- a completely revised, state-of-the-art rendering engine,
- enhanced code for dynamic lighting and dynamic shadows,
- support for "static detail models",
- support for very large outdoor terrains,
- mp3 and ogg-vorbis music playback,
- smooth-groups for dynamic lighting even for world brushes,
- better documents and specifications for developers,
- many improvements to the DeathMatch MOD code,
- new and significantly augmented MOD development tools, and
- many bug-fixes and optimizations.
Static Detail Models add a rich and immersing amount of detail to the worlds. They smoothly integrate with all other Ca3DE world components, and take both the physically-correct, radiosity-based light into account, as well as the dynamic per-pixel computed light that is driven by normal- and specular-maps.
All Static Detail Models that ship with the new release have kindly been contributed by Kai Schadwinkel. Kai has put an enormous effort into creating high-quality models that are fully textured with diffuse-, normal-, and specular-maps. You can see his excellent results in the screen-shots, or even better directly in the updated demo.
The new terrain code is able to handle very large terrains at impressive quality and speed, making it perfectly suitable for huge out-door scenes: While the rendering code employs continuous-level-of-detail techniques, geo-morphing, view-frustrum culling and detail-texturing for impressive results, the terrains do internally use the same code for collision detection and physics as the Ca3DE core code. This property makes the smooth integration into all other Ca3DE components robust and transparent. For mappers, the documentation (NewMaterials.pdf) has been expanded with detailed tutorials that demonstrate how terrains are used in new maps.
For a more detailed information about the new terrain code, please check-out the updated feature list.
In order to experience a sample terrain "life", please start the Ca3DE demo with the BpRockB world. From the starting point, you can leave the building through a small alley to the rear right that leads towards the outside area that is shown in the screen-shots. I hope that for the next release I'll be able to present more and even better terrain examples (the terrain lighting code needs improvements, too).
Also the world and model rendering code has been extensively revised: Features have been completed, bugs have been fixed and shaders improved. The resulting renderer produces higher-quality images than in the previous release, and at the same time achieves a slightly improved speed.
The addition of "smooth group" support for world brushes gives mappers an easy-to-use but powerful method to enhance the rendering of world geometry with respect to dynamic lighting in the same way as modellers do: Curves that consist of multiple objects are grouped such that their rendering looks smooth - a significant improvement to the overall look of scenes. Moreover, the Ca3DE renderer is able to combine lightmaps with bump-mapping, a feature that few other 3D engines can claim.
Among the bug-fixes was the problem that under Linux many non-NVidia (e.g. ATI) graphics cards didn't work, a subtle network discrepancy that sometimes caused clients trouble to join a game, rare bugs in collision detection, and many others.
I would also like to express my gratefulness to
Kai Schadwinkel, who still manages to surprise me repeatedly with this continuously improving textures and models,
Christoph Bastuck and his band Jeremys Fate, who have kindly contributed the music that ships with Ca3DE now,
Camille Schnakenbourg, who has spent great efforts to improve and clarify the source codes of the DeathMatch MOD, and
Alvaro F. Celis, who supports me with additional Ca3DE logos, banners, and proof-reading of the updated Ca3DE manuals.
Thank you very much, gentlemen!
The following is planned for the next release of Ca3DE:
- Spherical Harmonic Lighting,
- a new and flexible shader and material system,
- a better console system (commands and variables), and
- vegetation (trees, bushes, grass).
To summarize: the Ca3D-Engine demonstrates its unique and state-of-the-art rendering technology since its October 2003 release, which has been further improved in the current release. Its capabilities are presented not in a limited or tricky tech-demo, but rather in a full-featured, production-quality game engine. And while commercial, comparable products like Half-Life 2 or Doom3 are still not on the market, Ca3DE is available NOW!