Spineless-mush wrote:Then again, who said player models in the future are going to use polygons?
We went from sprites to polygon models. Who knows what's next (actual rounded surfaces rendered in real time?)...
That would be curved tesselated surfaces in real-time....it was a concept used in Quake III Arena but was indeed over-exagerrated and was plunged with terrible issues. Ray-tracing would be the solution to properly form vertices in curved surfaces, and we don't have ray-tracing dedicated graphics hardware now do we.
I guess the next step would be to calculate player, or characters all in the surface normals instead of relying on limited and very CPU intensive (as well as vertex shader intensive, although CPU would have to deal with anisotropically lit vertex skinning) displacement mapping. First was texture mapping, then bump mapping (emboss in 1, 2, or 3 passes, EMBM).....then normal mapping (DOT 3 rendering).....and further more diffuse and specular components (to set the colour and level of shine of a surface), then a parrallax map (to calculate the offset and heightmap of a surface in order to achieve true irregularities on surfaces). This seems like the next step:
Now it seems with that rendering method all the geometry storing displacement mapping data can be stored in a single
relief map by combining both a depth map and fragment offsets in a single texture while getting self-shadowing generation (automatic) for free. In about a year or so I see 3D real-time games or apps using that technique. At the cost of ~600 pixel shader instructions (~200 for surface fragment generation, ~400 for self-shadowing generation). That means you'll need an R420 or NV40 kiddies to run this kind of effect. PS/VS 2.a, 2.b or 3.0.
Or we could burden the pixel shader with a volumetric procedural texture map that not only takes up huge chunks of texture memory but seriously destroys your frame-rate at the cost of real 3D textures. However it is cool as you can generate this kind of texture dynamically in a shader program instead of painstakingly hand-painting it in photoshop or whatever. All without having to alter the verticies of an object.
Here's a nice example of procedural texture mapping:
Looks nice, doesn't it?