OGRE 1.7.0 RC1 [Cthugha] Released!

ogre_17_logoWe said we’d try to get this out before the end of the year, and with only hours to spare we just about made it! OGRE 1.7 has been under development for over a year now, and the time has come to draw a line under it and get it shipped as a brand new stable version. Unlike the maintenance releases we’ve been issuing regularly for 1.6, this release includes a huge number of new features and enhancements, of which the headliners are listed after the jump. Edit: I forgot to mention that this release makes official our transition to the MIT License – we’ve been using it in Subversion for a while so it slipped my mind that this is the first ‘official’ release under that license. So that’s news!

As usual, plenty of people have been testing it direct from Subversion for a while now, but even so we’re issuing it as a Release Candidate to begin with. Due to time constraints, we’re also only issuing this as a source release for the moment – prebuilt SDKs will follow in a second Release Candidate or the final.

For those of you using Subversion, the new path for Ogre 1.7 is now https://svn.ogre3d.org/svnroot/ogre/branches/v1-7. Otherwise, you can find the new release on the source downloads page.

Happy New Year!

Here are some of the main new features and enhancements you’ll find in OGRE 1.7:

  • License changes
  • Compositor changes
    • Allow ‘pooled’ compositor surfaces.
      • Separate compositor instances using the same size & format surfaces can share them, saving memory
      • System detects the compositor instance chaining to avoid problems with interdependence
      • ‘pooled’ has to be explicitly enabled on texture definitions, it is not the default because once enabled you cannot necessarily rely on being able to see all the intermediate texture results (because they can be ping-ponging across shared textures); people may be relying on this
    • Manual switching between supported compositor techniques is now possible on the fly
      • Compositor techniques can now have ‘scheme’ names, you can manually switch between supported techniques using the scheme name to drop to different approaches for reasons other than hardware compatibility (performance, alternative tweaks etc)
      • You can keep & share the textures used by previously active techniques so switching back & forth is faster (must use ‘pooled’ option for this).
    • Compositors can now specify if they don’t want to inherit the FSAA setting from the main target for texture definitions (‘no_fsaa’)
    • Compositors can now turn on sRGB gamma conversion per texture definition instead of just inheriting from the main surface (‘gamma’)
    • Cross-compositor communication (from SoC2009 Compositor)
      • Define a texture as accessible from other locations by the chain_scope or global_scope directive in the texture definition
      • Reference a texture from a different compositor in the chain (or in general) using the texture_ref directive
    • Compositor <-> code connection improvements (from SoC2009 Compositor)
      • It is now possible to define a custom composition pass (instead of just quad/scene/clear) in code and trigger it using the render_custom composition pass type.
      • You can now link between a compositor and related code (for example, a compositor listener) automatically using CompositorLogics.
  • SceneManager changes (from SoC2009 Compositor)
    • It is now possible to pause a frame’s rendering mid-way (for example, during a callback called in the middle of the process) to trigger a side render and then resume rendering. See SceneManager::_pauseFrame and SceneManager::_resumeFrame.
    • Added an option to manually trigger the updating of shadow textures for specific lights. See SceneManager::prepareShadowTextures. The combination of the two new additions allow reusing a single texture for multiple shadowmaps.
  • New Sample Browser (from SoC2009_Samples)
    • Instead of many separate demos, we now have one integrated sample browser
    • Samples are pluggable libraries that can be reloaded at runtime without restarting the browser
    • A simple ‘tray’ system is used to make sample GUI controls easy to create
  • Antialising changes
    • Support for Coverage Sampled AA (CSAA) – Dx9 & Dx10 only for now
    • Unified & simplified AA settings
      • on Root’s config options the setting is now called ‘FSAA’ in all cases, and consist of samples and a hint string (separated by spaces)
      • on the miscParams to createRenderWindow you can supply ‘FSAA’ and ‘FSAAHint’. The former is the number of samples, the latter any hinting (e.g. ‘Quality’)
  • Light changes
    • Near/far plane settings for shadow cameras can now be manually configured per light if required
    • You can now mask lights out per object by calling MovableObject::setLightMask – a renderable object’s mask is bitwise and’ed with the light’s mask and the light is excluded if the result is 0.
  • LOD changes (from Soc2008_LOD)
    • LOD no longer has to use distance as a metric for changing LOD levels
    • LodStrategy can now be set on both Material and Mesh, to either Distance or PixelCount (new strategies can also be added)
  • STL container changes
    • All STL containers now use custom memory allocators
  • Profiler changes
    • Allow milliseconds as well as percentage view – gives a better idea of absolute fluctuations.
