2020 was the most intellectually challenging year in my career. Many major advancements were invented, and 2021 will see those items refined, polished, and turned into a usable software product. Here is a partial list of things I created:
- Streaming hierarchal planet-scale terrain system with user-defined deformation and texture projection.
- Vulkan post-processing stack and transparency with refraction.
- Vulkan render-to-texture.
- Major progress on voxel ray tracing.
- Porting/rewrite of Leadwerks GUI with Implementation in 3D, rendered to texture, and using system drawing.
- Plugin system for loading and saving textures, models, packages, and processing image and mesh data.
- Lua debugger with integration in Visual Studio Code.
- Pixmap class for loading, modifying, compressing, and saving texture data.
- Vulkan particle system with physics.
- Implemented new documentation system.
- Lua and C++ state serialization system with JSON.
- C++ entity component system and preprocessor. (You don't know anything about this yet.)
Not only was this a year of massive technical innovation, but it was also the year when my efforts were put to the test to see if my idea of delivering a massive performance increase for VR was actually possible, or if I was in fact, as some people from the Linux community have called me, "unbelievably delusional". Fortunately, it turned out that I was right, and an as-of-yet-unreleased side-by-side benchmark showing our performance against another major engine proves we offer significantly better performance for VR and general 3D graphics. More on this later...
Additionally, I authored a paper on VR graphics optimization for a major modeling and simulation conference (which was unfortunately canceled but the paper will be published at a later time). This was another major test because I had to put my beliefs, which I mostly gain from personal experience, into a more quantifiable defensible scientific format. Writing this paper was actually one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. (I would like to thank Eric Lengyel of Terathon Software for providing feedback on the final paper, as well as my colleagues in other interesting industries.)
I'm actually kind of floored looking at this list. That is a massive block of work, and there's a lot of really heavy-hitting items. I've never produced such a big volume of output before. I'm expecting 2021 to be less about groundbreaking research and more about turning these technologies into usable polished products, to bring you the benefits all these inventions offer.