Light Lands

August 29, 2018 at 11:04 am | Posted in Computer path | 3 Comments
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Light Lands is a peaceful retro inspired exploration and puzzle bedroom coder GAME for PC with procedural algebraic visuals and sounds. Light Lands has CPU pathtraced (raytraced) interactive spectral graphics with full scene realtime global illumination on unlimited dynamic surface/volumetric lights and includes a benchmark option. Has music by Yerzmyey, It’s the second entry of the Hidden History Saga after Vector Vaults and looks like this:

System requirements

The thing to remember is that the CPU core count/speed is what dictates the graphic quality. On the other hand the graphic card has a negligible impact on performance:

  • Operating system: Windows 64 bits.
  • CPU: 4 or more FAST cores, the more the BETTER.
  • RAM: 4 Gigabytes (more RAM may be needed for high core count CPUs).
  • Console style game pad with two analog sticks is HIGHLY recommended (although Light Lands may be played with just mouse and keyboard).
  • Graphic card with OpenGl 3.3 or higher. Does NOT use DirectX, DXR API nor NVIDIA RTX.

Physical copy

The full game is available for free as a download at the end of this post, but if you find yourself compelled to posses a professionally pressed CD physical edition (DRM free) please follow this easy steps:

  1. You are advised to download and play Light Lands before buying it in order for you to asses speed performance on your hardware.
  2. Orders should be directed at alberto.rd.mr@gmail.com with subject ‘Light Lands physical edition’ and clearly specifying name and shipping address. Be sure to write from your PayPal email as this is the payment method. The game costs 21€ with international free shipping.

This is how the Light Lands pressed CD physical edition looks like (please note this is a professional injection mold CD):

Inside Light Lands technology

Light Lands is a photon simulation environment which uses Raydiant++ graphic engine through the lightspectering rendering module. It doesn’t draw each frame, instead they emerge as a byproduct of synthetic photons accumulating on a virtual photographic plate. It’s an ongoing interactive Monte Carlo simulation. Representation quality is linearly proportional to CPU power: Raydiant++ will take all cores/threads and max out your CPU. Light Lands is retro itself in the sense that in order to use this graphic technology at 2018 the display resolution is kept low, not unlike 8 bit games. You may think of the low resolution and noise of Light Lands in a similar way as other retro systems anomalies like ZX Spectrum color attribute clash or Amstrad CPC mode 0 ludicrously wide pixels: the result of technology limitations at the moment of making the games. Light Lands feels retro at 2018 because it uses technology for the future?.

The lightspectering technique has some parallelisms to jpeg compression. The jpeg algorithm recognizes that the lightness (gray scale) information of an image needs far more quality/detail than the color. So it separates both and devotes more resources to represent lightness than to color. Lightspectering is a collection of techniques tweaked to work together to achieve something similar on a interactive stream of images of a live user controlled camera. In this case is proposed that it’s more important to represent in a lagless way the effects of user controlled camera movement on the live image stream than the effects of world change. For world change we mean: lighting conditions change and object movement/morphing. So lightspectering allows for the camera movements to be reflected instantly on the live image stream. Then the lightning and object changes are progressively reflected and updated at a lower rate as allowed by the available CPU power. Thus we can produce interactive 3D games with full scene realtime global illumination on unlimited dynamic surface and volumetric lights on current (2015) hardware. With lightspectering the 3D graphics card is used lightly to keep frame rate constant by artificially increasing inter frame coherence dynamically only when needed depending on the complexity of the scene and the power of the CPU, hence making it possible to raytrace our way trough 30/60/… fps of global illumination game play on an open world without LOD or fog-limit. Lightspectering reduces the computing power needed to real time path trace a scene by orders of magnitude, dynamically. A drawback of lightspectering on not powerful enough CPUs is an added effect similar to motion blur.

Light Lands is tuned to work on an average 2015 i7, so it’s lowres. Still it gives a feel now for what it can be done in the near future. Another way of making this technology available now in HD and without noise would be through a cloud service. Raydiant++ engine is specially suitable for this as its performance grows linearly with server count. Raydiant++ has several rendering modes like global illumination, classic raytracing, preview mode… . The classic raytracer mode is around 30 times faster than the global illumination mode. I considered whether to use classic raytracing for Light Lands because it has no noise, gives realtime good resolution and has good hard shadows. In the end I decided towards global illumination because it’s more of an improvement over traditional hardware accelerated 3D game rendering.

As lightspectering method accurately calculates recursive refraction and reflexion it’s specially suitable for VR. Also lightspectering allows to select image quality on a per pixel basis which may be useful to leverage pupil tracking as a mean to devote more computing power to where the user is looking to on each moment and less to his peripheral vision zone.

On Raydiant++ engine no LOD is needed and light phenomena happen naturally (no need for constant tricks): recursive reflection, recursive refraction, focus, dispersion, caustics, global illumination, iridescence and more. Because of the efficient use of available SMP on current and coming modern powerful CPUs it may be of interest to Intel and AMD for this technology to go mainstream, since it will justify the need to get as many CPU cores as possible thus reversing modern trend to push for better graphics cards and shifting interest to CPU instead.

