The first level you'll all recognize very well. It now has an updated game engine which has improved scenery and judging from that scenery and movement point of view, a lot remained the same. Added however are some very complex features that enhance the scene quality.
This test utilizes only SM 3.0 yet used dynamic softshadows. It makes the test look more realistic. What you'll notice the most however is the lighting as it has had a complete overhaul. You are looking at directional lights from behind and above creating a denser atmosphere and fantastic shadows. Look at the rotating light above the door. In total there are 26 light sources being used, two directional, 12 shadow mapped spot lights that are faster in most situations and the rest point lights.
On top on the left 3DMark05 with on the right 3DMark06. Below it a bigger image of 3DMark06. A lot of Dynamic shadows are being casted here from various light sources.
Part Deux... damn bugs in the firefly forest
Again a part which all of you will recognize. This was also a SM 2.0 demo. There are a couple of differences though. First off added is again dynamic soft shadowing. Secondly, you'll notice a second firefly active in the scene to increase the GPU computational load. Rich vegetation with lot of trees and leaves moving. The vegetation has added diffuse detail, normal and normal maps. Have a good look at the directional moonlight generating CMS (cascaded shadow maps) with the sky being generated by a procedural light scattering shader. A good explanation of what scattering really means is for example (imagine this:) clouds in contrast to the blue sky appear white to achromatic gray. In the real world the blue color of the sky is caused by the scattering of sunlight off the molecules of the atmosphere. The illuminated fireflies are actually masked point lights throwing shadows using a 1024x1024x6 cube depth map/hardware shadow maps.
Vegetation is highly detailed animated geometry. The fireflies are dynamic masked light sources. Furthermore there are soft shadows from a threefold of light sources (moon and two flies) and when you look through the trees you'll notice atmospheric light scattering and fog.
3DMark06 review Last year when 3DMark 05 was released (February I think) it became the standard for DirectX 9 benchmarking and it was well received by the consumer and industry. In the months following I however honestly felt the benchmark was good but not yet perfect as some very important features where left out. 3DMark06 entails all the new features and we will take a brief look at this exciting new update of the software. I say update because in essence 3Dmark06 is 3Dmark05, with a complete overhaul of features and exciting end-result.