Atom: a gem in the making
Timothy Farrar over at FarrarFocus.com is creating a unique game called Atom. The reason why I call it unique is that unlike many games out there the content for Atom is 100% dynamic which means that (for example) everything can be set in motion. Here’s a quote from Timothy’s post on GameDev.net:
Atom started with the idea to go back to PC gaming’s roots (low risk investment, experimenting with technology, fun timeless gameplay, taking a wild idea from concept to market), while taking advantage of the power of modern hardware.
The graphics engine is completely unconventional, 100% dynamic (no static geometry, everything moves), and based on an animated solid hierarchical cellular representation with an “animation bone” for each cell which is linked into a physics/CFD engine which gives life to the world. Rendering is done via a special purpose painters order micro-impostor compositing engine (old-school, not based on polygons!) which also provides realistic motion blur. Content creation is done with a mix of hand controlled procedural generation.
Due to Atom’s unique world representation, you can literally zoom into the molecular structure of anything, even on the inside. This also works in reverse, Atom is able to simplify any structure, and thus has infinite level of detail control. A custom visible surface determination algorithm eliminates overdraw allowing for both wide and telephoto views inside and side any structure no matter how sparse or dense the geometry.
The concept seems very promising, I suggest watching this project grow. Another thing worth mentioning is that the API used to generate the images is OpenGL, not DirectX. Timothy has posted on his blog that SM 4.0 will might be added to the engine. This is good news for XP users since there will be no need to upgrade to Vista if you want to try out this game.
Check out the Atom project here and watch the videos.