Geomerics, the Cambridge-based company specializing in advanced graphics and physics technology, has developed a new solution for lighting and shadowing restrictions currently faced by game developers, and is introducing it at this year's GDC. The solution is a replacement for 'spherical harmonics,' giving the same compression of a lighting environment but now coupled with Geomerics' geometric algebra and wavelet technologies.
Its system handles dynamically changing lighting environments, moving objects and changing viewing angles. The technology also allows for dynamic specular effects to be integrated into the same pipeline.
Currently used approaches to lighting and shadowing, such as spherical harmonic pre-computed radiance transfer (PRT) lighting, has the advantage of dealing with much of the computational complexity associated with realistic shadowing in a pre-compute step so that, at run-time, only a handful of simple operations are performed allowing an efficient GPU-based implementation.
However, a fundamental restriction with spherical harmonic PRT is that it is impossible to handle light effects that change with the viewing angle such as specular highlights and it struggles to cope with highly dynamic lighting environments.