Future graphics in games

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Future graphics in games

1: Future graphics in games Cevat Yerli Crytek CEO Anton Kaplanyan Lead researcher

2: Agenda The history: Crytek GmbH Current graphics technologies Stereoscopic rendering Current graphics challenges Graphics of the future Graphics technologies of the future Server-side rendering Hardware challenges Perception-driven graphics

3: The Past - Part 1 March 2001 till March 2004 Development of Far Cry Development of CryEngine 1 Approach: A naïve, but successful push for contrasts, by insisting on opposites to industry. size, quality, detail, brightness First right investment into tools - WYSIWYPlay

4: Past - Part 1: CryEngine 1 Polybump (2001) NormalMap extraction from High-Res Geometry First Per Pixel Shading & HDR Engine For Lights, Shadows & Materials High Dynamic Range Long view distances & detailed vistas Terrain featured unique base-texturing High quality close ranges High fidelity physics & AI It took 3 years, avg 20 R&D Engineers


6: The Past – Part 2 – CryENGINE 2 April 2004 till November 2007 Development of Crysis Development of CryEngine 2 Approach: Photorealism meets interactivity! Typically mutual exclusive directions Realtime productivity with WYSIWYPlay Extremely challenging, but successful

7: CryEngine 2 - Way to Photorealism

8: The Past - Part 2: CryEngine 2 CGI Quality Lighting & Shading Life-like characters Scaleable architecture in Both content and pipeline Technologies and assets allow various configurations to be maxed out! Crysis shipped Nov 2007, works on PCs of 2004 till today and for future. . .

9: The Present - CryEngine 3 CryEngine 3 is build with next-gen in mind Scales through many-core support Performs on PC, Xbox360, PS3, DX11 Built by avg. 25 people over 3 years

10: CryENGINE 3 architecture CryENGINE 2 successor, but now we do Deferred lighting (aka Light Prepass) Lighting in linear space Indirect lighting Coordinated dynamic and precomputed lighting Advanced color correction (artists-driven color charts) Streaming rendering assets (geometry, textures, animation) Run on both consoles (Xbox 360 and Playstation 3) Compressed and minimized bandwidth and memory requirements

11: Why deferred lighting

12: Deferred lighting Good decomposition of lighting No lighting-geometry interdependency Cons: Limited material variations Higher memory and bandwidth requirements Shading problems 2x2 tiles for mip computation fail for any kind of deferred texturing (projective light textures, decals etc. )

13: Deferred pipelines bandwidth


15: How to design for the future? Facts Fixed Resolution for Gaming till 2012 HD 1920 x 1080 60 fps Stereoscopic 3D experience: 30 fps per eye Limited by current consoles hardware Risk of Uncanny Valley for content Perception-driven approaches! Till 2012 majority of games must use artistic style, physics and AI to differentiate! Whats the current artistic style? Desaturate colors?

16: Graphics architecture Breakthroughs in rendering architecture are not easy Proved multiple times by hardware vendors Especially multiple recent tries with software renderer Trails along with a huge infrastructure Outcome of a many-years development experience Graphics architecture will be much more divergent Do we really want to write our own software renderer? Coming back to old good techniques like voxels, micropolygons etc.

17: How to design for the future? Alternatives that will brand some games in future: Point Based Rendering Ray Tracing Rasterization, as usual Micropolygons Data representations: Sparse Voxel Octrees (data structure) Sparse Surfel Octrees

18: Graphics in Future Sparse Voxel Octrees (Datastructure) Pros Data structure is future proof for alternative rendering Very good fit for unique geometry & texture Geometry and texture budgets become less relevant Artistic freedom becomes true Naturally fits to automatic LOD schemes Cons Neither infrastructure nor h/w Slightly memory intensive Fits nicely to Ray-tracing, but is still too slow

19: Sparse Voxel Octree Usage in CryEngine 3 We already use it in production!! Used during level export to bake geometry and textures Stored in a sparse octree of triangulated sectors Very easy to manage and stream geometry and textures No GPU computations required (despite virtual texturing) Automatic correct LOD construction Adaptive geometric and texture details Depending on the gameplay Huge space on disk for each level! Use aggressive texture compression Bake wisely, not the whole world

20: Sparse Voxel Octree Usage in CryEngine 3

21: Opportunities in Future Short-term user impact opportunities till 2012 The delta in visual opportunities is limited, BUT. . . for the next 3 Years: Huge gains are possible in Physics, AI and Simulation of Special Effects Focus around that knowledge can lead to very different designs Mid-erm 2013 creative opportunities Future console generations New Rendering Methods will become available The renaissance of graphics will arrive Allows new visual development directions that will rival full CGI feature films qualty Action point: Link yourself to console cycle


23: Perception-driven graphics PCF-based soft shadows Stochastic OIT Image-based reflections Ambient Occlusion (SSAO, prebaked etc. ) Most posteffect (DoF, motion blur approximations) Light propagation volumes Many stochastic algorithms most of assumptions in real-time graphics All that works because of the limited human perception

24: Real-time graphics is perception-driven Humans eye has some specialities 350 Mpixel spatial resolution Quite hard to trick it in this area 24 Hz temporal resolution Very low, a room for techniques We dont notice the flickering 40Hz We dont create an image for another machine, our target customer is a human

