library

A minor revision to the library (version 2.02), includes a number of customer-reported fixes, optimizations, and improvements. Included are notable fixes to XMStoreColor(), XMQuaternionRotationMatrix(), XMVectorATan2(), and XMVectorATan2Est().

Direct3D 11 Deployment

The Direct3D 11 Deployment for Game Developers article and D3D11InstallHelper Sample have been updated to include guidance for corporate network users in a locally managed Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) environment. For these developers, KB 971644 is not applicable and they should refer to KB 971512 instead.

Enhancements to Voice Reuse Scenarios

Implementation changes to simplify voice reuse were made to IXAudio2SourceVoice::FlushSourceBuffers, IXAudio2SourceVoice::SetSourceSamplingRate, and IXAudio2SourceVoice::Stop. These changes enable titles to minimize the performance cost of creating and destroying multiple voices during the game.

Reverb and Mixing Performance Optimizations

We have optimized the codepaths for several of the less common channel mixing scenarios for mixing within the audio graph.

Previous Releases

For a description of what was added in previous releases, see Features Introduced in Previous Releases in the DirectX SDK documentation.



Known Issues with the February 2010 SDK

Message: The DirectX component 'd3d10sdklayers.dll' is currently in use by other applications

The following message sometimes appears during setup or uninstall:

The DirectX component 'd3d10sdklayers.dll' is current in use by other applications

If you encounter this message, select Ignore and reboot your system after setup or uninstall is complete. This issue occurs only on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

PIX Crashes on Call to GetImmediateContext

In the February 2010 release, PIX crashes if the target application calls D3D11CreateDevice() or D3D11CreateDeviceAndSwapChain() with a NULL ppImmediateContext, then later calls GetImmediateContext() to get the immediate context. To work around the issue, pass a non-NULL pointer for ppImmediateContext. This issue will be corrected in an upcoming release.

Support for Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2010

In the next release, the DirectX SDK will add support for Visual Studio 2010. At that time, the DirectX SDK will no longer support Visual Studio 2005; the February 2010 release will be the last release to support Visual Studio 2005. The next release will continue to support Visual Studio 2008.

Direct3D 11 Runtime

To obtain the Direct3D 11 runtime, please obtain an RTM version of Windows 7 or follow the procedure described in KB 971644 (or KB 971512 for corporate network users). For more details, see Direct3D 11 Deployment for Game Developers.

Effects 11

The Effects runtime for Direct3D 11 (FX11) is available as shared source in the DirectX SDK. For more information, please refer to Effects (Direct3D 11) and Effect System Interfaces (Direct3D 11) in the Windows Graphics documentation. The Effects 11 source is now located in the samples directory.

DirectX 11 Runtime Symbols

The modern DirectX Runtime is part of the operating system (OS), and symbols for the DirectX components (Direct3D, DirectInput, DirectSound, etc.) are provided as part of the OS symbol packages. DirectX 11 Runtime symbols are included in the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 symbols packages available on the Microsoft website. However, we recommend using the Microsoft symbols server instead for the most current and correct set of symbols when debugging DirectX applications.

Note that DirectX 11 Runtime symbols for the down-level KB 971644 and KB 971512 update for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 are not included in the OS offline symbols package. They can be obtained from the Microsoft symbol server.

The Provided D3D9D.dll for Windows XP is Versioned for Service Pack 2

The D3D9D.dll that is included in the February 2010 DirectX SDK is versioned for Windows XP SP2. If you use this DLL on Windows XP SP3 with an application that uses the Windows Presentation Framework (WPF), the code in the DLL will assert. This issue does not occur on Windows Vista or Windows 7. If you require only debug output, that is, you do not require symbols, you could also use the checked version of D3D9.dll, which is compatible with Windows XP SP3. Just rename the checked D3D9.dll to D3D9D.dll. The checked version of D3D9.dll is available to MSDN subscribers.

Control Panel for DirectX 9 Debug Output is Specific to 32-bit or 64-bit Applications

In order to turn DirectX 9 debug output on or off, you must use the DirectX control panel appropriate to the application being debugged. Use the 64-bit DirectX control panel for 64-bit applications and the x86 DirectX control panel for 32-bit applications.

D3DCompiler_42.dll Moved to New Cab

Beginning in the August 2009 DirectX SDK release, D3DCompiler_42.dll has been moved out of the D3DX CAB to a new CAB: D3DCompiler_42_*.CAB. The D3D_Compiler functionality implements the offline HLSL compiler for D3D 9, 10, or 11. This change decouples compiler from D3DX.

HLSL Runtime Compiling for Shader Models that Do Not Allow NaN or Infinity Literals

When compiling code that looks like the following:

pow(max(0, f), e)

If the result of max(0,f) is 0, the statement will be evaluated as exp(-inf * e), which may cause the following error message: (error X4579: NaN and infinity literals not allowed by shader model). This is because pow(0, e) will be expanded to exp(log(0) * e), which will evaluated as exp(-inf * e).

