PBR on the Horizon

Due to having no laptop 🙁 this past week, I decided to do some research on Physically Based Rendering.

I’d been planning to tackle something along these lines since I first created 666’s material system back in 2003. Back then, I’d been inspired by id’s Quake material system, and created my own extensible one that could allow a material to be assigned ‘properties’ – like metal, wood, etc. The idea back then was to tailor sound effects to the material, so you would get the appropriate ‘walking on wood/metal’ effects, and so on without an artist/level designer having to pither about doing extra markup. They just apply a ‘metal class’ material to the level floor where they want it, and voila. Clank, clank, clank.

When I started tinkering with Newton SDK for physics, the material system came into play again – allowing me to easily add physical interaction characteristics – rubber bouncing off metal, wood to wood, etc.

It was obvious that once you define a material – say ‘shiny metal’ – then it’s pointless having to have artists recreate it every time, in subtly different ways. This is typically required with the various lighting requirements for different game formats, and I wanted to establish a proper metal material which could be used in any game circumstance, in night or day.

By the time I got to seriously thinking about implementing it of course, PBR had evolved from ray-tracing land into real-time! Not that I’d have done any better, or been any cleverer! but it’s saved me a lot of experimenting and anguish 🙂

Anyway, laptop is now back safely in my hands (and yes, still crashing every 30 seconds to 3 minutes despite a brand new logic/motherboard)… so I’m now experimenting with upgrading 666 to support PBR, with a view to improving Dom’s model rendering code somewhat.

Long story short… I’ll be doing an article to summarise the PBR findings, as I’ve found plenty of resources for creating the art content required, but shockingly few programmer oriented resources. So I’m intending to add one to the mix 🙂


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Author: Mak View all posts by

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