Ray Tracing News

"Light Makes Right"

February 15, 1988

Volume 1, Number 2

Compiled by Eric Haines erich@acm.org . Opinions expressed are mine.

All contents are copyright (c) 1988, all rights reserved by the individual authors

Archive locations: anonymous FTP at ftp://ftp-graphics.stanford.edu/pub/Graphics/RTNews/,
wuarchive.wustl.edu:/graphics/graphics/RTNews, and many others.

You may also want to check out the Ray Tracing News issue guide and the Mother of all Ray Tracing Pages.



So, now that the SIGGRAPH paper submission rush is over, the SIGGRAPH paper review process begins. Fortunately, it's generally easier to comment on someone else's deathless prose than write it yourself. It's also time to start procrastinating on writing up SIGGRAPH tutorial notes. So, all in all it's not been too busy, except for all the "real" work we've all (hopefully) been doing.

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The only new news I've got is on the new product by Ardent, called Dore' (rhymes with "moray" - there should be an up-accent over that "e" in Dore). Ardent is the new name for Dana Computer Inc (i.e. the "single-user supercomputer/supergraphics" people. Their "Titan" minisupercomputer is due out realsoonnow). Dore' stands for "Dynamic Object-Rendering Environment".

The places I've seen articles so far is "Electronics", February 4, 1988, on pages 69-70, and "Mini-Micro Systems", February 1988, pages 22-23. The first article offers more detail. I don't really want to rehash either article in full. The salient points (to me) about Dore' are:

  (1) Toolkit approach.
  (2) Can render using vectors, hidden surface, or ray tracing.
  (3) Hierarchical, object oriented system.
  (4) Five object classes:
      (a) primitives (including points, curves, polygons, meshes, cubic
	  solids (?!), and NURBS (non-uniform rational B-splines),
      (b) appearance attributes (material properties, inc. solid texture
	  maps and environmental reflection maps),
      (c) geometric attributes (modeling matrices),
      (d) studio objects (camera, lights) (I like this term!),
      (e) organizational objects (hierarchy, and evidentally the ability
	  to define function calls inside the environment which call
	  routines in the application program.  No idea how this works).
  (5) Quoted times: 0.1 second for vector, 10 seconds for hidden
      surface, 100 seconds ray-traced (I assume on the Titan.  No
      idea what kind of scene complexity or resolution).
  (6) Written in C.
  (7) "Open" system - source code sold in hopes of selling Dore' on other

The best part (for universities and research labs) is the price: $250 for a source code license - not sure what the cost is for source code maintenance (vs. $15000 for commercial users plus $5000/year after the first year). Per copy binary license is $200.

I am teaching the ray-tracing section of "A Consumer's and Developer's Guide to Image Synthesis" at SIGGRAPH this year, so definitely want to know more. I would also like more information just out of curiosity. So, you university people, please go out there and get one - seems like a real bargain. The contact info for Ardent is:

	Ardent Computer Corp
	550 Del Rey Ave
	Sunnyvale, CA  94086

That's all, folks,


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Eric Haines / erich@acm.org