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Ogre ecosystem roundup #5

following the last post about what is going on around Ogre, here is another update.

Ogre 1.12.7 point release

The 1.12.7 point release kept its focus on integration. Notably, it ships the new Metal RenderSystem, that was discussed in a previous post. Also there are the following notable changes:

  • Improved Terrain Rendering: The lighting computation was pretty messed up before, which I could fix. See the following screens for comparison. Also, now vertex compression (60% less data per vertex) is used with OpenGL, too.
before – after

  • Filament shader support: Thanks to a contribution of SNiLD, I could extend the PBR sample to showcase the usage of Filament PBR shaders. The images below also show the existing glTF2 based material and how far you get by only using plain ogre materials.
  • New stable CSM Sample: I found another interesting Demo on the Forums and added it as a Sample to the Sample Browser. This time it is “Cascaded Shadow Mapping” which resembles the implementation you get in the CryEngine. This is a different take on the PSSM Shadow Mapping Algorithm, which is best explained by visualizing it
  • Debug view in the PSSM RTShader: While working on the CSM Sample, I found the debug split view particularly useful. Therefore, you can now visualize how the PSSM Shadow splits are placed in your scene – check out the updated ShaderSystem Sample.

OgreMeshViewer: LOD preview

If your mesh contains LOD levels, Meshviewer will now display a new tab, highlighting the currently active level

If you would like to know how to automatically generate LOD for your meshes, see the updated Ogre Tutorial.

Ogre 2.2.2 Cerberus Released!

This is a maintenance release. Efforts to port from 2.2.1 to 2.2.2 should be minimum.

Notable additions are:

  • Stable PSSM shadows technique added. Use this feature with ‘num_stable_splits 1’ in compositor scripts when defining the shadow node. Stable PSSM shadows tend to improve quality on the first splits, but they can dramatically reduce quality on the last splits of PSSM; thus using num_stable_splits 1 or 2 but not higher than that is recommended
  • D3D11 improved its handling of device lost
  • It is now possible to draw to a cubemap using MSAA, which was an oversight in Ogre 2.2.1. See the updated DynamicCubemap tutorial

For a full list see the Github release

Discussion in forum thread.

Metal RenderSystem in Ogre 1.12

The Metal RenderSystem backport from Ogre-next, that I talked about in the last round-up, now has landed in the master branch and will be available with Ogre 1.12.7. See the screenshot below for the SampleBrowser running on Metal

The current implementation pretends to have Fixed Function capabilities. Leveraging the unified FFP API introduced with the initial 1.12 release, this allows operating with a default shader. 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.

Proper lighting and texturing support, requires a Metal Shader Language support in the RTSS, which is not there yet. However, if you are mainly using custom shaders on OSX, you can start experimenting with Metal now. Furthermore, buffer updates are currently slowish, as staging buffers had to be disabled. Therefore, the Metal RenderSystem is tagged as EXPERIMENTAL.

Further development will happen at a lower pace though, as Metal neither has the large prevalence of D3D11 nor gives the synergy effects across platforms we have with OpenGL.

So if you want full Metal support in Ogre1, consider contributing and fixing bugs. The code was simplified during backporting, which shows by the size reduction from 14k loc in v2.1 to 9k loc that are now in Ogre1.

Ogre 2.2.1 Cerberus Released!

Whoa! What’s this? Didn’t you announce Ogre 2.1 Baldur was released a few days ago? Yes! Then, what’s going on?

I noticed Ogre 2.1’s release announcement atracted more popularity than I expected (thank you!!!) thus I shall explain:

Ogre 2.1 has been in development for many years, approximately since 2015.

At some point it matured and we started working on the next version: Ogre 2.2

Our regular users who stick around knew 2.1 has been stable for a while now; but we just didn’t have the time or resources to make a release (packaging binaries, ensuring everything works, etc). And many fixes from 2.2 also kept getting backported.

And 2.2 had just reached maturity too.

Ogre 2.1 was a major refactor and users porting existing code from Ogre 1.x is definitely doable, but still requires a lot of effort.

Unlike 1.x -> 2.1 transition though, 2.1 -> 2.2 transition is a much smoother experience, because it mostly touches Texture manipulation code and end users rarely manipulate a lot of Textures via code directly.

The Texture code of 2.1 was entirely replaced by the new TextureGpu code; which supports background streaming and solves many RAM issues that plagued 2.2.

