Ogre 13.2 released

Ogre 13.2.0 was just released. This “holiday release” contains mostly bugfixes, however there are also some notable additions.

Vulkan RenderSystem

The elephant in the Room is likely the addition of the Vulkan Rendersystem – as was announced earlier. Contrary to my expectation, progress was quite smooth though. This means that all basic features are already in place and the RTSS and Terrain Components support Vulkan too. Therefore, the Vulkan RenderSystem is now tagged [BETA] instead of [EXPERIMENTAL]. Still, some more advanced features are currently missing.

Fresnel Sample Running on Vulkan

Depending on your usage, you might be able to already port your application – at least you can already start familiarizing with it. There are two caveats though..

Buffer updates

Currently Ogre does not try to hide the asynchronicity of Vulkan from the user and rather lets you run into rendering glitches.
The general idea of Vulkan is that you have multiple images in flight to keep the GPU busy. This means that we submit the work for the next frame without waiting for the current frame to finish.
This part hits you as soon as try to update vertex data. If the GPU is not yet done processing it, you will get rendering glitches. Particularly, your rendering will be broken if you update the data each frame.
The solution here is to either implement triple-buffering yourself or discard the buffer contents on update, which will give you new memory on Vulkan. The Ogre internals have been updated accordingly and ideally also improve performance on all other rendersystems.

Rendering interruption

Closely related to the above is rendering interruption. This means that after the first Renderable was submitted for the current frame (i.e. RenderSystem::_render has been called), you decide to load another Texture or update a buffer.

As we dont know whether the update affects the current Frame, we would need to interrupt the rendering, do the upload and continue where we left off. While certainly possible, we just throw an exception right now. Typically, it is much easier to just schedule your buffer updates before rendering kicks off, than ordering things mid-flight. And this is faster too.

Using GLSLang with GL3+

As the RTSS was extended to generate SPIRV compatible GLSL for Vulkan, it was natural to enable this path for GL3+ as well. If the gl_spirv profile is supported, you can now call

mShaderGenerator->setTargetLanguage("glslang");

to use the glslang reference compiler instead of whatever your GL driver would do.

HiDPi support in Overlays

Some dangling threads in Overlays were fixed and you can now call

Ogre::OverlayManager::getSingleton().setPixelRatio(appContext.getDisplayDPI()/96);

which will scale up the UI appropriately and generate higher resolution Fonts. The magic 96 means 96 DPI which is the common setting of all Monitors up to FullHD.

Depth of Field Sample

I have updated the dormant DoF compositor code we had in Ogre to actually do something.

The sample builds upon the code of DWORD flying around the forums and implements the following technique by Thorsten Scheuermann.

The Depth of Field compositor in action

Vulkan RenderSystem in Ogre 13

The Vulkan RenderSystem backport from Ogre-next, now has landed in the master branch and will be available with Ogre 13.2. See the screenshot below for the SampleBrowser running on Vulkan

The code was simplified during backporting, which shows by the size reduction from ~33k loc in Ogre-Next to ~9k loc that are now in Ogre.

The current implementation pretends to have Fixed Function capabilities, which allows operating with one default shader – similarly to what I did for Metal. This shader only supports using a single 2D texture without lighting. E.g. vertex color is not supported. This is why the text is white instead of black in the screenshot above.
Nevertheless, it already runs on Linux, Windows and Android.

Proper lighting and texturing support, will require some adaptations to the GLSL writer in the RTSS, as Vulkan GLSL is slightly different to OpenGL GLSL. This, and the other currently missing features will hopefully come together during the 13.x development cycle. If you are particularly keen on using Vulkan, consider giving a hand.
Right now, the main goal is to get Vulkan feature-complete first, so dont expect it to outperform any of the other RenderSystems. Due to being incomplete, the Vulkan RenderSystem is tagged EXPERIMENTAL.

Ogre ecosystem roundup #8

following the last post about what is going on around Ogre, here is another update. With the Ogre 13.1 release, mainly the usability of Ogre was improved with the following additions.

Ogre 13.1 release

The per-pixel RTSS stage gained support for two sided lighting. This is useful if you want to have a plane correctly lit from both sides or for transparency effects, as shown below:

single sided/ two-sided lighting

Furthermore, PCF16 filtering support was added to the PSSM RTSS stage. This gives you softer shadows at the cost of 4x the texture lookups. The images below show crops from the ShaderSystem sample at 200% highlighting the effect

PCF4/ PCF16

blender2ogre improved even further

Thanks to the continued work by Guillermo “sercero” Ojea Quintana, blender2ogre gained some exciting new features.

