Sundog Blog

Posted by Frank Kane on 4th September 2015

Tiny Bubbles… In the Ocean

Triton's latest water shader simulates tiny bubbles in turbulent areas.We’re always on the lookout for ways to make the Triton Ocean SDK‘s water look even more realistic. Version 3.38 introduces one more little bit of polish: the effect of bubbles in turbulent areas of the waves.

As part of Triton’s simulation of foam, it computes in real time which parts of the water have the most energy concentrated into them. On the water surface, this can result in foam – but underneath the foam, the water’s churning and creating small air bubbles as well. These bubbles result in the color of the water lightening a bit.

Since Triton already computes the energy in the water, it was easy to add this little touch in – and its performance cost isn’t even measurable.

It’s just another little detail that adds up to Triton’s realism, such as our simulations of double refraction, foam, spray, Fresnel effects, and reflections. It’s not something you’re likely to notice, but it helps you and your end users accept our water as being “real.”

Posted by Frank Kane on 13th August 2015

SilverLining and Triton are OpenSceneGraph 3.4.0-ready

SilverLining and Triton with OSG in VR-VantageThe stable release of OpenSceneGraph 3.4.0 is now available, and we’re happy to report that the OSG samples included with SilverLining and Triton continue to work well with it.

If you’re planning to update your application to OSG 3.4.0, no modifications related to SilverLining or Triton should be required.

If you do run into any OSG 3.4.0 related issues, please let us know!

Posted by Frank Kane on 4th August 2015

Check out our new Triton Ocean video

We put together an updated demo video of our Triton Ocean SDK – check it out!

This video was made with Triton 3.26, captured live from within VT MÄK‘s VR-Vantage stealth viewer, which is built on top of OpenSceneGraph. There’s no video editing trickery here at all – it’s all footage captured via FRAPS running on nothing more than a single NVidia GTX970 card in a desktop PC. It showcases many of Triton’s unique abilities in real-time ocean simulation, including its advanced ship wake system, spray effects, rotor wash, Beaufort and swell state simulation, and environmental and object reflections. The ships in this video are powered by VT MÄK’s own buoyancy system, using Triton for fast height queries on the ocean surface.

Thanks to our friends at VT MÄK for making this video possible. If you’re new to Triton – go learn more and download a free evaluation SDK.

Posted by Frank Kane on 29th July 2015

Now Supporting Visual Studio 2015 and Visual Studio 2013 Update 5

Visual Studio 2015Both the SilverLining Sky, 3D Cloud and Weather SDK and the Triton Ocean SDK have been updated with support for Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2015, and support for the newly released Update 5 for Visual Studio 2013.

This is especially important for customers using Visual Studio 2013. Update 5, which was issued by Microsoft on July 20, will break applications linking against earlier pre-built SilverLining and Triton libraries. Changes were made to STL that require our libraries to be recompiled. So, if updating to the latest versions of SilverLining or Triton with Visual Studio 2013 – be sure to have Update 5 installed. And if you’re wondering why Update 5 caused SilverLining or Triton to start crashing, just go download our updates.

On a more positive note, our new support for Visual Studio 2015 lets you move forward on Microsoft’s latest offering. You’ll find new libraries and resources for Visual Studio 2015 under the vc14 folders in our SDK’s. I’ve only been using it for a few days now, but it’s got a lot of nice new features. I really like the new built-in resource monitor that runs automatically while debugging, and it includes some neat features for cross-compilation on mobile devices.

You can get the latest evaluation SDK’s or get your licensed copies from the licensed user download portal.

Posted by Frank Kane on 28th July 2015

Using SilverLining and Triton Together in OpenSceneGraph

SilverLining and Triton togetherOpenSceneGraph remains the most popular framework our customers are using for real-time visual simulation. As such, we often receive questions about how to properly integrate our SilverLining 3D Cloud, Sky, and Weather SDK and Triton Ocean SDK together in a single project. While both SDK’s include numerous samples for OpenSceneGraph, there are a few tricks for things like reflecting SilverLining’s skies and clouds in Triton’s water, lighting Triton’s water with the sunlight and moonlight from SilverLining in a realistic manner, or getting fog on Triton’s water to match the horizon of SilverLining’s sky.

To make this simpler, we’ve put together a simple example of using both SilverLining and Triton together in the same OpenSceneGraph application:

We hope it is a useful reference! SilverLining and Triton are better together, and this code will show you how to get the best results.

Posted by Frank Kane on 22nd July 2015

I Made a Course on Big Data, MapReduce and Hadoop.

TamingBigDataThis has nothing to do with computer graphics – but some of you know that before launching Sundog Software, I worked at and where I developed and managed various pieces of their recommendation and content management technologies. This involved building systems that continually analyzed behavior data from hundreds of millions of customers.

