Shadowy details! [UPDATED AGAIN]

In my youth as a carefree university student, I had very nice teachers that told me that you could only get shadows on 3D computer-generated images if you developed a ray-tracer. Now, my poor teachers of course couldn’t imagine the technological advances. Teachers at video game design schools today  probably can’t imagine graphic cards that can manage 50 frames per second of ray tracing (we’ll get there!), although the clever programmers have figured out lots of cool tricks to achieve the same with different algorithms that can, indeed, render a scene insanely quickly.

The Second Life® client was able to do shadows… on and off. Some versions had a special flag which you could set via LSL to “activate” shadows. This was dropped recently. And why?… Because one of Linden Lab’s teams of developers is actively doing a complete rewrite of the lighting model, allowing more than 6 lights in a scene and reasonably-drawn shadows.

For now, you cannot download and install this “new version” of Second Life. You first need to compile it on your own. This is definitely not for the faint of heart, and this version will only work on high-end PCs (no Mac support) with the latest graphic cards from nVidea. So it’s not for the “common user”, but it’s perhaps the best example so far of what Linden Lab is starting to do: revamp Second Life so that its graphics engine starts to keep up with the competition from the latest generation of games.

SignpostMarv Martin, with his super-boosted SL-tailored PC, decided to give it a try.

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