The workaround for compiling code like this, for a shader model that does not allow NaN or infinity literals, is to change 0 in max(0, f) to 0.00001f, or some other acceptably small non-zero value.

This scenario typically fails during a call to ID3DXEffectCompiler when compiling for shader models that do not allow NaN and infinity literals (such as DX9 shader targets). It is a regression from the November 2008 release. The result may show up when debugging a game that exits at startup and generates an error message such as "nonzero reference count" or "an error occurred in the device creation callback function".

New Warning X3206: Implicit Truncation of Vector Type

Beginning in the August 2009 release of the DirectX SDK, the HLSL compiler will warn when an implicit truncation of a vector type occurs. For example, the follow code would elicit the warning.

float4 FastShadow ( float3 vLightPos, float4 vDiffColor )

{

float2 vLightMax = vLightPos + g_fFilterSize;



if ( bTextured ) In.vDiffColor.xyz *= DiffuseTex.Sample ( DiffuseSampler, In.vTCoord );

To avoid the warning, swizzle out the vector components as shown below.

float4 FastShadow ( float3 vLightPos, float4 vDiffColor )

{

float2 vLightMax = vLightPos.xy + g_fFilterSize;



if ( bTextured ) In.vDiffColor.xyz *= DiffuseTex.Sample ( DiffuseSampler, In.vTCoord ).xyz;



IXACT3Engine::PrepareWave Doesn't Support xWMA

In the March 2008 and later SDKs, the IXACT3Engine::PrepareWave doesn't support xWMA. If you want to use xWMA in XACT, you can prepare those waves by calling one of the following methods:

    * IXACT3WaveBank::Prepare
    * IXACT3SoundBank::Prepare
    * IXACT3Engine::PrepareInMemoryWave
    * IXACT3Engine::PrepareStreamingWave

Building Samples Using the Visual Studio 2005 Project Files Results In Harmless Warning

Developers who build the samples may see the following harmless warning:

manifest authoring warning 81010002: Unrecognized Element "requestedPrivileges" in namespace "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v2".

This is a known issue with the manifest tool (mt.exe) that ships in Visual Studio 2005 SP1. To remove this warning, developers should update their versions of mt.exe to the version that ships in the Windows SDK. Developers should update the instances of mt.exe that ship in Visual Studio 2005 SP1, found in the following three locations:

    * VC\bin\
    * Common7\tools\bin\
    * SDK\v2.0\bin\

Symbols for DirectX

The latest and most complete source for debugging symbols is the Microsoft Symbol Server. We recommend using the symbol server rather than using the included partial symbols package. For instructions about using the Microsoft Symbol Server, see http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/debugstart.mspx.

2144
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Novel software technology harnesses powerful hardware advancements to transform the traditional 3D computer graphics production paradigm, revolutionizing and streamlining workflow with real-time graphics processing.

Creators of computer graphics content are quick to adopt the latest advancements in high-performance computing and graphics hardware. Today’s CG professionals—whether architects, product designers, or animators—do so for multiple reasons, not the least of which is to meet strict deadlines without compromising the quality of the end result. The true and full potential of such high-end hardware cannot truly be tapped, however, without the advent of novel software designed specifically to harness this power.

Full story at Siggraph

2145
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In the paper entitled "SCGPSim: A Fast SystemC Simulator on GPUs," Shukla and his collaborators said that they were able to demonstrate how to speed up the simulation performance of certain SystemC-based hardware models "by exploiting the high degree of parallelism afforded by today's general purpose graphic processor units (GPGPU)."

Full story at Dr. Dobb's Journal

2146
3D-Tech News Around The Web / ATI CATALYST 10.1 screen corruption hotfix
« on: February 06, 2010, 12:38:31 AM »
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Catalyst 10.1 hotfix Features:
Alleviates some of the intermittent grey screen and vertical line corruptions that may randomly appear during normal usage when using an ATI™ Radeon HD 5800 series graphics card

2147
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Nvidia's CUDA Technology Not Just for Geeks
« on: February 05, 2010, 04:57:36 PM »
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Nvidia  attempted to show on Thursday that CUDA, its GPU-as-CPU technology, is moving more into the mainstream.

While Nvidia didn't actually announce any new products at its "CUDA Day" showcase in San Francisco, the company did ask several partners to describe how using the technology could accelerate their own applications, with somewhat surprising results.

Full story at PCMag

2148
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Lately, Metro 2033 is more and more often referred as starting title for new GF100 GPUs from Nvidia – due to it’s truly next-gen graphics engine, with DX 11 support and, of course, intensive usage of Physx SDK and hardware accelerated PhysX effects – aspect we are most interested in.

