Thursday, February 22, 2007

Abstract for PhD

One of the issues with developing virtual worlds is that the immersive qualities are not fully realised until the world is complete. Many of the tedious features like trees blowing, people going about their daily lives and having conversations away from the protagonist are usually not fleshed out until the main framework is complete. These add greatly to the realism of a scene, so they bring that feeling of 'being there' to life. With more ephemera there is more requirements on processing power and storage, to the point where systems can not cope with the amount of data on hand.

In Computer Graphics there are level of detail (LOD) techniques to limit the complexity of a scene depending on the resources available. These techniques rate the importance of specific vertexes in a 3D model based on their ability to define the shape of the model. The tip of a nose is more important in defining facial features than vertexes representing slight bumps on the forehead. When rendering the model, vertices are drawn in order of importance so that limited resource systems still see the basic shape of the object (like the point of the nose) whereas more powerful systems can view extra detail (like the point of a nose and all the minor lumps on the forehead).

With these techniques in mind, this model attempts to generate worlds based off events ordered by importance. Each event dictates a moment in space-time where an interaction occurs between different objects in the system. Very important events are generated first for large areas of this new world, then as the areas of space-time are broken into smaller and smaller chunks, new events are generated to flesh out the world. Each new event is deterministically created and constrained to abide by other events currently existing in the system. This enables a consistent, coherent world to be created no matter the starting position or the depth of processing available. With the ability to create virtual worlds at a whim, authors can then sculpt the world by placing specific events into the system while letting the event generation framework take care of everything else.