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Old 10-16-2008, 09:44 PM   #114
feldon34
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Join Date: Dec 2000

Location: Rock Hill, SC
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Lee, all I can say is there are a lot of generalizations, assumptions, and inaccuracies floating around.

Creating a completely realistic, believable environment, such as a jungle, a forest, the ocean, or a coral fishtank which is fully 3D and not limited in some way with camera and texture tricks is something that is only happening on the latest high end hardware (XBox 360 or nVidia 8800+) in the last couple of years. Marine Aquarium 3 has to run on a broad spectrum of hardware and not take 45 seconds to a minute to load.

Marine Aquarium 3 is a compromise only in that the artwork is built in layers which look great from a certain viewpoint. Imagine trying to photograph a sea anemone in such a way that you can wrap a 3D object and view it from all angles. It would require hundreds of photos and thousands of man hours to cut out, stitch together, and process all the photos to have the same lighting and color grading to all match each other. Then you have to map it onto an object with tens of thousands of polygons.

We are just now starting to see believable screen savers that capture an ecosystem and look decent. The best examples I can think of are Lagoon and the new Dutch Windmills from http://www.3planesoft.com/ . I can actually suspend belief when watching them and really enjoy them. But they are not displaying items with hundreds of different angular objects with tiny details. They are displaying fairly large items which are textured better than the competition.

Please don't throw around a comment like a good background for the Aquarium would be "$1000 work" when entire development teams with tens of thousands of dollars worth of budget have tried and failed.
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