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Effects describe the graphical appearance of 3d objects and scenery in
FlightGear. The main motivation for effects is to support OpenGL
shaders and to provide different implementations for graphics hardware
of varying capabilities. Effects are similar to DirectX effects files
and Ogre3D material scripts.

An effect is a property list. The property list syntax is extended
with new "vec3d" and "vec4d" types to support common computer graphics
values. Effects are read from files with a ".eff" extension or can be
created on-the-fly by FlightGear at runtime.  An effect consists of a
"parameters" section followed by "technique" descriptions.  The
"parameters" section is a tree of values that describe, abstractly,
the graphical characteristics of objects that use the effect. Techniques
refer to these parameters and use them to set OpenGL state or to set
parameters for shader programs. The names of properties in the
parameter section can be whatever the effects author chooses, although
some standard parameters  are set by FlightGear itself. On the other
hand, the properties in the techniques section are all defined by the


A technique can contain a predicate that describes the OpenGL
functionality required to support the technique. The first
technique with a valid predicate in the list of techniques is used
to set up the graphics state of the effect. A technique with no
predicate is always assumed to be valid. The predicate is written in a
little expression language that supports the following primitives:

and, or, equal, less, less-equal
glversion - returns the version number of OpenGL
extension-supported - returns true if an OpenGL extension is supported
property - returns the boolean value of a property
float-property - returns the float value of a property, useful inside equal, less or less-equal nodes
shader-language - returns the version of GLSL supported, or 0 if there is none.

The proper way to test whether to enable a shader-based technique is:
		  <value type="float">1.0</value>

There is also a property set by the user to indicate what is the level 
of quality desired. This level of quality can be checked in the predicate
like this :
	  <value type="float">2.0</value>
	<!-- other predicate conditions -->
The range of /sim/rendering/quality-level is [0..5]
 * 2.0 is the threshold for relief mapping effects,
 * 4.0 is the threshold for geometry shader usage.

A technique can consist of several passes. A pass is basically an Open
Scene Graph StateSet. Ultimately all OpenGL and OSG modes and state
attributes  will be accessable in techniques. State attributes -- that
is, technique properties that have children and are not just boolean
modes -- have an <active> parameter which enables or disables the
attribute. In this way a technique can declare parameters it needs,
but not enable the attribute at all if it is not needed; the decision
can be based on a parameter in the parameters section of the
effect. For example, effects that support transparent and opaque
geometry could have as part of a technique:


So if the blend/active parameter is true blending will be activated
using the usual blending equation; otherwise blending is disabled.

Values of Technique Attributes

Values are assigned to technique properties in several ways:

	* They can appear directly in the techniques section as a
		constant. For example:
			<value type="int">2</value>
		* The name of a property in the parameters section can be
		referenced using a "use" clause. For example, in the technique
		Then, in the parameters section of the effect:
				<ambient type="vec4d">0.2 0.2 0.2 1.0</ambient>

		It's worth pointing out that the "material" property in a
		technique specifies part of OpenGL's state, whereas "material"
		in the parameters section is just a name, part of a
		hierarchical namespace.

		* A property in the parameters section doesn't need to contain
		a constant value; it can also contain a "use" property. Here
		the value of the use clause is the name of a node in an
		external property tree which will be used as the source of a
		value. If the name begins with '/', the node is in
		FlightGear's global property tree; otherwise, it is in a local
		property tree, usually belonging to a model [NOT IMPLEMENTED
		YET]. For example:
		The type is determined by what is expected by the technique
		attribute that will ultimately receive the value. [There is
		no way to get vector values out of the main property system
		yet; this will be fixed shortly.] Values that are declared
		this way are dynamically updated if the property node

