SSAO Screen Space Ambient Occlusion

I isolated the inherited SSAO contribution to the overall post processing effects and was a little underwhelmed:

Definitely some AO contribution but this type of post processing is quite expensive to compute, so thought it could get a lot better.

After a trawl of what others had achieved, a refactor of the shader produced this (based on the cry engine approach):

This I thought added a lot more, but perhaps too much on the flat surfaces, so polarised to this:

Cogwheel Chronicles – Dragons

Dragons are peaceful creatures unless provoked. Their eggs are highly prized possessions of the rich, so the elder dragons are often disgruntled.

Since making this video, the dragon fire shader has been updated:

dragons and dragon fire in Cogwheel Chronicles video game

Parallax Occlusion Mapping

I’ve implemented POM into favourite game engine, also ‘Offset Bump Mapping’. Will have to use these techniques sparingly in Cogwheel Chronicles as Parallax Occlusion Mapping takes a lot of extra height map texture reads to calculate the final texture UVs. The results are pretty good – especially for rocky paths, caves and such like:

Parallax Occlusion Mapping Comparison

The first is normal ‘normal mapping’, followed by POM (deep crevices), then OBM (‘super normals’).

Volumetric Height Based Fog

Volumetric Height Based Fog

Fog is a very important game component for Cogwheel Chronicles – it is almost a character in the story itself.

Up until now though the fog has been pretty boring, so have now implemented a swirling height based fog effect into the game. Once you’re up in the skies on your airship / biplane / steamhawk / jetpack you can leave it all below but down near sea-level a dense poisonous fog envelopes and swirls.


Anaglyph 3D

Old school 3D using red/cyan spectacles (remember those) is making somewhat of a comeback – OK not really – VR is the new 3D I know – however I actually like the affect (probably as it brings back memories of youth) and a pair of decent stereo 3D anaglyph glasses is very cheap.

Probably just make it an add on option for those old school diehards who also like it 🙂

cogwheel chronicles anaglyph 3d


Adaptive DOF

The HLSL (shaders) for Cogwheel Chronicles are coming along nicely. Not sure that all will be used in the final release, but it’s nice to have several to choose from to get the look and feel as good as an independent micro team can manage.

Below is the Ellenora airship with adaptive DOF (Depth Of Field) – notice the airship is in focus but the foreground and background are not. Not everyone likes this kind (or any kind) of DOF with games, so probably will be an optional feature.