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DROPTEAM! using High Dynamic Range Rendering and TBG Software have just released a brand new set of 58 screenshots from DropTeam, showing the cutting edge "High Dynamic Range Rendering" in action.

DropTeam is TBG/Battlefront's upcoming "realistic" Sci-Fi game about mechanized combat in the far future, compatible for the PC, Mac and Linux systems.

In short, DropTeam uses advanced lighting and postprocessing effects including High Dynamic Range rendering and full-scene glow. These techniques make atmospheric lighting and bright light sources more realistic. For example, muzzle flashes, ion beams, and bright sunlight cause "glare" that obscures the outlines of intermediate objects and throws them into sharp silhouetted contrast.

Clay Fowler from TBG Software explains how HDR works -

A device's "dynamic range" is the difference between the darkest color it can display (or detect) and the brightest color it can display. Monitors have far less dynamic range than the human eye. Images displayed on our monitors, even in 32 bit color, only have 8 bits of precision for each color component (red, green, blue). That means there are only 256 levels of "brightness" possible on our screens! The human eye, in contrast, has either millions of levels of brightness or an infinite number of levels, depending on who you believe, but either way it's much greater than 256. When you stand outside and look through the trees at the sun, you're seeing some very dark colors in the shadows of the leaves all the way up to searing bright colors from the sun itself - a high RANGE of intensities.

Hence the graphic industry's quest for "High Dynamic Range" rendering. HDR is an attempt to render an image where the dynamic range is closer to the human eye's - so the bright parts of the image are really WAY brighter than the other parts, etc. As stated above, consumer grade video displays are only capable of rendering 256 different levels of brightness, so how can we really increase the dynamic range of that image on the monitor to attain this vaunted "High Dynamic Range?"

Of course, we can't. The hardware's not capable. But what we can do is this commonly used post-processing effect which the industry calls "High Dynamic Range Rendering":

1. Render the scene to a floating point texture instead of to the screen. Colors in this texture have a truly High Dynamic Range (beyond the normal 0...1 range of normal textures, e.g. the sun can have an intensity of 2.0 or 3.0).

2. Do a separable Gaussian blur on the bright regions of the float texture to obtain a "glow" map.

3. Add the float texture and glow texture together (so now the glow has been added to each pixel).

4. "Tone map" the "glowed", high range floating point texture back down into the normal 0...1 range. Tone mapping is a way to map the high range float values down into the normal 0...1 range for displayable textures (basically by decreasing the contrast of the darker parts of the scene and darkening those areas even more than they already are). There's no magic here - information IS LOST in the mapping, 'cuz we only have the normal 0...1 range of intensities to work with now. Tone mapping usually is as simple as saying newColor = original color to the power of 0.555 or some other fraction.

5. Render this tone mapped texture to the screen as the final image.

For DropTeam, Pixel Shader 3.0 is not required for HDR to work. It runs even on low end NVidia 5200 cards and older Radeons (though it does hit performance on those older architectures, as ANY shaders do!)

For more information about the game, please visit:

About is an independent, internet-based publisher and developer of superior war and strategy games, and one of the world's largest and fastest growing war and strategy gaming fan communities. Battlefront's titles include the award-winning 3D tactical WWII combat simulation series Combat Mission (three successive Wargame of the Year Awards), the unique and innovative air combat *strategy* game Down in Flames, the grand strategy classic Strategic Command - European Theater, as well as the famous TacOps 4 modern combat simulation, a commercial version of the official tactical training tool used by the U.S. Army.

->Find out more at

About TBG Software

TBG Software is an independent software development company specializing in real-time terrain visualization. Demeter, TBG's flagship technology, is an open source project that is freely available. During the development of DropTeam, this technology has been extended and improved in many ways, so a more advanced version will be available for other software developers in late 2005. Demeter has been used by the U.S. Army Research Labs and Northrop Grumman, among others. TBG will continue to improve Demeter while releasing games that feature this technology.

->For more information about TBG Software, please visit


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