Raydiant++ is not restricted to drawing triangles, the limit is your imagination. These are some of the graphic specimens currently available:

  • Box.
  • Fractal procedural mountains (with no memory footprint).
  • Superquadric.
  • Superquadric specialized for integer exponents.
  • Solid cylinder.
  • Cylinder surface.
  • Elliptical cylinder.
  • Bit matrix.
  • Solid cone.
  • Cone surface.
  • Elliptical washer.
  • Sphere.
  • Heart.
  • Ellipsoid.
  • Cylindrical helicoid, right handed and left handed.
  • Elliptic cylindrical helicoid, right handed and left handed.
  • Box helicoid, right handed and left handed.
  • Infinite plane.
  • Alberto’s torus box.
  • Triangle mesh.
  • Polygon mesh.
  • Revolution polyline surface.
  • Convex polyhedron.
  • Generic polyhedron (with holes and non connected).
  • Elliptical torus.
  • Alberto’s groove ellipsoid.
  • Alberto’s bumpy sphere.
  • Alberto’s cos ellipsoid.

On the procedural front among the many generation functions the a-maze function family can be heard and seen throughout the game from the menus to the stages.

Development

Light Lands is coded in C++ through an IBM Model M keyboard on a PC surrounded by 8, 16, 32 and 64 bit retro systems and has been possible thanks to:

  • Bjarne Stroustrup: C++ father.
  • GCC: real C++ compiler.
  • Boost: C++ libraries.
  • SFML: nice portable multimedia libraries.
  • Inno Setup by Jordan Russell.
  • Linux: best OS there is.
  • ‘Texture and modeling: a procedural approach’ by David S. Ebert, F. Kenton Musgrave, Darwyn Peachey, Ken Perlin and Steven Worley.
  • Xolonium fonts: by Severin Meyer.
  • Bfxr: by increpare.
  • WinRun4J: rcedit.exe tool.
  • MinGW-w64: GCC Windows compiler.
  • KDevelop: IDE.
  • Ubuntu: Linux flavor.
  • DejaVu Fonts.
  • GDB.
  • Glew.
  • GLM.
  • GNU.
  • Mate: no nonsense desktop GUI.
  • Gnome classic: no nonsense desktop GUI.
  • OpenGl.
  • GIMP.
  • Stack Overflow.
  • gedit.
  • LMMS.
  • Audacity.
  • and many more…

Troubleshooting

  • If you have difficulty launching the game this is probably because you have ‘.js’ files associated to an action different from executing. Just go to ‘Program Files\Light Lands\multi-soliton\build\’, right click multi-soliton.exe and ‘Run as administrator’ (thanks to fibs111 for pointing this out).

Download the full game:

         mirror 1: Light Lands

         mirror 2: Light Lands

Flying over the stained glass mountains

December 18, 2011 at 11:10 am | Posted in Computer path | 1 Comment
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The following video has been rendered with Raydiant over a period of 3 and a half days and It’s composed of around 3000 frames. The camera path was graphically edited inside Raydiant using 3er degree polynomial splines to smoothly interpolate location, orientation, speed and fov. To enrich the visual feedback during the camera path designing the render mode was set to full global illumination, giving around a frame per second at low resolution. This way the real refraction/reflections and global lightning were taken into account in order to create the video. This is the first Raydiant made video and all it’s geometry was automatically generated inside the engine using its procedural API from a digital photo of the Brandenburg Gate. This was done at Cutemosaic. Special thanks for the music go to the group ‘El perro de nadie’ (http://elperrodenadie.foroactivo.com).

Colorado: interactive raytraced unlimited geometry

September 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Posted in Computer path | 2 Comments
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Mathematical operation sequences had been described for a ray to be realtime checked against all sort of geometries, basic (spheres, polyhedron, cylinders, torus…) and complex (clouds, classical fractals, trees…). The use of procedurally generated recursively inscribed bounding volumes offers a great creative canvas to improve along this line. The following is a realtime raytraced demo of a mountain landscape composed of slightly more than 17 trillion truncated triangular prisms (specifically 17.592.186.044.416). Also, truncated irregular triangular prisms are used as bounding volumes. There’s currently no LOD mechanism in place, every geometry is considered each frame. The 3D procedural texture is combination of 2D and 1D fractal turbulence splines mapped to a suitable color palette and has no LOD control. The demo runs on Raydiant, a general purpose light tracer not particularly optimized for real time. The default Colorado demo quality is preview and you can take high quality global illumination snapshots at any time that, depending on resolution, can last anything from 5 minutes to several hours (so start trying it at low resolution). Camera is controlled with the keyboard. This binary executable is for Linux and uses a Qt 4.6.2 GUI. Because those 17 trillion prisms exist as a potentiality defined by an algorithm they use no RAM. That’s a good thing because to store all prisms around 1 petabyte of RAM would be required. Colorado runs entirely on CPU, so you are strongly advised to execute it on a powerful multicore processor with 4 or more kernels. Raydiant performance grows linearly with kernel count. The binary has been tested on Ubuntu 10.04. The GUI provides you with help about the camera movement and means to change resolution. As the GUI is still at alpha stage mess with it at your own risk. More info about Raydiant is available at previous posts at this blog and at ompf. To get personalized renders from the engine this online service is available. Note that Colorado is different from what Euclideon is doing. Colorado is a raytracer and could have used *any* combination of geometry types: spheres, cylinders, torus, triangles, polyhedrons, polygons, bit matrix, washers, quadrics, points…
I found it difficult to grasp the meaning of elevated quantities like 17 trillion, to help me see what it amounts to this zooming sequence with a factor of approximately x4 million has been developed:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Download Colorado here, execute Colorado.sh and please mind this instructions. How to select the antialiassing level. How to make global illumination snapshots.