    • Define profiler masks so that profiling can be added to core OGRE but still filtered out by categories (added some simple profiling to test)
    • Hierarchy of profiles is now inclusive instead of exclusive (children no longer subtract their time from parents). This is more useful in practice when doing breakdowns
    • Added numerical indicators instead of a scale with ‘ticks’ since its more useful
  • Optimisations
    • Fixed-function light state is now handled more intelligently, leading to better performance with large numbers of objects
    • Shader parameters are now updated more selectively, reducing unnecessary updates
  • GpuProgramParameters changes
    • Support added for shared parameter sets which allow you to define / update shader variables for many programs and materials in one place. See GpuProgramManager::createSharedParamerers
    • Use shared_params, shared_param_named and shared_params_ref in scripts to define and reference shared parameter sets.
    • Parameters are now automatically migrated when the program they are based on is changed and reloaded; any parameters which still apply are merged into the new parameters
  • Archive changes
    • Archive now supports create and remove of files (FileSystem only implemented for now)
  • DataStream changes
    • Writeable data streams are now supported (FileSystem only implemented for now)
  • File handling changes
    • New class StreamSerialiser is the new way to read & write binary chunk-based formats
  • Build changes
    • Cmake is now used to generate project files, separate explicitly maintained build systems are being removed. See Building With CMake
  • RenderWindow changes
    • miscParams now supports ‘vsyncInterval’ option, allowing you to sync to a multiple of the refresh rate if you want (and the hardware supports it)
  • Viewport changes
    • Added clear method to manually clear any combination of colour/depth/stencil to a specified value without performing an update.
  • Image changes
    • Added loadTwoImagesAsRGBA and combineTwoImagesAsRGBA to make it easier to construct combined normal/height and diffuse/specular images etc
  • New Paging Component
    • SceneManager-independent, separate optional component (OGRE_HOME/Components/Paging)
    • Pluggable strategy components to control paging strategy for a section of the scene
    • Pluggable content components to control paging of content
    • Plugggable collection components so that paged elements can be composed or selected between in different ways (e.g. paging many LOD levels within a page)
  • New Terrain Component
    • SceneManager-independent, separate optional component (OGRE_HOME/Components/Terrain)
    • Inherently editable
    • Hierarchical geometry batching; batch counts reduce at lower LODs as well as vertex count. At the lowest level of detail, the entire terrain page is a single batch.
    • LOD now adapts in real-time to camera settings (viewport sizes & LOD bias) so you can use the same terrain with multiple views efficiently
    • Skirts are used instead of stitching to avoid cracks in geometry; this means fewer indexing arrangements & lower overall index buffer usage
    • Saving & loading of terrain built in, including loading / processing in a background thread
    • In-built support for splatting layers, configurable sampler inputs and pluggable material generators
    • Support for generating global normal maps and light maps, in a background thread
  • New ‘Real Time Shader System’ (RTSS) Component
    • Automatically generate shaders to replace the fixed-function pipeline and to add features such as per-pixel lighting, normal mapping and shadows.
  • New Property Component
    • Separate optional component (OGRE_HOME/Components/Property)
    • boost::bind based property system to make it easier to expose reflected properties from your objects
  • Threading changes
    • WorkQueue added to accept generalised work items to be executed in multiple background worker threads
    • WorkQueue starts the number of workers based on hardware, or can be told to start a different number
    • Main Ogre WorkQueue is in Root::getWorkQueue. You can also subclass WorkQueue and provide your own if you want
    • ResourceBackgroundQueue now uses WorkQueue instead of using its own queue and can have multiple tasks running at once
    • New focus on data-driven, task-based parallel execution with separation of GPU and CPU activities
    • Boost, POCO and Thread Building Blocks supported as threading back-ends (Boost preferred)
  • Resource changes
    • ResourcePool added as a place for other application components to shelve & re-use resources
  • Material changes
    • scene_blend_op and separate_scene_blend_op added to passes, to change the default ‘+’ operator between source & dest blending params
    • Material listeners can now register to listen to a specific scheme, to allow for none-competing scheme handlers for different schemes.
  • iPhone OS port
    • Synced GLESRenderSystem with GLRenderSystem and added some more extension detection
    • Added support for ARM architecture and CPU feature detection
    • iPhone OGRE SDK disc image and sdk package script
  • OS X improvements
    • Moved code and resources from the Mac directory to OgreMain
    • Eliminated deprecation warnings when targeting Mac OS X 10.5/10.6
    • General organisation and compatibility improvements

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