Feb 11, 2008

Development Update

Progress is picking up as we move into the latter stages of alpha. Of recent, the focus of the progress is centered on the new clouds system, based on the Dobashi method. Current tests are showing the lowest frame rate to be 53 while the standard FPS is around 189 or higher.

Our target goal for the system overall is to achieve a constant frame rate of 30 or higher, with emphasis on a balance of looks and speed. The clouds system is highly optimized to be volumetric while looking natural and not requiring an overly large amount of CPU power to run.

The reason for this is that the clouds system does not require such things as Shaders to work, unlike the Windlight system that Second Life is currently using. This results in a clouds system that both looks good and runs at a high frame rate on older systems without Shader supported graphics cards, which turns out to be a problem when a user has a system that cannot properly support Shaders.

We at Andromeda Media Universe believe that such things as shaders should be an addition to the system but not a requirement in order for the environment to still look good. Basics such as clouds should be default, and not an option, with lighting effects on the clouds being the option should you wish to increase its' looks.

Procedural textures are coming along nicely as well with initial testing on the terrain going as planned. We have to remove part of the dark streaks from the algorithm (the shadows are too dark on the generated texture) but other than that it looks like very respectable grass with the odd flower thrown in for randomness.

As of this posting, I would like to say thank you to the 27 people who have so far sent in their pre-registration forms. Progress towards closed beta is coming along at a steady pace, but is still a few months away as we are looking to start the beta in late spring 2008. If you have any friends which you think would like to join the closed beta, by all means have them fill out a pre-registration form and we'll keep it on file for later.

Thank you from the Andromeda Media Universe Team


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