Wait! 2.2.1… where’s Ogre 2.2.0?

Ogre 2.2.1 and 2.2.0 are being released concurrently. This is because during development a few of our users and testers needed to distinguish between more stable features (texture streaming) from the less stable ones (Global Illumination) and we used OGRE_VERSION_PATCH for that.

However our GI code has stabilized now.

Because there is now virtually no reason to use Ogre 2.2.0 over 2.2.1; we just went ahead and make a source-code-only release of Ogre 2.2.0 for archival reasons and a source-code + SDK release of 2.2.1

Ogre 2.2.1 also contained several bug fixes which made no sense to backport to 2.2.0 as it would only increase our work.

Download Ogre 2.2.1

Codename Cerberus

For more information, see the manual

See SW & HW Requirements
See platforms supported
See Ogre 2.1 FAQ
See What’s new in Ogre 2.2

  • Texture streaming! Completely refactored Texture code. It consumes a lot less RAM and supports background streaming
  • Voxel Cone Tracing (VCT): Semi-Realtime GI solution. Supports diffuse and specular. Can consume a lot of VRAM depending on quality. Lighting changes can be done in realtime. Changes to static objects in scene needs to rebuild voxels (not realtime)
  • Irradiance Field with Depth (IFD): Generic variant of DDGI using Voxels (consumes more VRAM) or Rasterization (slower to build). It supports diffuse only and is lower quality than VCT, but is much faster. And if completely static, consumes very little memory.
  • Per-pixel Cubemap probes
  • VR readiness: New sample showing how to integrate OpenVR SDK, deal with running start, performance optimizations such as Instanced Stereo, Hidden Area Mesh and Radial Density Mask
  • Mobile friendly: Added Load and Store actions to control how TBDR GPUs flush their caches

What’s next?

  • Stable PSSM Shadowmaps
  • Vulkan support

All branches except the Vulkan one are being merged back into master. Whatever is in master will likely become Ogre 2.2.2 one day.

That doesn’t mean Vulkan will or will not make it to 2.2.2, it’s just that we want to always keep master branch with a relatively high degree of stability (i.e. rolling release model), which the Vulkan branch cannot yet provide.

Relevant posts:

Ogre 2.1 Baldur Released!

Thank you to everyone who has been along all these many years! This release wouldn’t have been possible without you!

Thank you to every contributor (code, documentation, forum posts, art assets), to every user, to every tester that made Ogre 2.1 as stable as it is now.

This is my first experience building a binary SDK distribution. I’m used to linking to binaries built from source. If you see issues with it, ping me in the forums.

Download Ogre 2.1

Codename Baldur

First major release

For more information, see the manual
See SW & HW Requirements
See platforms supported
See Ogre 2.1 FAQ

  • Hlms (High Level Material System) to generate shaders automatically. Replaces RTSS and manual shaders
  • PBS – Physically Based Shading
  • New Compositor. More flexible, faster and powerful
  • Refactored Ogre 1.x to increase performance by several factors; using cache friendly techniques (Data Oriented Design), SIMD instructions, AZDO (Aproaching Zero Driver Overhead), auto instancing, and multithreading
  • Windows Vista/7/8/10 support, macOS via Metal and OpenGL, iOS via Metal, Linux via OpenGL
  • Many new features: Area lights, Parallax Corrected Cubemaps, Forward Clustered lights, HDR, Exponential Shadowmaps and more

Relevant posts:

Ogre ecosystem roundup #4

following the last post about what is going on around Ogre, here is another update.

Ogre 1.12.6 point release

The 1.12.6 point release kept its focus on integration. Notably, it ships the Qt OgreBites implementation, that was discussed in the previous post. Also there are the following notable changes:

