3DMark06 review -
Skinny dipping on the Canyon Flight
This is probably the map that all of you will like the most. I certainly love what has happened here. Again, rich geometry, detail and complexities have been added. Just have a look at the HDR effects in this level, then notice the tremendous detail the ship, monster and and the face of the "captain" have. Simply incredible. That crewmen is using a new shadowing technique called the Strauss shading model, Strauss shader shades an object using the Strauss physical light model. This shader is very good at metallic looking highlights. Have a look at the screenshot and notice the differences.
More importantly and I found this to be flabbergasting, look at the water, the fog and banking, amazing. You'll also notice vegetation at the top of the cliffs. Wowzers.
A lot is happening in this scene. Atmospheric light scattering and fog effects, HDR and look at that water effect.
The water in this scene is utilizing HDR refractions and reflections so basically wherever a reflection of a light source is extremely bright, "white hot" spots occur along with blooming on water. Yet also depth fog is one of the things you'll notice here (which just looks amazing when you focus on the monster when it's under the ship). The fog I mentioned earlier is made by using a technique called heterogeneous fog which gives the scene that humid feeling.
"Hetero" of course means difference, a heterogeneous fog simply means a mixture visibly different substances or phases. The three phases or states of matter are gas, liquid, and solid.
The crewmen looks much better with the Straus shading model. Look at the monster below the ship, depth fog making the sea monster look like it's deep in the water.
Weather is great, so the entire scene is lighted by one light, the sun, and that is challenging for sure when it comes to dynamic shadowing which you'll see throughout the scene.
The seamonster then, it became prettier, but it's still not a rather pretty looking pet is it?! Here we see HDR reflection of the sun, dynamic soft shadows clearly visible on the monster. Pixel shaded water with depth fog as explained already, heterogeneous fog and of course atmospheric light scattering & fog.
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.