- a completely new, state-of-the-art rendering engine,
- dynamic lighting and dynamic shadows,
- support for NVidia and ATI programmable GPUs,
- revised design for cross-platform and cross-compiler portability,
- Windows and Linux demo versions available,
- much improved particle engine with more powerful effects,
- replacements for all old textures with better, higher-quality ones,
- better internal texture and shader resource management,
- further improvements in the level compile tools,
- new and revised tools to support MOD developers,
- enhanced code interfaces for MOD developers, and
- continued augmentation of the DeathMatch MOD code.
Probably the two most important news are the new lighting system, and the availability of Ca3DE for Linux!
The entirely new Ca3DE rendering engine employs the latest 3D technologies by combining physically correct, radiosity based lightmaps with dynamic per-pixel lighting and robust stencil shadows!
Ca3DE only requires a GeForce3 or ATI Radeon 8500 graphics card to run, and can switch into higher-quality rendering modes for more recent GPUs (or fall automatically back into compatibility mode for non-programmable GPUs). This is the first time that such unique and state-of-the-art rendering technology is presented outside of tech-demos, but rather in a real, production-quality game engine. And while commercial, comparable products like Half-Life 2 or Doom3 are not even on the market, Ca3DE is available NOW!
With its professional-quality diffuse-, normal-, specular-, and luminance-maps, one of the nice features of the new Ca3DE renderer is that everything is consistently lit: walls, floors, all models (like other players, monsters, weapons, items), ... and everything casts shadows on everything, even the weapons in your hands...
Even better, thanks to its improved design for portability, Ca3DE is now on Linux as powerful as it is on Windows, and demo releases and developer kits for both platforms are available from the website!
There have been many other significant "under-the-hood" improvements that are not mentioned here - the list is simply too long.
You can either study the fully detailed change log that is included with the Ca3DE demo, or have a look at the updated screen-shots on the Ca3DE website.
Best, of course, is to download the new demo, and experience all the new stuff for yourself! (Although the DeathMatch MOD is not yet entirely finished, you can already enjoy real multi-player action together with your friends. Test reports are welcome.) Happy fraggin'!
The following is planned for the next release of Ca3DE:
- Spherical Harmonic Lighting,
- further improvements to the network code and DeathMatch MOD,
- better model utilization and improved model rendering,
- OpenGL 2.0 support as soon as possible,
- music support, and
- enhanced physics code.
Spherical Harmonic Lighting is a new lighting technology that is still in academic research, and subject of my masters thesis in computer science. It has the potential to vastly improve the quality of the lighting and shadowing, pushing Ca3DE years ahead into the future.
Finally, I'm very grateful for all the great help that I have received with the artwork and other material for the current release: Kai Schadwinkel and Frank Plohmann created all the impressive, professional-quality texture maps. That was a lot of work (several weeks!!), and their textures contribute to a large degree to the great image quality of Ca3DE. Other texture contributions came from Tig and his "Industri" project, and from Willi Hammes. SparX sent me a new set of animated explosion and smoke particle images, and Alvaro F. Celis created the "Loading..." screen logo and proof-read the updated manuals, press-release, and website texts. Fredrik Svensson wrote a Ca3DE Master Game Server - more details on that later.
Important note: This is my first try on the new lighting technology, and in the current release, there are some minor bugs and problems associated with it. I'm aware of these problems (mostly artifacts with the shadows and specular lights), know their cause, and will fix them for the next release. I'm very sorry for that. However, rather than delaying the demo for four additional weeks, I've decided to release it as-is, because Ca3DE is my hobby project, and I have invested a lot of work into it during the past 5 months. I hope you like it anyway.