The first is support for specifying Static and Instanced geometry like this. You might wonder whether you should be using that and if yes, which variant. Therefore, he also collected the respective documentation which is available here.

The second notable feature is support for .mesh import, which might come handy if you are modding some Ogre based game or just lost the source .blend file. This feature is based on the respective code found in the Kenshi Blender Plugin (which in turn is based on the Torchlight plugin).

Then, old_man_auz chimed in and fixed some bugs when exporting to Ogre-Next, while also cleaning up the codebase and improving documentation.

Finally, yours truly added CI unit-tests, which make contributing to blender2ogre easier.

OpenAL EFX support in ogre-audiovideo

Again, contributed by sercero are some important additions to the audio part of the ogre-audiovideo project which drastically improve the useability.

The first one is that you no longer need boost to enable threading. OgreOggSound will now follow whatever Ogre is configured with.

The second one is being able to use EFX effects with openal-soft instead of the long-dead creative implementation. This enables effects like reverb or bandpass filters.

Read more in the release-notes. This release was too, done by sercero which kindly took the burden of co-maintaining the project.

Ogre 13 released

We just tagged the Ogre 13 release, making it the new current and recommended version. We would advise you to update wherever possible, to benefit from all the fixes and improvements that made their way into the new release.
This release represents 2.5 years of work from various contributors when compared to the previous major 1.12 release. Compared to the last Ogre minor release (1.12.12), however we are only talking about 4 months. Here, you will mainly find bugfixes and the architectural changes that justify the version number bump.

For source code and pre-compiled SDKs, see the downloads page.

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Ogre ecosystem roundup #7

following the last post about what is going on around Ogre, here is another update. With the Ogre 1.12.12 release, mainly the usability of Ogre was improved with the following additions.

Ogre 1.12.12 release

The last 1.12 release had some serious regressions in D3D9 and GL1, therefore I scheduled one more release in the 1.12.x series.

Updated release notes

As the Ogre 1.12 series was an LTS release, many important features landed after the initial 1.12.0 release. To take this into account and to give an overview which version you need, the “New and Noteworthy” document was updated with the post .0 additions. (search for “12.” to quickly skim through them).

Nevertheless, there are also some new features in the 1.12.12 release itself:

Cubemap support in compositors

Compositors render targets can now be cubemaps by adding the cubic keyword to the texture declaration – just like with material texture_units.

To really take advantage of this, you can now also specify the camera to use when doing render_scene passes. This way any camera in your scene can be used as an environment-probe for cube mapping.

Finally, to really avoid touching any C++, there is now the align_to_face keyword which automatically orients the given camera to point to the targeted cubemap face.

See this commit on how these things can simplify your code and this for further documentation.

Terrain Component in Bindings

Thanks to a contribution by Natan Fernandes there is now initial support of the Terrain Component in our C#/ Java/ Python bindings.

Python SDK as PIP package

Python programmers can now obtain a Ogre SDK directly from PyPI as they are used to with:

pip install ogre-python

Just as the MSVC and Android SDKs, it includes the assimp plugin which allows to load almost any mesh format and ImGui, so you can create a UI in a breeze.
For now only Python 3.8 is covered – but on all platforms. This means you can now have a pre-compiled package for OSX and Linux too.

Improved blender2ogre

Thanks to some great work by Guillermo “sercero” Ojea Quintana, the blender2ogre export settings are much more user friendly now:

On top of having some context what a option might do, the exporter can now also let Ogre generate the LOD levels. This gives you the choice to

  • Iteratively apply blender “decimate” as in previous releases. This will generate one .mesh file per LOD level, but may result in a visually better LOD
  • use the Ogre MeshLOD Component. This will store all LOD levels in one .mesh file, only creating a separate index-buffer per LOD. This will greatly reduce storage compare to the above method.

SceneNode animations

But he did not stop there, blender2ogre now also exports NodeAnimationTrack based animations. To this end it follows the format introduced by EasyOgreExporter, so both exporters are compatible to each other.

To formalise this, he even extended the .scene type definition, so other exporters implementing this function can validate their output.

Needless to say, he also extended the DotScene Plugin shipped with 1.12.12 to actually load these animations.

.scene support in ogre-meshviewer

Picking up the work by Guillermo, I exteded ogre-meshviewer to load .scene file – in addition to .mesh files and whatever formats assimp knows about.

However, for now it will merely display the scene – there are no inspection tools yet.