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Messages - Stefan

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First of all: Brigade is a research project. It is designed to facilitate the production of 'proof-of-concept' games that use path tracing as the primary rendering algorithm, as opposed to rasterization, which is what GPUs normally do. Path tracing uses ray tracing, and extends basic ray tracing by supporting indirect lighting and soft shadows. More complex effects, such as caustics, are also supported, but suffer from noise. Brigade does not aim to produce photo-realistic images using complex scenes and materials. The emphasis is first of all on speed, and getting the highest possible quality within a strict time budget. Higher quality graphics are the goal, but never at the expense of interactivity.

Performance is achieved by employing state-of-the-art algorithms, often based on very recent research. Besides this, engineering and optimization obviously plays an important role. The greatest gains however are obtained by using not just a GPU or CPU but both: Brigade splits the rendering task seamlessly over available compute units. Depending on your configuration, Brigade will render using the CPU only, or mostly on the GPU, or anything inbetween. This balance is reconsidered per frame. The plan is to add support for multiple GPUs as well as network rendering. Multiple CPUs are already supported, and all your cores will be put to work optimally.

Brigade is the successor to the Arauna real-time ray tracer, which has been used for a large number of student projects at the 'International Game Architecture & Design' program of the NHTV University of Applied Sciences, Breda, The Netherlands. As such, Brigade mimicks the Arauna API to ease the transition to a new rendering engine. If you are familiar with Arauna, you will feel right at home.


Brigade implements a basic path tracer, with a fixed shading path. This path supports diffuse materials with textures, as well as specular and dielectric materials (metal, glass). Dielectrics may have absorption, and an adjustable index of refraction. Lighting is entirely done using area lights, of which an unlimited amount may be specified. For Brigade, a light is simply a polygon with a material that is named 'emm0-9'. This way, entire meshes can be turned into light sources.

Brigade aims to offer a simple API to the developer. To facilitate this, the initial scene is loaded using a text file, named scene.txt. In this file, you can specify resolution, number of samples per pixel, wether or not GPU rendering should be used and so on. Thanks to this you can experiment with the path tracer without ever looking at the source code. Check scene.txt to see how to add more planes to the demo scene, for exmaple.

Internally, Brigade uses a BVH that is constructed per-frame from BVHs that are built per scene graph object. The per-object BVHs are updated as needed, for optimal performance. The BVH is then synchronized with the version on the GPU, and also converted to other structures that are needed for optimal CPU rendering. Because of the intention to use Brigade for games, fast support for animated scenes is a priority.


Brigade currently requires a recent NVidia card to run (although you may be able to run using the CPU only by altering scene.txt). Your GPU must support CUDA. Two executables are provided: One is optimized for GTX2xx class devices, the other one targets Fermi devices specifically. The first one will obviously work on a broader range of hardware, but the Fermi version is optimal for that architecture and should be used if possible. A version of Brigade that automatically detects supported features will be released at a later date.

This is yet another application that is nuked by NVIDIA driver branch 256+  :(
In case of crash (or using an ATI GPU), disable GPU usage in scene.txt


If you want to try WebGL, get the latest Firefox builds here, i found no changelog  ???

Also available is Firefox 3.6.6 which hopefully fixes the crashing crash fix protection introduced in FF 3.6.4  ::)

3D-Tech News Around The Web / Notepad++ 5.7 RC
« on: June 27, 2010, 12:05:46 PM »
Notepad++ v5.7 new features and fixed bugs (from v5.6.8) :

1. Upgrade Scintilla to version 2.12.
2. Add "Inverse bookmark" feature.
4. Fix premature deallocation bug for import UDL.
5. Add import/export User Defined Language features.
6. File detection : Switch to modified or deleted file while user is asked to reload or keep the file.
7. Fix closing several detected non-existing files bug.
8. Fix language switching to English not working bug.
9. Reduce PostIt/FullScreen restore button size.
10. Fix PostIt wrong restore button position after toggling off fullScreen mode.

Download 5.7RC

Up until now, users looking to exploit graphics processor acceleration for technical computing had to rely on either NVIDIA's CUDA software stack or OpenCL implementations (from AMD or NVIDIA). Although a number of high-level language implementations have been built on top of these lower level interfaces, PathScale will be the first vendor to offer a complete third-party development stack for GPU computing developers.

Fulll story at HPCwire

This month’s beta release includes lots of upgrades, including:

    * Numerous skeletal mesh improvements
    * Improved bloom with added properties
    * New HUD texture visualization tool
    * FBX support for custom normals
    * Penumbra scale adjustment in Lightmass
    * Game Caster virtual camera support

3D-Tech News Around The Web / Fractron 9000 beta 0.4 available
« on: June 27, 2010, 08:52:56 AM »
Fractron 9000 is a GPU accelerated fractal flame renderer for Windows. Requires a video card that supports OpenGL 2.0 (OpenCL or CUDA recommended). Also Requires Microsoft .NET framework version 2.0.

