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Old 10-16-2008, 05:36 PM   #110
Join Date: Dec 2007

Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 10
Well I have just come back from Florida again and a walk around Seaworld was getting the inspiration going. Just watching the lighting and the motion just made me want to re-create that feeling on the PC. There is something so surreal and beautiful to underwater scenes that above water just can't recreate.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find an email in my inbox about MA3 beta being available. So I downloaded and installed and sat for a while watching. Now I have to remember that this is only a Beta release and that the things I mention here are probably not relevant to the final version. That being said though, what never gets said, get presumed unnoticed, so I would rather say something wrongly than let it go unnoticed. So any corrections to my observations are welcomed and understood.

I think the biggest thing that struck me is that the background has gone 3D but it doesn't really look like it. I think the problem is that because your viewpoint remains parallel to the lateral motion, the only real 3D effect is the parallax between layers. The problem I suspect is that without being able to change the direction you are viewing the aquarium from, you will always see things directly from the front, which kind of forces a 2D representation. Could the answer be to move the viewing position and the focal point independantly so that you can create a perspective shift to enhance the 3D effect? It would be like looking left and right rather than moving left and right.

The other thing I noticed and it was something I was thinking about again tonight, was the movement of the fish. I was sat thinking about food and particle motion and how slowly it all moves (not in MA, in my mental representation of underwater), when I thought, "is the density of the water being taken into account as a damper on the fish's movement in MA?". By that I mean, is any acceleration in a particular direction subject to the damping effect of a more dense environment? Fish move forward easily because of the smaller surface area of the front of the fish (I presume it's why they are the shape they are) but they move sideways with difficulty as there is a larger surface area to push against the water. In MA, they seem to move in all directions with equal ease, which is what got me thinking.

On a final note, I will offer Kudos to you Jim for breaking through the shader barrier. I keep looking at them and stressing but I know that ultimately, it is my next step I have to overcome. It's firmly in the "to do tomorrow" box at the moment and you know the saying about "tomorrow"

It's the one thing that bugs me about being an artist who moved to programming, it's the artistic effects, that programmers find easiest, that we find hardest to grasp... there's something very unfair there.

Then again, I suppose it is easier than calculating the caustics caused by sunlight through the surface of water

Anyway, good luck and I look forward to future versions of MA3.
LeeC22 is offline   Reply With Quote