Full story at PhysXinfo

2149
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Crysis 2: New info about Cryengine 3
« on: February 03, 2010, 05:09:16 PM »
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In an interview with PC Games Hardware Cevat Yerli talked about the Cryengine 3, which the forthcoming Crysis 2 is based on. Which advantages and improvements have been integrated in the new structure?

2150
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Cube Map Rendering Techniques for Direct3D10
« on: February 02, 2010, 03:22:40 PM »
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Unlike DirectX 9 which allows you to only render cube maps in 6 passes, DirectX 10 offers different ways to do it more efficiently: geometry shaders & improvements in the geometry instancing API offer single pass alternatives to cube map rendering. This article presents 3 algorithms as well as their drawbacks and advantages

Full story at GameDev

2151
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Fluid Simulation for Video Games (part 6)
« on: February 02, 2010, 03:17:58 PM »
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This article, the sixth in a series, describes a radically different technique for computing velocity from vorticity, one of the cornerstones of the fluid simulation presented in these articles. The first article summarized fluid dynamics; the second surveyed fluid simulation techniques; and the third and fourth presented a vortex-particle fluid simulation with two-way fluid-body interactions that runs in real time. The fifth article demonstrated how to obtain and use CPU usage profiling data to optimize and further parallelize the code so that it ran faster.

This article describes a differential technique for solving velocity from vorticity and contrasts its results and performance with the integral treecode technique presented in Part 3. The Poisson solver presented in this article runs faster than the treecode, but its results look different - and are potentially less satisfying.

2152
3D-Tech News Around The Web / I3D 2010 Papers
« on: February 02, 2010, 01:11:17 PM »
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The Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics and Games (I3D) has been a great little conference since its genesis in the mid-80s, featuring many influential papers over this period.  You can think of it as a much smaller SIGGRAPH, focused on topics of interest to readers of this blog.  This year, the I3D papers program is especially strong.

Full story at RTR

2153
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Now, for around $10 000, you can get the speed of a small cluster in a desktop machine, by using the untapped potential of the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). A machine with four high end GPUs from NVIDIA has up to four teraflops of processing power, equivalent to around 60 of the fastest CPUs.

FfA's latest release of SVI Pro uses the GPU in three different ways:
1. For general visualisation
2. For interactive (visual) computing
3. For GPU accelerated volume processing

Full story at EngineerLive

2154
Benchmark to check if you can run GNO3
Download via 4Gamer



2155
3D-Tech News Around The Web / ATI Catalyst 10.-1 WHQL available
« on: January 27, 2010, 08:36:11 PM »
Download site

Developer blog

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Performance Improvements
 
The following performance gains are noticed with this release of ATI Catalyst™ 10.1:
 
z  Left 4 Dead 2 – Overall performance improves as much as 3% on ATI Radeon™
HD 5700 series products and ATI Radeon™ HD 5800 series products
z  Crysis – Performance improves as much as 3% on ATI Radeon™ HD 5700 series
products and as much as 4% on ATI Radeon™ HD 5800 series products
 
Resolved Issues for All Windows Operating Systems
 
This section provides information on resolved issues in this release of the ATI Catalyst™
Software Suite for Windows. These include:
 
z  Confirmation dialog box will now appear while extending the display through ATI
Catalyst™ Control Center
z  "Enable Manual Fan Control" check box will now be checked when utilizing external
tools to apply fan speed

z  [ATI Catalyst™ Control Center] The display order will now reflect changes properly
when Eyefinity is re-arranged while desktop is rotated to portrait mode
z  Hot unplugging one of the displays in an Eyefinity configuration no longer causes
rotation modes to disappear from ATI Catalyst™ Control Center
 
Resolved Issues for the Windows 7 Operating System
 
This section provides information on resolved issues in this release of the ATI Catalyst™
Software Suite for Windows 7. These include:
 
z  [ATI Catalyst™ Control Center] Enabling LCD Overdrive will no longer cause
mouse cursor to magnify when moved overtop of the "Calibration Preview"
z  DisplayPort™ "Lower Setting Applied" and "Link Failure" messages will no longer
appear after driver installation and reboot with DP displays connected to the mini DP
port
z  Firefox now works properly and video no longer drop frames when playing Youtube
clips with Adobe Flash Player 10
z  CrossFire™ logo now appears properly in CFX enabled applications like "3DMark
Vantage" or "Call of Juarez"
z  [ATI Catalyst™ Control Center] Newly added custom modes will now appear
properly in desktop area tree view
z  Confirmation dialogue window will now appear when setting up Eyefinity mode
z  120 Hz is no longer missing from display modes for specific digital displays
z  Specific configurations will no longer cause Ubisoft "Wheelman" to stop responding
during gameplay
z  Loss of HDMI signal may no longer occurs when viewing Blu-ray content, and re-
scanning for the HDMI signal no longer cause the entire screen to shift and display a
green border
z  Overscan/underscan issue no longer occurs when setting displays to HDTV modes
z  Performance drop no longer observed during some scenes of Resident Evil 5
cinematics
z  Blocky grass and trees no longer visible in Unigine "Heaven" in OpenGL mode
 
