Noob questions about specials effects, lighting and so on

I’ve discovered some technics with panda3D (it’s fabulous):

  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) with LightRampAttrib.makeHdrX
  • Cartoonshading
  • Antialiasing
  • Shadow mapping (with shaders auto)
  • Environment mapping : sperical and cubical
  • Animated textures with AVI (cool)
  • Bump mapping with normal maps
  • Particle effects (fire, smoke, etc.)
  • other auto shaders : gloss mapping and glow mapping
  • Some filters : blur/sharpen, inverted
  • motion blur from samples
  • Use of 3D glass

I’ve tested Mocap+blender and import successfully, i’ve mastered UV mapping… it’s very simple to import that with panda3D !
also dynamics with ODE, collisions, and recently Panda AI (path finding and behavour) - but i must work on it.

I’ve read a lot of things in the forums and thank you for that.
But i’ve some questions :

  1. I don’t test lightmaps, but i think it functions well, no ?

  2. When Per-Pixel Lighting is activate (or other shader auto), why Ambiant occlusion seems to disapear ? it’s less good with… is it normal ? Can i use dynamic shadow with ambiant occlusion ?

  3. Is there shadow volume ? if not, a shader to do that ?

  4. Do you know a library of shaders that we can use easily in panda ? I can’t use nvidia shaders, is it normal ? (directX 10 must ?) - A special list of personnal Shader Generator ? Some new in CVS version ?

  5. Water effect, i don’t find a simple example (only demomaster), where i can find one ? and to have a underwater effect, vertex shaders with deformations ? looking reflective water surfaces with refraction and Fresnel effects.

  6. To make a beautifull sky with animated clouds, what is the technique ?
    a) Have a textured animated with an AVI with clouds ? (not very well i think)
    b) Use a sort of particle effect with a projected texture in the sky ? some billboards particules (SpriteParticleRenderer) ?
    c) use GeomParticleRenderer ?
    8)What is the buffer image 2D (front buffer) which is drawn to screen ? GraphicsBuffer ? Can i use some graphic filters like some filters of Gimp ? I’ve seen shaders from nvidia to have an “old cinema effect” with lines and other things

  7. Is it possible to do PRT with spherical harmonics ?

  8. Something like Subsurface Scattering ?

  9. In there some special scene Management with LOD ? Do i’ve to program it myself ? Can i simplify a mesh or an animated mesh like under Ogre3D and use it for LOD ? and replace a mesh by a billboard ?

  10. I’ve seen there is some mip-maps automated for textures ? texture.setMinfilter(Texture.FTLinearMipmapLinear). can we choose the level ?

  11. i know how to have a blur effect on a 2 image, but not on a 3D image to make some depth of Field for example. Should i’ve to calculate 2 different scene and have a filter only on one ? But to have a progressive blur with distance ?

  12. how to make an streak and lens flare under panda3D ? a bitmap ?

  13. How to have some raycast of light behind a window (like in church) ? Stencil buffer ? automated ? The english name for that is “volume light” ?

  14. How to make reflection like mirrors (stencil buffer too ?)

  15. How to morph an object in an other ? is there an helpfull function ?
    18)I would like to have some “fog mass”, a sort of cloud of fog, not regular… is it possible with particule system simply ? SpriteParticleRenderer again ?

  16. how to simulate more Radiosity Lighting ?

  17. What sort of effect or technics i’ve missed ? other usefull libs than pandaAI or pandaODE ?

Panda3D is a great tool with a fantastic evolution.

Thanks in advance,

to answer your questions in order:

  1. lightmaps work (of course), either by using fixed function MModulate or by shaders.

  2. afaik you need to enable autoshaders to get ambient occlusion in first place.

  3. most cg or glsl shaders should work with minor tweaks.

  4. panda has LOD switch nodes wich let you set up several pre-made models which will be switched and blended between each other automatically depending on the camera distance.

  5. not by default, your gpu picks the most approriate level. you can enable debug output to see which leve it picked.

  6. cheapest way is to use onscreen-images. there should be tons of old examples for many old engines. the basic rules still apply.

  7. called godrays, buildin into panda’s shader generator

  8. depends on what surface you’r reflecting off, for water and mirror a reflection-camera+buffer will do a great job. for things like reflections of a metallic object or so, a simple reflection sphere/cubemap will do.

  9. no helpful function if you wanna morph the geometry itself.

  10. in realtime, quite hard. most editors allow you to bake lightmaps.

for all unanswered question you might want to learn about general and advanced shader techniques. aswell as having a look at vterrain which still is an excellent recource when it comes to “how to i get effect xy into my application”

advice: games are not about their features. so dont spend too much time to create a feature-rich game which is boring. noone will play it and it’s propably not fun to make it either.

Thanks for your answer,
i try to find myself the others.