I’m sharing some of that experience in my first online course launched via Udemy, “Taming Big Data With MapReduce and Hadoop“. While I’m not giving away Amazon’s secrets, this course does teach you how to extract meaning from massive data sets using the power of distributed computing. It’s very hands-on, with over 10 real examples built using Python, MRJob, and Amazon’s Elastic MapReduce service. It includes over 5 hours of video walking you through the theory, writing and running the examples, and analyzing the results.

As an entrepreneur, I’m always trying out new things – so I’ve given this course my best effort, and I’m anxious to see how it does! Please help me out by spreading the word; as an extra incentive, the first 50 students may use coupon code NICE-ELEPHANT! to get 80% off the price of the course.

Posted by Frank Kane on 14th July 2015

Triton 3D Oceans for Unity Updated

Triton Oceans for UnityWe’ve released an update to our Triton 3D Oceans for Unity asset, bringing AAA and simulation-quality 3D ocean effects to the Unity engine. Triton for Unity includes the same technology used by our Pro C++ SDK, at a price friendly to smaller projects.

New features in this update:

  • Compatibility with the new Unity 5.1.1 release
  • Works with Unity’s new built-in support for VR headsets such as Oculus Rift
  • Smoother ship wake effects on ships that have a RigidBody and physics-based motion
  • Better compatibility with custom world unit sizes
  • Visual improvements to water spray effects
  • More realistic dissipation of ship propeller backwash over time
  • Various visual and performance improvements

Go get a free trial version of Triton for Unity; if it suits your needs, licenses may be purchased directly from our website, or through the Unity Asset Store.

Posted by Frank Kane on 7th July 2015

I Wrote a Book on Self-Employment

Self-Employment book coverI’m going to let you in on a little secret – Sundog Software’s steady revenue growth, impressive customer list, and pace of development may lead you to think it’s made up of a lot of people. It’s not – Sundog Software has always had one employee: myself. I rely on contractors and my family from time to time to help out, but Sundog Software is essentially a self-employment endeavor. It’s a pretty good gig; as long as I keep my customers happy, I get to work on my own terms.

I’d like to help others achieve what I have, and so I’ve written a book: Self-Employment: Building an Internet Business of One. It’s available on Kindle for just $2.99, or free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.

In it, I describe how to transition from being a full-time corporate employee to being successfully self-employed. You don’t need to risk the livelihood of your family by making a move like this, and this book shares how I did it without betting the farm in the process. The book talks about crafting your business such that it can grow independently from your own time by focusing on product development, automation, and outsourcing. And, it talks about how to ensure your business continues to grow in the face of changing technologies, economies, and customer needs.

If you’re curious about the story of how Sundog Software came to be, and how maybe you could do something similar yourself – please give it a read! If you find it useful, I’d appreciate if you’d leave a review on Amazon.

Posted by Frank Kane on 30th June 2015

Project Spotlight: “The Golden Age VR”

Golden Age dock
Sometimes our customers send in screenshots or movies of their projects that just blow us away. “The Golden Age VR” produced for the Museum of the Golden Age in the Netherlands is one of them! They are using our Triton Oceans for Unity asset for an Oculus Rift-based simulation of cities in the Netherlands in the 17th century. Just look at this video (Triton shows up at 0:38):

Creator of the project, Rob Tuytel, says: “In January 2015 we started with a new expansion, this was called ‘ The Discovery of Cape Horn’ a story about the exploration of a new trading route. For this we had to find a solution to cover the water in Unity. We used lots of water shaders, but none of them had the effect we wanted, especially for the rift, you want something that looks believable.”

“Then we get in touch with Triton, it was the perfect solution for the project. The support for ships on the waves in combination with the Oculus Rift DK2 is something I had never seen before, it was even better than we could ever imagine.”

We’re proud to be a part of this project! Here are a few more images highlighting it; click through for larger versions.

Golden Age VR

Triton 3D Oceans for Unity

Triton 3D Oceans for Unity

Triton 3D Oceans for Unity

Golden Age dock

Golden Age city

Posted by Frank Kane on 23rd June 2015

Using an OpenGL Logarithmic Depth Buffer in SilverLining and Triton

Soft clouds in SkyMaxx Pro 3Logarithmic depth buffers seem to be gaining wider adoption with our customers lately. The idea stemmed from an article by Outerra on how they preserved depth resolution at both near and far distances. Like Outerra, many of our customers need to render something like a cockpit close to the eyepoint, while at the same time rendering distant terrain hundreds of kilometers away. Conventional depth buffers cannot handle such a wide difference between your near and far clip planes, without producing artifacts from depth buffer resolution (“z-fighting.”)

While Outerra’s original article on log depth buffers covered the basic idea, it wasn’t refined until 2013 in this update. This newer article is much more explicit about what needs to go into your vertex programs in order to change how your depth buffer values are written, and it produces good results. All you have to do is add this snippet of code, plus one uniform value, into all of your vertex programs (and maybe a few of your fragment programs, too.)
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