25: Under-sampling / super-sampling Spatial Undersampling Inferred shading Depth of field Decoupled sampling Temporal Temporal anti-aliasing Motion blur Mixed Spatio-temporal anti-aliasing

26: Hybrid rendering There is no panacea rendering pipeline Even REYES is not used in its original form for movies Hybrid pipeline is possible on the current gen GPUs Will be even more topical for new generation of consoles Usually combines everything that matches and helps Ray-tracing for reflections and shadows Could be triangles / point sets / voxel structures / etc. Voxels for better scene representation (partially) Screen-space contact effects (e. g. reflections) Much much more (a lot of ideas)


28: 3D stereoscopic rendering Technique was there for a long time Becomes popular due to technologies, in games too No new concepts, similar to photography art though One golden rule: dont make the audience tired Crysis 2 already has a 1st class 3D Stereo support Use the depth histogram to determine the interaxial distance:

29: Supported stereo modes in CryENGINE 3 Stereo rendering modes Brute-force stereo rendering Central eye frame with reprojection Experimental stochastic rendering from one of eyes Stereo output modes Anaglyph (color separation) Interlaced Horizontal joint images Vertical joint images Two monitors

30: Stereo video


32: Server-side rendering 4G networks have a good ground for that Low ping – a strong requirement for real-time games Will be widely deployed in 5-7 years Compression of synthesized video Temporally decompose the video details Use perception-based importance Salience maps user-side eye-tracking Need to amortize cloud-rendering cost per user:

33: Example of perception-driven graphics


35: Highly parallel scheduling Small synthetic test (simulate GPU behavior) 512 cores (could be interpreted as slots of shared cache too) 32k small identical tasks to execute Each item requires 1 clock on one core (so synthetic) Within a range of 256 to 2048 threads Scheduling overhead is taken into account in total time Task feeding Context switches Overhead weight is not important

36: Highly parallel scheduling

37: Highly parallel scheduling Another test Real GPU! Screen-space effect (SSAO) Bandwidth-intensive pixel shader Each item requires 1 clock on one core (so synthetic) Within a range of 5 to 40 threads Cache pollution causes a peak right after the saturation state The time reaches the saturation performance with more threads asymptotically

38: Highly parallel scheduling

39: Highly parallel scheduling Scheduling overhead can be a problem Parallel scalability With homogenous tasks it comes to maximum at saturation What about heterogeneous workload? The existence of the minimum depends on the performance impact of scheduling We need to reduce it Configurable hardware scheduler! GRAMPS-like architectures are possible with it Ray tracing becomes much faster and SoL with bandwidth bottleneck

40: Atomics Atomics came from CPU hardware Used to build synchronization primitives in Oses Works only on integers Provides result of operation We need absolutely different atomics!!! We use it mostly for gather/scatter operations MUST work on floating point numbers instead! In most cases no result needed Improve atomics w/o read-back (fire-and-forget concept) Operation should be done on memory controller / smart memory side We need order of magnitude faster performance for graphics atomics

41: Future performance PS3 and Xbox 360 are in-order by optimizing for consoles we also speed up PC not really, we invest only into current consoles Whats the next generation of consoles? Larrabee 2 and Fermi ARE in-order Should we rewrite the architecture again? Death of Out-of-Order architecture? No way! Game platform will remain heterogeneous Related to different game subsystems (game code vs rendering) Many new parallel languages and paradigms OpenCL, GRAMPS, C0x, OpenMP, TBB, ConcRT, Ct Backwards scalability is a challenge

42: Future performance

43: Textures Quantization / color depth? BC6/7 delivers, but DX11-hw only

44: Challenges of Future Technology challenges Switching to a scaleable codebase Think of parallelism & async jobs Multithreading, scheduling Larger codebases, multiple platforms & APIs Production challenges Cost of assets increase by 50 annually Content, besides quality increases, gets more & more interactive Think to improve Tools, Pipelines & Bottlenecks to counter-effect , automate Source Back-Ends Resource Compilers The better the tools, the cheaper and/or the better your output

45: Efficiency We spend too much of computational power per frame! Precision is mostly redundant No need to compute colors in 32-bits floating points Even h/w rasterizers was 12-bits of fixed precision in good old times Humans do not notice the most of the picture in real-time graphics It is a gameplay video rather than a still image Neither we watch it like a movie, games are usually challenging The importance of a particular technology is perception-driven How important are the fully accurate rather very glossy reflections Graphics hardware should challenge incoherent workloads What about profit / development cost ratio? Seems like we already fall into uncanny valley in graphics technologies

46: Scopes Content costs will increase If nothing changes Tools must adapt Smarter & automated pipelines & tools will provide better, faster & valid content data Think procedural content creation 5y. . . gaming graphics will change, but insignificantly in the next 3 years Todays technologies will drive the next 3 years in visual development. The look is still about creativity and using the given resource powers of today 5y. . . realtime gaming graphics will approach to current CGI offline rendering

47: Conclusion Real-time rendering pipeline renovation is around the corner Hardware improvements are required Evolution of current techniques for production real-time rendering Prepare to new representations and rendering pipelines Better infrastructure for parallel development Tools and authoring pipelines needs modernization Consider server-side rendering: could change the direction drastically Perception-driven real-time graphics is a technology driver Avoid uncanny valley in graphics technologies

48: Questions?

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