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Post news RSS Schein presents: The Shading Show

Once more our engine pro­gram­mer Phil­ipp enter­tains us with some short recor­dings of his work. Don’t miss this short "shading show”!

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Posted in Engine Programming | Mar 13, 2013 | by Phil­ipp Schä­fer

In every one of my last arti­cles I tal­ked about shaders in some way. This time I deci­ded to make it the main topic. So what is so spe­cial about them? In short: they are the algo­rithms that define how our game data is visua­li­zed. If you want some spe­cial effects or just a dif­fe­rent than nor­mal light cal­cu­la­tion – there is no way around them.
I also men­tio­ned ren­der tar­gets. Ren­der tar­gets can be descri­bed as a non-visible screen in the gra­phic card which you can ren­der on. Those ren­der tar­gets can be stored in a tex­ture and be reu­sed in future ren­de­ring steps.
Both these tools enable not only total free­dom of the visual appearance of the game but are also good tools to modify the game’s GPU needs. They are fur­ther­more hel­pful to debug the beha­vior and data of the ren­de­ring.
To under­stand the power of these tools I’d like to pre­sent this collec­tion of ren­de­ring clips. In most cases there is just one option, line or para­me­ter out of the box.

The key to grea­ter shading is to see your tex­tures as more than a collec­tion of data. A com­mon use is bump map­ping, where the pro­per­ties of a sur­face are stored in a tex­ture. Typi­cally these methods are used to enhance rea­lism, whe­reas we star­ted to use them more and more to enhance fan­tasy …an example for this are our new trees in the red world, which have ani­ma­ted veins. Look out for them in our next Dev-Demo update!


To be honest, most of that hurts my eyes. That happens if you just change color values and hue to crazy amounts. It looks interesting for a second and then it just becomes random.

Ideally, these features should be to enhance the different aspects you want the player to see. Right now it either confuses me or just doesn't look appealing enough.

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ZeppelinStudio Author

Hello SinKing,
Sorry to have hurt your eyes! I think you misunderstand the intention of this video however. These confusing, and in your case even painful, scenes are in no way part of our actual game. We merely want to share our experience during development. These are some effects we achieved unintentionally while experimenting with different shading effects. We found them quite amusing, so we figured, why not share the fun we have with you!
We hoped some of you would cherish the confusing and chaotically beautiful results a few lines of code can create quite unintentionally. I for my part find it absolutely fascinating. ;)

So, avert your eyes, if you are easily pained by crazy color and hue-changes! And don't miss our Dev-Demo update - for there you will see the (hopefully visually appealing) results of all these experiments.

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