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Monday, April 16, 2018

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Adam

I'm a bit of a biased source; but I do know 3D graphics engines, and in my personal opinion shaders aren't a magic bullet. (I say this as someone with a pretty soft spot for SL - I spent many years in there, and wish it the best!)

SL's renderer is ancient - it's a 2001-era engine that has been retrofitted a couple of times to try drag it a little bit further into the modern age; to do this kind of thing justice, you'd have to do a total rewrite of the renderer. The highly optimised renderer that preserves a lot of quirks to ensure rendering compatibility.

Your first problem will be backwards compatibility - upgrading the renderer means replicating all those quirks (e.g. 'invisiprims') - because breaking existing content is a strict 'no'. This is going to make life hard; for two reasons.

1) To light things properly, you need to live in 'linear' colorspace - everything in SL is designed for gamma, and taking gamma content and putting it in linear looks garbage - washed out gray with no vibrancy. Everyone will revolt.

2) Modern rendering now is a purely PBR ("Physically Based Rendering") workflow - to realise the benefits of that, all the content needs to be upgraded to it. Unfortunately, there's no magic "make this PBR" wand - you need to think in terms of materials, not textures; and often PBR materials need 3-5 textures per set, instead of where you only had one or two in the past.

Those need to be created for petabytes of legacy content; and again, if you don't - it looks a bit garbage. Either everything is plastic, clay or metal, or some godawful mix of the three.

This is worse because 'Diffuse' texture maps with lighting baked in, don't look good in PBR (where you need to separate lighting from color information).

Keeping content looking modern for the long term (10+yr horizon) - requires a healthy amount of forethought and planning explicitly for it. More input data than a single texture helps a lot too. (Look at film rendering for hints at what is to come - what they're doing today, games'll be doing in 5-10 years)

That however; is not the only problem, the next problem you're going to face is performance - GI (Global Illumination) can be tackled in a few ways, but due to SL's architecture ("potentially, nothing is static") about 90% of those options are off the table (baked GI is the best in terms of performance) --- you're left with a bunch of realtime voxel solutions which have nasty light leakage on fast moving objects or scenes, or horrendous framerate impacts.

This is compounded by the average system spec, which is now getting quite old; and 'modern' computers tend to be laptops with underpowered Intel chipsets -- your average user does not have a gaming PC.

Finally, the biggest problem is the lack of lighting - modern game scenes often have hundreds of lights within the scene, placed by professional lighting artists to achieve the nice mood lighting you get. SL's existing content doesn't have that because there's no real way to place those kinds of objects within a region easily. Ditto reflection probes and other modern 'tricks' for realistic rendering. (With mostly-static scenes, you can at least do a nice radiosity bake which makes up for this.)

I feel the images/video used actually don't really show the gulf between where modern rendering is at; this is Unity's current tech demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDsRfbfnC_A

The screenshot listed is one of theirs from over 3 years ago... and I'm sure Unreal's current demo is even better (although Unreal has problems with virtual worlds due to content loading/unloading issues) --- that's today, by the time this is implemented (which is a 2+ year project), the technology will be even further ahead --- the brains in rendering these days is jumping all over the realtime raytracing tech Microsoft, AMD and nVidia just announced; which looks potentially phenomenal.

If you want to make this happen, you need to accept that content'll have to be re-authored, or at the very least, tweaked, and "old stuff will look quite bad" - which might be better suited for a '2.0' product where that kind of thing can happen.

Hamlet Au

Holy crap that demo tho

Medhue

No offense to Adeon Writer, but he is COMPLETELY full of shit about the Bento Skeleton. I've made animated animals and Human avatar for almost every game engine. Those very same things that I made for those other engines I also rigged to the Bento skeleton, and released in SL. The Bento Skeleton is not some obscure rig that is different from any other rig. Essentially, a rig is a fucking rig. The Bento rig, and SL system can do FAR more than any rig/system out there, including morph with the SL sliders. Find me another rig that can do that, ANYWHERE!

Custom rig support would be a complete nighmare in SL! It would require a whole new system from the ground up, and NOBODY would fricken buy a Custom rig avatar because the Bento Avatars would be 10 times better, with SL sliders. Not only SL slider, but full integration with the Look At feature, gestures, Lip syncing and all.

AND, you can then take all those BENTO AVATARS, and upload them to any fucking game engine in the world, because like I said, the bento rig is not so different it can't be used elsewhere. Maybe Adeon should stick to shit he actually knows.

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