Welcome to The Unofficial Unlimited Detail Wiki!Edit
Welcome to the Unofficial Unlimited Detail wiki! Here we will house all the info that we collect about Bruce Dell's Unlimited Detail system. Check back often for updates! The official site is at unlimiteddetailtechnology.com. The company is now called Euclideon at Euclideon.com
Please feel free to use this Wiki to post any information you find about Unlimited Detail. Over the next few days, I will be working to create an efficient method of storing, organizing, and collecting all information pertaining to Unlimited Detail. Anyone coming from the Facebook page is encouraged to add any outstanding info.
What is Unlimited Detail?Edit
Unlimited Detail is a 3d engine and SDK, currently under development by Bruce Robert Dell, that is capable of displaying complex real-time 3d graphics by processing a virtually unlimited amount of point-cloud data, an alternative to current polygon/voxel/raytracing-based engines. UD's "search-algorithm" approach will allow complex geometry and billions of points to run real-time without the need for 3d hardware acceleration.
Bruce Dell and Greg Douglas are currently joint project leaders of Unlimited Detail. Although Dell can be credited as the original inventor of the UD engine, Douglas, chief technology officer, is presently in charge of certain operations such as graphic card compatibility and polygon-to-point-cloud conversion.
As of September 2011, Greg Douglas has left Euclideon, as reported on his linkedin profile.
Feedback and CriticismEdit
At present there is a lot of criticism about Unlimited Detail. Ranging from naysayers, people bashing the look of it, to people who say it will never be adopted by mainstream graphics companies. This is all due to that fact that we have somewhat jumped the gun... Unlimited Detail was something well hidden, but extremely interesting. It has now come into the light before its creators were ready. Dell has stated on a couple occasions that he [they] plan to refrain from releasing much about the project prior to it's completion. Aside from a couple videos and images, very little has been seen of the system in action.
Although all of the current snapshots and video tech demonstrations are claimed to be running from a laptop with a single-core processor and no 3d hardware acceleration, Dell has hinted at the expandibility and integration of UD across multiple platforms, including mobile phones and gaming consoles.
The Unlimited Detail engine is claimed to function more like an advanced search algorithm rather than the standard 3D engine found throughout today's video games and 3d applications. Dell states that UD's processing approach is analogous to quickly accessing words by using the search function in a word document, or instantly finding thousands of results simply by typing in a query in Google™ . Unlimited Detail utilizes an advanced point cloud search algorithm to sift through all of the data and picks out only the points needed to render the current frame. In this method, UD can construct limitless worlds and render only the portions that the camera sees, taking into account factors such as the camera's perspective and location. The number of points returned is dependent on the current resolution of the screen – for example, a resolution of 1024x768 would return that many points, one for each pixel. Other factors in determining exactly what points are needed include the distance of the object from the camera, which objects are overlapping others, the scale of an object, and so forth, but all of this is efficiently handled by a method referred to as Mass Connected Processing. Mass Connected Processing allows the engine to process large amounts of data simultaneously and apply small changes to each part at the end of the cycle. “Its job is to find one atom for every pixel on the screen and not touch any of the others, it took us fifteen years to perfect the technique (it began as a hobby). What we have now works very well. We are able to display pictures with no geometry limitations at 24-30 fps 1024*600, one core with out any graphics hardware assistance, and we have only just begun to optimize so we are hoping to double that without any hardware assistance.”
“When trying to build a search algorithm that scans 3D atoms your biggest problems are what do you grab when they are far away and small ? How do you know whether an object is blocked by another object ? In the end perfect solutions were found. I don’t use the word perfect lightly, for a long time I was not at all happy with some parts of the system but they kept evolving and now we are at the point were the core of our algorithm is less then two pages long and it has no multiplication or division (multiply and divide slow a computer down). Our claim is we have reached the point where it’s so small and efficient it can’t be improved upon. Often in maths you reach the point of perfection from which there can be no improvement. Consider Pythagoras, there are longer ways to find the area of a circle, but he found the perfect way on which there can be no improvement. Likewise, time will be our judge, but in the future when UD is taught in universities it maybe held as the highest and best way to process 3D. I personally like UD because it’s so simple and “pure” .
Determining what pixel will fill only each of the pixels on the display sounds a lot like the old PowerVR chip scanline "tile based rendering" algorythm which did that on a poly by poly scale.
"PVRSG will try to render only those pixel that are visible. To do that some extra setup is needed and this is the first step to provide that necessary extra setup."
"PowerVR's architecture only draws the pixels that you can see.
This common problem of rendering hidden pixels is called overdraw. Conventional graphics cards try to overcome this problem by performing a "Z-sort", which eliminates some of the redundant information. But it isn't perfect, and still leaves substantial overdraw.
PowerVR chips utilise a farily hefty depth sorting algorithm, which creates a display list of what is actually going to reach your screen at the end of the day. In this way the need for a conventional Z-Buffer is eliminated. In creating this display list the scene information must be depth sorted which, as I am sure you can imagine, is quite some task, especially when you are asking for 60 frames per second or better. Despite this time consuming task, the chip is capable of rendering so quickly and efficiently by only drawing visible pixels as described in the display list that it more than makes up for it. "
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/p_kyro3d contains figures of algorythm
Unlimited Detail will support animation, as well as dynamic and destructible environments.
Support for real-time shadows, precalculated lighting, and reflections, as well a variety of other advanced lighting options.
Supported File FormatsEdit
Although an official list of supported file formats has not yet been released, Dell has stated that data will be able to be imported from a variety of sources, including "popular scanning and modeling applications and file formats for both point-cloud and polygon-style data."
“Think little 3D atoms, X, Y, Z and some property coordinates, like colour and texture. However we store it all in a zipped format that recycles any common structures. So it’s all nice and small in the end.” http://thisismyjoystick.com/interviews/interview-bruce-roberts-dell-unlimited-detail-technology/
Unlimited Detail in the MediaEdit
Coverage of Unlimited Detail and interviews with creator Bruce Dell have been featured in numerous magazines and websites, including electronista.com, wired.com, and newscientist.com.
Although no official release date for the Unlimited Detail SDK or demo engine has been provided, Dell has stated that production of a demo engine will come before the SDK.