Should circumstances allow it (meaning time is available) I intend to release a very simple concept game taking place on a large scenario, may be with real time completely dynamic global illumination over unlimited light sources.

Mosaics mosaics mosaics

February 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Computer path | Leave a comment
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After some fine tuning, the mosaics produced by the Raydiant engine at http://cutemosaic.com are now showing for what they are: full global illumination 3D renders. Try any of this images at full resolution and see for yourself. And remember to do it with your photos for free at cutemosaic.com. Also there is a new improved web interface.

Cute mosaic for you

January 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Posted in Computer path | 1 Comment
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After some time at last a public server is ready to attend petitions for personalized mosaics rendered with Raydiant engine. There are almost 300 different configurations to choose from. The resulting mosaic can have up to 24 megapixels. No need to register, just configure your mosaic (the finnish method ‘Realistic’ is a full-fledge-no-tricks global illumination render of the composed mosaic), upload your photo and specify the mail where you want to receive the finished mosaic. Your feedback is most welcome. The web in question is cutemosaic.com. Let me know if you find it fun!

Intimacity, rare tracks

June 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Posted in Computer path | Leave a comment
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Over a hundred renders of the Intimacity landscape have been performed till now. Two of them have made it to the final stage and won the price (the price meaning being rendered at HQ and published at deviant art here and here) and at least one more is following soon (waiting for a Zalman cooling device for my main PC and another i7 is coming so I can keep programming while rendering with it). But there are a few of the unselected renders that are still interesting. Thankyou all for the support!

The opposite river bank, zooms

May 19, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Posted in Computer path | Leave a comment
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A new picture has been added to the collection at the art tab. Its name is ‘The opposite river bank’, depicts a copper veined marble landscape based on a variant of Alberto’s Maze function. These are some zoomed details of the high definition printable version here. The Raydiant engine has been used to render it. This particular view of the scenario was obtained during a real time full global illumination interactive walk.

Intimacity: the picture

May 2, 2010 at 10:11 am | Posted in Computer path | Leave a comment
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The definitive version of the Intimacity synthetic image is finalized. The printable one has 27 megapixel making for a very good definition on larger impressions (deviantart). My wife Maria has cooked some close ups to show several interesting details all over the city. I’ve spent hours looking around small areas of the landscape, the lighting varies subtlety allowing the pieces to have different appearances due to heterogeneous surrounding distributions. This scene has a complex global illumination equilibrium.

Real time Raydiant

February 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Posted in Computer path | Leave a comment
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Ok, now that Raydiant is working I’m using it to render some images developed with the previous Raydiosity engine. But this time in high resolution. So they can be printed in large formats. The results are being posted at albertoven.deviantart.com. In the process the realtime interactive no precalc full global illumination capabilities are fun to use. Of course the quality and resolution of the render is reduced consequently, but even so the feeling of those walks is something enjoyable. Here are various examples of real time walks, some with global illumination, other in raytraced preview mode (in very decent resolution and frame rate) and some details from the new 25 megapixel ‘fold the bar three leaf clover’.

Raydiant: realtime mutithreaded global illumination

November 8, 2009 at 11:04 am | Posted in Computer path | Leave a comment
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The global illumination tracer module has been finally completed/debugged and is working. So the new ideas applied to Raydiant engine about realtime steradian controled stem count to improve performance are now proved to be useful. Also the generic multithreaded tracer than can hold any other tracer inside (like the global illumination one) and transparently clone it and make it work at any number of threads simultaneously without synchronization penalties is completed and debugged. The result is that now you can interactively move yourself around in a synthetic scenario with true realtime global illumination in a i7. This opens far-reaching possibilities: games that look as if you where there is one I’m really attracted to. Also now that Fermi platform from Nvidia is here the Raydiant engine can be compiled at one of those 512 CPU cards and see what happends… . Because there is no precalcs the scene lights can be instantly moved around. And any number of ligths can be put at a secenario with no performance penalty, in fact is the inverse. On some of these screenshots the new light dispersion capability of the Raydiant engine can be clearly appreciated.

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