  • The OSX & iOS support was vastly improved. If you had any issues with using Ogre in these enviroments, please try again with Ogre 1.12.6. The improvements include scaling the input events along the window content scaling and corrected library resolution from inside an .app bundle. I also started backporting the Metal RenderSystem to the 1.x series. See the metal-wip branch. Help is welcome.
  • Also Ogre 1.12 is now available in Debian sid & unstable. Notably, this also covers the python bindings and imgui. So prototyping a 3D application is only a apt install python3-ogre-1.12 away. Also this is a major step forward from the previous Ogre 1.9 package and allows 3rd party apps like ROS relying on it. These packges are also availble in the latest Ubuntu 20.04 release, which is based off Debian unstable.
  • Next, the MSVC SDK was refined: it now properly packages and compiles the C# ibindings. You no longer have to compile any Ogre C# sources yourself. As for C++, the pdb files are finally included, which allows you using the SDK for debugging (note that the build type still is RelWithDebInfo and not Debug).
  • The refined “Fixed Pipeline Enabled” RenderSystem option allows you to bring the legacy GL & D3D9 RenderSystems into a programmable pipeline only mode. Setting it to false is the first step, if you consider porting to GL3+ & D3D11 as it will enable the RTSS shader generation, while keeping everything else the same. It also allows you toggling forth and back between shader based and fixed pipeline to compare rendering, instead of having to pull the plug once and for all.
  • For the full list of changes and bugfixes as always consult the github release

OGRECave ecosystem

Probably the biggest strength of Ogre 1.x is the legacy of content creation tools and addons. Here, I resurrected the following tools beneath the OGRECave umbrella:

  • The meshmagick CLI .mesh optimization and manipulation tool. It allows you to conveniently change the coordinate system or merge all sub-meshes into one buffer.
  • The shiny shader meta-compiler & management library. In the mid-term we want to extend the RTSS by similar features and generally recommend to prefer the RTSS. However, there are some existing projects relying on this library, and this allows them to upgrade to recent Ogre releases.
  • The ogre-gpgpu toolkit. This is a collection of many Computer Vision and Augmented Reality related tools built around Ogre. So far, I only brought back the Ogre-CUDA bridge.
    When it is ready, this probably will be moved into the core repository. Therefore, this project can be considered as a staging area.

Qt Ogre3D integration now available in master

While there have been snippets to provide Ogre integration with Qt for a long time, there is now an officially provided version in master and scheduled for Ogre 1.12.6.

This integration requires Qt5 and builds upon the ApplicationContext abstraction living in OgreBites which already handles SDL2 windowing and Activities on Android.
In contrast to previous attempts this means that it does not follow the “QtOgreWidget approach”. This might sound less convenient, but is necessary to properly handle multiple Ogre Windows or Ogre Views. Also it should be familiar for everybody who is using the QApplication API.

The implementation lives in a separate libOgreBitesQt.so library which is only created when Qt is detected when building – so if you do not use it, you do not have to care about Qt dependencies.

The API is designed to be a drop-in replacement for ApplicationContext. This means that you can just take the setup tutorial, but use the ApplicationContextQt instead and your app will be Qt5 based.
Also, because of the Input event abstraction we did for Ogre 1.11.0, the CameraMan and Trays code will continue working – just like the Event forwarding to ImGui.

Furthermore, I have ensured that the API also fits when the Qt Event loop is used and adapts to existing projects. For this, I have ported ogitor and spacescape to the new API.
Notably, with spacescape the Ogre view is now only redrawn on-demand when things change (e.g. settings, window resize).

The exposed API is QWindow based making it lightweight as only the QtGui module is required. Also this should allow extending it for QtQuick in the future, which is also QWindow based.

For details on integration see the docs.

Ogre 1.12 User Survey Results

During the period of Feb 29. – March 31. we received 47 replies. At the same time the ogre 1.12.5 Windows SDK alone was downloaded 437 times. So while the results are significant, they are probably not representative.

The most interesting result is probably this

When considering the boosted votes of the patreon supporters, the enterprise and enthusiasts parts increase. Still, the enterprise fraction remains dominant.

But, as statistics are lies better take a look at the actual numbers yourself.

Specific replies

Following the #MeanTweets idea I also wrote some short replies to the criticism, that you can read below:

read more…

Ogre 1.12 User Survey 2020

Those of you who have been around Ogre for some time might remember that back in 2018, we conducted a survey about our user base. The results of which can be found here.

For the 1.13 development cycle we would like to assess to correctly emphasize the development on the most used features.

So for the next four weeks until the 29th of March, you have the chance to participate and help us to get an impression about our user base, how Ogre is used and share some wishes for the future. Simply follow the link and make your way through the 13 questions. It should not take up much time since most of the questions are simple checkbox or radio button questions.

Link to survey

We want to thank you all upfront for helping us to develop Ogre further and getting some valuable insight information about the people using the engine!

PS: We would be glad if you could spread the word about the survey via all available channels to all potential Ogre users, because: The more participants, the more accurate are the results of course.