Resolved Issues for the Windows Vista Operating System
 
This section provides information on resolved issues in this release of the ATI Catalyst™
Software Suite for Windows Vista. These include: 
 
z  Changing basic color settings will now reflect properly during playback with Adobe
Flash Player using Internet Explorer or Firefox
z  The right side of HD progressive playback screen will no longer freeze while
enabling split screen mode and dynamic contrast
z  Green horizontal line no longer visible at the top of the playback window when
viewing SD HQV content with desktop resolution set to 25x16

2156
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New in Version 196.34

    * Fixed a bug with v196.21 that prohibited GPU overclocking

Optix vs. Vista/7 issue persists  >:(


2157
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In this article, I discuss mixing CUDA and OpenGL by utilizing a PBO (Pixel Buffer Object) to create images with CUDA on a pixel-by-pixel basis and display them using OpenGL. A subsequent article in this series will discuss the use of CUDA to generate 3D meshes and utilize OpenGL VBOs (Vertex Buffer Objects) to efficiently render meshes as a colored surface, wireframe image or set of 3D points. All demonstration code compiles and runs under both Windows and Linux.

Full story at DDJ

2158
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Shader Toy, an online shader editor
« on: January 26, 2010, 05:46:07 PM »
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It's using the pretty new WebGL specification to allow you to edit GLSL shaders. Because the tool is online you don't need to install anything (this will be true the day all browsers have support for WebGL - for the time being read the not in the end of the post). In the other hand, it comes with lots of interesting shaders. Raymarching, procedural distance fields, metaballs, tunnels, deformations, postprocessing effects, .... Just load them and have a look to learn how these techniques work, or start modifying them to make your own shader.

I think this tool is ideal when you have an idea and want to sketch it, or want to play a bit with shaders, but you don't have your OpenGL framework handy, nor you have textures or even a compiler at all. Instead, wherever you are, in your vacations trip, at your mum's, you just need a browser. Connect to the Shader Toy page, load one of the presets shaders, and start playing around. As simple as that! You can use any online image to feed the 4 texture units in the shader by providing Shader Toy with the url of the image. I even created some usefull "noise" textures for you, and there are quite a few "famous" demos in the presets, donated by several demoseners. Check them out.

Features:

- four texture input from online images
- mouse input to feed your shader parameters with some life data
- quick compile with ALT TAB shortcut
- framerate monitor
- viewport resolution selector
- glsl-es help
- time control
- lots of cool presets, for free!

Coming soon:

- syntax highlight
- video input (feed a texture unit with online video!)
- flexible parameter input with custom user js functions
- advanced timeline control
- multithreaded render
- cubemaps
- submit/save your own shaders and presets


LINK: http://www.iquilezles.org/apps/shadertoy

** Note: most browsers don't implement the WebGL specification yet. You need the nightly build of Firefox (3.7), Chrome or Safari to use Shader Toy. So far I have successfully tested it Firefox 3.7 and Chrome 4.0 under Windows, Firefox 3.7 under Linux. I have been reported that it works in Safari under Mac too. Please follow the instructions in http://khronos.org/webgl/wiki/Getting_a_WebGL_Implementation for installation.

** Note: ShaderToy was made for helping making "flat shaders" only, it was never intended to be a RenderMonkey-clone where you can load 3d meshes. ShaderToy is about filling pixels only. Of course, that doesn't mean you can only do 2d, nothing prevents you from writing raytracers right? - check the presets.

[via]

2159
3D-Tech News Around The Web / NVIDIA PerfHUD 6.62 available
« on: January 26, 2010, 05:37:49 PM »
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PerfKit 6.62 Feature Highlights:

    * New in 6.62! Support for Windows 7
    * New in 6.62! Fix for the COM initialize bug
    * New in 6.6! Support for GPUs based on GT21x chips
    * New in 6.6! Fixed a bug when applications used RawInput
    * Save/Load DX10 frame captures (Ctrl+S in the Frame Debugger)
    * GeForce GTX 200 Series GPU Support
    * Works with standard drivers on Windows Vista
    * SLI Support
    * Texture Visualization and Overrides
    * API Call List
    * Dependency View
    * New CPU/GPU Timing graph
    * And much more!

2160
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See what a difference the new Windows 7 kernel makes compared to Windows Vista. The windows 7 kernel is optimized for use with Intel core microarchitecture not only does it perform faster it also allows you to put a few cores to sleep while maintaining peak performance.

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