Monthly Archives: August 2006

Uniform Arrays in GLSL

A new version of the Soft Shadows Benchmark is available but this time using uniform arrays to pass the blurring kernel to the pixel shader. On nVidia boards, there is a little increase of speed (1 or 2 fps). On my X700… black screen… Houston, we’ve got a problem… This is with Catalyst 6.6. Okay I try the very latest Catalyst, the 6.7. Bad idea, it’s worse! Both versions (with and without uniform arrays) do not work anymore with C6.7. Back to C6.6. That really sucks! :thumbdown:

But I’ve just received a feedback telling me that the uniform arrays version works fine on an ATI X1600 Pro with C6.5. :thumbup:

Okay, there is certainly a problem with the X*** series and uniform arrays.


Soft Shadows are Great!

I’ve just finihed to implement soft-shadows in the new oZone3D Engine. And I must say that soft shadows bring a huge amount of realism and credibility to 3d scenes. See for yourself:

The oZone3D tech demo is available here: Soft Shadows Demo

You can consider this demo as a little benchmark. Just start the oZone3D_SoftShadows_Benchmark.exe and look at the FPS in the title bar. With my current devstation I got the following score:

PC1: AMD64 3500+ / 1024M DDR400 / Radeon X700Pro 128M Catalyst 6.6 / WinXpsp2: 5 FPS :thumbdown:

Soft shadows are very GPU consuming but they are the future of 3D! So to make the most of soft shadows, update your graphics card!


ATI and Depth Map Filtering

I’ve just found in the super paper of ATI, called “ATI OpenGL Programming and Optimization Guide” that all ATI GPUs from the R300 (Radeon 9700) to the latest R580 (Radeon X1900) only support NEAREST (and the mipmap version) filtering for depth map. That explains the previous results. So if you want a nVidia-like depth map filtering, you have to code the filtering yourself in the pixel shader. Okay, this answer suits me!


Depth Map Filtering – ATI vs NVIDIA

Really ATI has some problems with OpenGL. Now I’m working on soft shadows and my tmp devstation has a Radeon X700 (not the top-notch I know but an enough powerful CG). With my X700 (Catalyst 6.6) the soft shadow edges are rendered as follows:

And on my second CG, a nVidia 6600gt (forceware 91.31), the soft shadows are as follows:

The GLSL shaders are the same, a 5×5 bluring kernel, with a shadow map (or depth map as you want) of 1024×1024 (via a FBO) with a linear filtering. Now if I set the nearest filtering mode, I get the following results for the X700:

and for the 6600gt:

It seems as if the Radeon GPU has a bug in the filtering module when the gpu has to apply a linear filter on a depth map. Very strange.
I’m not satisfied by this explanation but it’s the only I see for the moment.

This kind of problem shows how it’s important for a graphics developer to have at least 2 workstations, one with a nVidia board and the other with an ATI CG. I tell you, realtime 3D is made of blood, sweat and screams! :winkhappy:


NPOT Textures

It’s nice to come back to code!

I’m currently working on a new and simple framework for my OpenGL experimentations before implementing the algorithms in the oZone3D Engine . RaptorGL is a little bit too heavy for simple tests so for the moment I drop it. This new framework I called XPGL (eXPerimental Graphics Library), allows me to quickly test the new algos I’m working on. Every time I have to code a little but fully operational 3D demo in c++/opengl, I spend lot of time for a small result. In these moments, I say to myself that Hyperion is a very cool tool.

Okay, let’s see a weird behavour of radeon gpu. At the moment, my graphics controller is a Radeon X700. With the latest catalyst drivers (6.6), this graphics board should be an OpenGL 2.0 compliant CG. A little check to the GL_VERSION tells me the X700 is GL2 compliant. Then the X700 should handle non power of two texture since this feature is part of the OpenGL 2.0 core. But the GL_ARB_texture_non_power_of_two string is not found in the GL_EXTENSIONS. Maybe ATI does not mention the extensions that are part of the core. Anyways, I loaded a 600×445 npot-texture on a mesh plane and the X700 seems to support this texture. But with a ridiculous fps of 1… Software codepath? I think so! So I decided to load the same texture with power of two dims (512×512) and the fps is become decent again. With my gf6600gt (with the forceware 91.31) I never noticed this effect/bug because the GL2-support is better and nVidia gpus correctly support non power of two texture. You can download the demo with the npot and pot texture (the one mapped onto the mesh plane) hereafter and do the test for yourself. Feel free to drop me a feedback if you wish.

NPOT_Demo.zip (659k)

But keep in mind that graphics hardware is optimized for POT textures. Try to use POT textures in order to maximize your chances to see your demo running everywhere.