Lightscape Viewset Returns!

Lightscape (Light-01) Viewset
Makes Comeback from Retirement
That Never Was

In a move reminiscent of a former heavyweight champion, the Lightscape (Light-01) viewset has come out of a retirement that never really took place.

Here's how it happened: At its August meeting, the OPC project group voted to retire the current viewset effective with the December 1997 update of the GPC News. The decision was based on Viewperf limitations and changes in the Lightscape application that the group felt would make the Light-01 viewset obsolete. Just before its November meeting, however, the OPC group learned that the most important information on which it based its decision was wrong. Not just wrong, but "flat-out wrong" according to Dan Ambrosi, Lightscape Technologies' director of marketing.

The issue centered around a misunderstanding concerning a new Lightscape feature called "mesh-to-texture," which automatically converts radiosity meshes to texture maps. This feature can significantly reduce polygon count while retaining the radiosity look. It is an important feature for Lightscape customers who require real-time display of 30 frames per second or more, according to Ambrosi.

Based on the information it had received, the OPC group believed that mesh-to-texture would replace the way radiosity models are displayed, which would mean that the Light-01 viewset results would no longer be a valid reflection of real-world performance. Not so fast, said Ambrosi. Although Lightscape is excited about mesh-to-texture and the increased display speed it will provide, it "is a technique used only by a subset of our users and in no way replaces the way in which we normally use OpenGL," he said. "Even those customers who use it [mesh-to-texture] extensively still only use it as a post-process. Establishing and tuning the radiosity lighting in the first place still benefits greatly by fast interactive viewing of the raw radiosity mesh...For the time being, the current viewset is fully adequate for testing radiosity and display performance and should continue to be used."

Based on the correspondence, the OPC project group voted unanimously to rescind the announced retirement of Light-01 and to work closely with Lightscape Technologies to incorporate its new functionality in the next version of the viewset. The OPC project group thanks Dan Ambrosi and Ian Mapleson of Lightscape Technologies for bringing these issues to its attention.

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