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August 07, 2011

Sparse Voxel Octree Graphics is Very Detailed but has Drawbacks

An Australian company Euclideon is claiming to be on the verge of a breakthrough in the way computer graphics are created which could increase the amount of detail in video games and other media by 100,000 times.

Euclideon website

Euclidion announced its Unlimited Detail technology in 2010 then disappeared without trace while the tech world called hoax, is back on the scene. The company says it will soon turn the whole world of computer graphics on its head with technology which uses 'little atoms' rather than the more traditional polygons currently used by game designers.

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson says "They're hyping this as something new and revolutionary because they want funding. It's a scam. Don't get excited. Or, more correctly, get excited about voxels, but not about the snake oil salesmen."

They made a voxel renderer, probably based on sparse voxel octrees. That’s cool and all, but.. To quote the video, the island in the video is one km^2. Let’s assume a modest island height of just eight meters, and we end up with 0.008 km^3. At 64 atoms per cubic millimeter (four per millimeter), that is a total of 512 000 000 000 000 000 atoms. If each voxel is made up of one byte of data, that is a total of 512 petabytes of information, or about 170 000 three-terrabyte harddrives full of information. In reality, you will need way more than just one byte of data per voxel to do colors and lighting, and the island is probably way taller than just eight meters, so that estimate is very optimistic.

So obviously, it’s not made up of that many unique voxels.

It’s a very pretty and very impressive piece of technology, but they’re carefully avoiding to mention any of the drawbacks, and they’re pretending like what they’re doing is something new and impressive. In reality, it’s been done several times before

Others working on Voxel Engines
* Atomontage Engine
* Ken Silverman (the guy who wrote the Build engine, used in Duke Nukem 3D) has been working on a voxel engine called Voxlap, which is the basis for Voxelstein 3d



More of the Euclidian Pitch and Sample Work

"We've made a little island," company chief Bruce Robert Dell explains in the video. "The island is 1 kilometre squared. This island is made from 21,062,352,435,000 polygons."

The company's technology takes those polygons and converts them to 'Unlimited Detail' point cloud data at a rate of 64 'atoms' per cubic millimetre or one million per cubic inch. That's a level of complexity so high, Dell is able to demonstrate individual grains of dirt making up the ground's surface.

"There are 15 million converted polygons in every square meter of dirt," Dell claims, "which means that in one cubic meter of dirt we have more polygons than you will find in any game that doesn't use procedural generation."




Atomontage Engine



Voxelstein 3D
Update: Voxelstein with Ray Tracing




More Voxel Engines Samples





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