Version 0.4 Beta
 - Added support for OpenCL rendering
 - Added support for rendering through OpenGL and the host CPU
 - Switched to .NET framework 2.0 instead of 3.5
 - Fixed a bug that caused poor anti-aliasing quality
 - Added option for JPEG image output
 - Added option for PNG transparency
 - Added "bulge" variation
 - Got rid of cuda9k.dll. The program now links directly to nvcuda.dll.
 - Improved error handling and reporting

Rendering fails with NVIDIA R256 driver branch (using any device) - the list is growing  :P

3D-Tech News Around The Web / oclHashcat v0.21
« on: June 26, 2010, 10:06:18 AM »
oclHashcat Features

    * Free
    * Multi-GPU
    * Multi-Hash
    * Linux & Windows native binaries
    * Uses OpenCL
    * Fastest multihash MD5 cracker on NVidia cards
    * Fastest multihash MD5 cracker on ATI 5xxx cards
    * Supports wordlists (not limited to Brute-Force / Mask-Attack)
    * Can mix wordlists with Mask-Attack to emulate Hybrid-Attacks
    * Runs very cautious, you can still watch movies while cracking
    * Kernel workload can be configured while cracking
    * Supports pause / resume
    * Supports huge numbers of hashes (4 million and more)
    * Able to work in a distributed environment
    * Includes hashcats entire rule engine to modify wordlists on start
    * ... and much more

Download latest version

GPU Driver and SDK Requirements:

    * NV users require ForceWare 195.x.
    * ATI users require Catalyst 10.4 and ATI Stream SDK v2.1.

Today NVIDIA released version 3.1 of the CUDA Toolkit, providing developers with improved performance and programming flexibility.  Features include access to CUDA memory for third party devices as well as new SDK code samples.

3D-Tech News Around The Web / OpenCL 1.1 changes compared to 1.0
« on: June 25, 2010, 10:40:07 PM »
This blog-entry is of interest for you, if you don’t want to read the whole new specifications for OpenCL 1.1

To keep your adrenaline pumping while waiting for SIGGRAPH to start, here's a few juicy bits of inspiration:

Simulating Real-world Film Lighting Techniques in 3D
Light, shadows, and rendering play together to create realism in your 3D models. Learn to bring these art techniques into your 3D scenes to create compelling cinematic views.

Creating UVs for Characters in Autodesk Maya
Regardless of whether you're using a model in a real-time environment or as part of a rendered sequence, here are some tips and tricks to making UV mapping work efficiently.

Dynamic Volumetric Cloud Rendering for Games on Multi-Core Platforms
Learn how the LuckyCloud demo implemented a solution for real-time dynamic simulation and illumination of clouds that didn't impact performance during game play.

The Platform Preview is an early look at the Internet Explorer 9 platform so some features are incomplete, some may change, and some may be added.

AMD and NVIDIA took a look at the GPU acceleration.

Try the fishy crowd rendering  ;D

VideoLAN and the VLC development team are proud to present the first major release of the 'The Luggage' branch of the popular media player and media framework.
This release brings many major improvements, especially: GPU and DSP decoding on selected platforms, new support for codecs, demuxers and muxers, Lua extensions and Lua content extensions (luaSD), improved interfaces, Video Output rework, removal of lots of modules, rewrite of many in order to improve performance, in CPU, RAM and I/O. It introduces also new libVLC and new bindings and improves the port on many platforms.

What's new?
Ready for HD

    * GPU decoding on Windows Vista and 7, using DxVA2 for H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2
    * GPU decoding on GNU/Linux, using VAAPI for H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2
    * DSP decoding using OpenMax IL, for compatible embedded devices
    * Improved support for MKV HD, including seeking fixes, and 7.1 channels codecs
    * Support for new codecs, like Blu-Ray subtitles, MPEG-4 lossless and VP8

NB: so far, on Windows, VideoLAN is recommending nVidia® GPU, until ATI® drivers are working with VLC on Windows, and until VLC developer get access to some Intel® hardware supporting GPU decoding.

Quick test:
the GTX 465 can run a 1080p movie at 6.4-fold speed without artifacts.

3D-Tech News Around The Web / NVIDIA Texture Tools 2.08 available
« on: June 22, 2010, 05:53:16 PM »
The NVIDIA Texture Tools is a set of high-quality, CUDA-enabled texture tools and compressors that can increase your texture compression performance by 10x by using the power of your NVIDIA GPU. The texture tools also contain an excellent CPU texture compression path.

The accompanying source code page for the book GPU Pro is now available.

Download Example Programs and Source Code

To compile many of the examples you will need to install the DirectX August 2009 SDK
together with Visual Studio 2008. In the zipped file, the directory structure closely follows
the book structure by using the chapter number as the name of the subdirectory.

General System Requirements

To use all of the files, you will need:

    * The DirectX August 2009 SDK
    * OpenGL 1.5-compatible graphics card
    * A DirectX 9.0 or 10-compatible graphics card
    * Windows XP with the latest service pack; some require VISTA or Windows 7
    * Visual C++ .NET 2008
    * 2048 MB RAM
    * The latest graphics card drivers

3D-Tech News Around The Web / NVIDIA Inspector 1.90 available
« on: June 21, 2010, 02:26:47 PM »
Biggest change since 1.70 is the R256+ style profile setting.

Download here

DMP Pica200 wiill be the GPU in Nintendo 3DS handheld.
It supports OpenGL ES1.1

Watch demo video here


OpenCL v1.1 pre-release drivers and SDK code samples are now available to GPU Computing registered developers.
Log in or apply for an account to download OpenCL v1.1 today.

P.S. driver version is 258.19

In the modern world it is not enough to create a hardware that is supposed to deliver high performance. In order to ensure efficient operation, software should be tailored for hardware and vice-versa. Today we are talking with AMD’ Neal Robison, David Hoff, and Richard Huddy

Full story at x-bit labs

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