Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
some dynamic holographs and be done with screens all together. Who wouldn't like to
play a sports game as if it were a table-top miniature? However, due to the way they are
recorded, holographs as we know them are static images. Once recorded, holographic
images cannot be changed. Due to their ability to encode multiple angles of viewing,
they would make wonderful display technology, and research is under way to find a
material that can hold holographic data and be rewritten fast enough to induce the
illusion of motion to the viewer. From time to time, you may see in the news some event
incorporating computer-generated imagery displayed in what is called holographic dis‐
play. These are not true holographs, but usually just a projection on a semitransparent
screen. The images are still completely flat, and the illusion of 3D comes solely from the
brain not registering the presence of the screen.
Another technology being actively researched is called integral photography . This is a
lot like the use of a lenticular lens; however, instead of linear cylinders in an array, the
lens field is more like a fly's eye. Each lens in the array captures a complete picture from
a slightly different angle. Now, when projected through a similar integral lens, the light
forms a 4D field that the viewer sees as a 3D scene appropriate for his or her viewing
angle. If the view moves to the side, then he or she will see a new portion of the object
that wasn't visible previously. This type of movement parallax creates very realistic 3D
experiences. The advanced displays so accurately recreate the light that recorded the
images that the eye can focus on different parts of the object (this is called the wave
front ) and therefore experience accommodation of the eyeball. Recall that this is the
eighth item in our list from earlier in the chapter, and it is something the other displays
are lacking. Some crude demonstrations of this technology have been presented, and it
will be exciting to see how the research progresses.
Beyond any other method, the last one we'll talk about takes the bull by the horns. If
you want a 3D image, just make the image three-dimensional. The other displays we
discussed all attempt to recreate 3D screens using projection from a 2D surface. There
is a group of display technologies known as volumetric that dispense with any 2D ele‐
ments and attempt to create a light field with well-defined x , y , and z coordinates. These
displays are far enough away from consumers that the definition of a volumetric display
is still being argued. One of the biggest problems with the technology will be occlusion
—that is, when an object passes in front of another object, you can't see the object behind
the object that is closer to you. Pretty basic depth information, right? Well, if you are
attempting to create a 3D light field, it is difficult to get the light to be blocked out when
another rendered object passes in front of the original object. Simply not creating light
there won't work, as each viewer would expect the farther object to be blocked at different
angles. There are some existing demonstrators that use lasers to excite electrons in the
air. When the lasers are focused on the same three-dimensional point, the combined
energy creates a small pocket of plasma that gives off light. These small volumes of light
are often referred to as voxels and correspond to pixels in 2D display technology. The
current resolution and refresh rate is not going to be wowing any gamers in the near
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