News Article

3DS Helps Developers Render Fog Effects Via Its Own Chip

Posted by Trevor Chan

Such a handy handheld

If the 3DS was to be personified, it would surely be a hip youngster helping old ladies cross busy streets. However, when we say old ladies, we mean games developers, and by crossing busy streets, we actually mean render in-game fog effects. Close enough.

In D3Publisher's upcoming retro shooter Dream Trigger 3D, there's a level where players float through a foggy forest, and apparently the developers didn't have to create the volumetric fog from scratch.

When Siliconera spoke to a D3Publisher representative, it was revealed that the 3DS actually has a chip with fog effects built-in to it. To what extent is unknown, but the fact that programmers didn't have to start from scratch must be a little bonus for development studios.

Whilst we wait for the game to launch in North America this May, why not check out the latest gameplay trailer and screenshots?

[via siliconera.com]

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User Comments (23)

nick_gc

#4

nick_gc said:

@2. This this better because it means developers have an easier time, quicker development, cheaper costs.

CorbsAdmin

#6

Corbs said:

Looking at the screenshots makes me really want to see this game running on the 3DS. I bet it looks amazing! :D

BF-Medic

#8

BF-Medic said:

@8. A trailer really doesn't do the 3DS games fully justice, and especially this type of game.
I think this game will look super sleek in 3D :)

motang

#9

motang said:

Fog effect isn't very hard, I have done it before using the libraries that are provided with OpenGL, but it being built in that just a game developers' lives that much easier! :D

aaronsullivan

#10

aaronsullivan said:

Are we talking volumetric fog here? If not, this is a non-story. I'm pretty sure hardware assisted depth fog has been around for over a decade. Sorta like motang said.

Objection

#11

Objection said:

@Jafri/Corbs-I really think complaining about that should be grounds for temp-ban. The frequency is getting ridiculous.

As for the chip, I hope that its a decent one that Nintnedo stuck in for actual use rather than some kind of obscure bragging chip ("we have that built in lol", "but does anyone use it?", "no it's awful")

3dbrains

#13

3dbrains said:

The chip in question is the CPU built by Armada and Nintendo. It has a graphics IP built in to it called PICA 200 Meastro. The 3DS CPU is a 'system on a chip'.(like hummingbird/snapdragon)

Clock speeds unconfirmed but point towards a 800MHz - 1GHz with multiple pipelines.

http://www.dmprof.com/english/e_products/e_case/

  1. DMP's MAESTRO-2G technology

3DS - http://www.dmprof.com/e_news/e_press/372/

As you can see, it does a LOT more than just reproducing fog. It does shading, refraction and rendering ALL WITHOUT using the cpu itself.
Add in the CPU and you get this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr3bvrvJYyo
and that was just a quick, first gen demo.

Capt_N

#16

Capt_N said:

I just wonder the frequency devs will use this, among other built-in features sets, & if it will become common practice for devs to augment the built-in effects w/ some of their own code; I mean should the fog effects, for example, not necessarily live up to any one developer's standards, or desire for any one particular title they may be developing.

3dbrains

#17

3dbrains said:

The 'fog' effects will be just fine. Unlike the NGP, these effects are NEXT GEN not current gen. Each developer has full control over what each extention does, for example i can make heat/steam effects coming from a kettle and a thick 10 meter vanishing point fog, some ciggarette smoke, and patchy black soot from a fire... ALL WITH THE IN BUILT EXTENTIONS. and that is only using gasious rendering. ('fog' on 3DS is 3D, it has density, volume, and opacity and is different from every angle, no other console can do this with just hardware, not even NGP)

3dbrains

#18

3dbrains said:

Just to clear up a misconseption I may cause with that last comment... the 3DS is next gen. It is roughly a Wii 2. A wii with more power and grunt. The possibilities to create graphics are incredible
next gen features:
glasses free 3D
next gen shaders and extentions.
larger pipeline.
Network enhanced.
current gen:
DS compatible.
Single stick.
Touch screen.

NGP on the other hand is very powerfull, but not even close to what a PS3 can do. Next gen features of this console are:
Enhanced network.
Possible 3G (games will only be able to use this as an extra side feature as it is not on all versions)
twin sticks.
Current gen:
Touch screen.
Everything else,
including shaders ext which are in line with what PS3 can do and not above.

to conclude.

The NGP games will look incredibly almost as good as a PS3 game.
The 3DS is unlike ANYTHING you have ever seen before.

Stuffgamer1

#19

Stuffgamer1 said:

@3dbrains: Well, the NGP is next gen as far as handhelds are concerned. Most of what it does isn't new in an overall view, I agree, but it's still a huge step up from the PSP. I definitely agree that the 3DS is unlike anything else, but at the same time, it's also an obvious step up from the DS.

moosa

#20

moosa said:

@7.Corbs This is the game that made me realize that "trippy games" could mean something entirely new on the 3DS.

GinaB

#22

GinaB said:

Hey 3dbrains not to cause any offence but the 3DS is not roughly a Wii 2 but rather a bit better the a Gamecube, actually the Wii is still more powerful then the 3DS. people seem to keep saying the 3DS is more powerful but it is not and people are seriously going to be let down if they believe this. games will graphically be as good as gamecube titles if not a little better. If they 3DS can produce anything as good or better then Super Mario Galaxy 2 then I will come back on here and eat my own hat!

3dbrains

#23

3dbrains said:

Resident evil look incredible. Much better than anything on Wii and alsmost as good as xbox360.

Hat;- EAT.

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