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Richard Plant

Richard is Computerworld’s Junior Content Manager and occasional reporter and blogger, responsible for making sure the site is full of the latest and greatest technology news from around the world. Richard joined Computerworld from the world of PR, which he likes to think of as like leaving the Empire to join the Rebel Alliance.

His Computerworld UK blog is Windows Watch

Euclideon promises ten thousand times more detailed graphics

I'll believe it when I see it

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Have you seen the technology video that has set the pulse of the web racing? Well, here's your chance:

It's a lovely demonstration (if you ignore the voiceover), but Euclideon's technology many not revolutionise the way graphics are created just yet.

Volumetric pixels, or voxels, are an efficient way of representing a 3D object on a computer screen. Rather than creating a mesh composed of thousands of flat triangles to represent the outline of the object, as polygon-based systems do, the mass is built up from shapes which also extend along the z-axis.

In this way, large amounts of detail can be created with fewer elements, cutting down the computational load require to reach a given level of complexity.

On the downside however, animation and realistic physics have always proved difficult to implement in voxel systems. You may have noticed that the beautiful scenery in the video at the top of this story was remarkably static, with no hint of moving with the wind or in response to avatar movement. There was also a distinct lack of moving characters, or interaction beyond zooming the camera in and out.

Voxels of the past

This approach was used in the 1999 tactical shooter Delta Force 2, where the combination of voxel rendering and tiling allowed the designers to create levels far larger and more detailed than seen in most other contemporary games.

Delta Force 2

For an in-depth discussion of the technical issues at work, consult the discussion on Reddit.

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