OpenGL Attributes

The following attributes are currently implemented in techiques:
alpha-test - children: active, comparison, reference
		 Valid values for comparision:
			 never, less, equal, lequal, greater, notequal, gequal,

blend - children: active, source, destination, source-rgb,
		 source-alpha, destination-rgb, destination-alpha
		 Each operand can have the following values:
			 dst-alpha, dst-color, one, one-minus-dst-alpha,
			 one-minus-dst-color, one-minus-src-alpha,
			 one-minus-src-color, src-alpha, src-alpha-saturate,
			 src-color, constant-color, one-minus-constant-color,
			 constant-alpha, one-minus-constant-alpha, zero

cull-face - front, back, front-back

lighting - true, false

material - children: active, ambient, ambient-front, ambient-back, diffuse,
		 diffuse-front, diffuse-back, specular, specular-front,
		 specular-back, emissive, emissive-front, emissive-back, shininess,
		 shininess-front, shininess-back, color-mode

polygon-mode - children: front, back
		Valid values:
			  fill, line, point

		geometry-vertices-out: integer, max number of vertices emitted by geometry shader
		geometry-input-type - points, lines, lines-adjacency, triangles, triangles-adjacency
		geometry-output-type - points, line-strip, triangle-strip

render-bin - (OSG) children: bin-number, bin-name

rendering-hint - (OSG) opaque, transparent

shade-model - flat, smooth

texture-unit - has several child properties:
	unit - The number of an OpenGL texture unit
		type - This is either an OpenGL texture type or the name of a
		builtin texture. Currently supported OpenGL types are 1d, 2d,
		3d which have the following common parameters:
		image (file name)
			mipmap-control - controls how the mipmap levels are computed.
			Each color channel can be computed with different functions
			among average, sum, product, min and max. For example :
				function-r - function for red
				function-g - function for green
				function-b - function for blue
				function-a - function for alpha
		The following built-in types are supported:
			white - 1 pixel white texture
			noise - a 3d noise texture
		type - float, float-vec3, float-vec4, sampler-1d, sampler-2d,

vertex-program-two-side - true, false

vertex-program-point-size - true, false


One feature not fully illustrated in the sample below is that
effects can inherit from each other. The parent effect is listed in
the "inherits-from" form. The child effect's property tree is
overlaid over that of the parent. Nodes that have the same name and
property index -- set by the "n=" attribute in the property tag --
are recursively merged. Leaf property nodes from the child have
precedence.  This means that effects that inherit from the example
effect below could be very short, listing just new
parameters and adding nothing to the techniques section;
alternatively, a technique could be altered or customized in a
child, listing (for example) a different shader program. An example
showing inheritance Effects/crop.eff, which inherits some if its
values from Effects/terrain-default.eff.

FlightGear directly uses effects inheritance to assign effects to 3D
models and terrain. As described below, at runtime small effects are
created that contain material and texture values in a "parameters"
section. These effects inherit from another effect which references
those parameters in its "techniques" section. The derived effect
overrides any default values that might be in the base effect's
parameters section.


Often shader effects need tangent vectors to work properly. These 
tangent vectors, usually called tangent and binormal, are computed 
on the CPU and given to the shader as vertex attributes. These 
vectors are computed on demand on the geometry using the effect if 
the 'generate' clause is present in the effect file. Exemple :

		<tangent type="int">6</tangent>
		<binormal type="int">7</binormal>
		<normal type="int">8</normal>

Valid subnodes of 'generate' are 'tangent', 'binormal' or 'normal'.
The integer value of these subnode is the index of the attribute 
that will hold the value of the vec3 vector.

The generate clause is located under PropertyList in the xml file.

In order to be available for the vertex shader, these data should 
be bound to an attribute in the program clause, like this :


attribute names are whatever the shader use. The index is the one 
declared in the 'generate' clause. So because generate/tangent has 
value 6 and my_tangent_attribute has index 6, my_tangent_attribute 
holds the tangent value for the vertex.

Default Effects in Terrain Materials and Models

Effects for terrain work in this way: for each material type in
materials.xml an effect is created that inherits from a single default
terrain effect, Effects/terrain-default.eff. The parameters section of
the effect is filled in using the ambient, diffuse, specular,
emissive, shininess, and transparent fields of the material. The
parameters image, filter, wrap-s, and wrap-t are also initialized from
the material xml. Seperate effects are created for each texture
variant of a material.

Model effects are created by walking the OpenSceneGraph scene graph
for a model and replacing nodes (osg::Geode) that have state sets with
node that uses an effect instead. Again, a small effect is created
with parameters extracted from OSG objects; this effect inherits, by
default, from Effects/model-default.eff. A larger set of parameters is
created for model effects than for terrain because there is more
variation possible from the OSG model loaders than from the terrain
system. The parameters created are: 

	* material active, ambient, diffuse, specular, emissive,
		shininess, color mode
		* blend active, source, destination
		* shade-model
		* cull-face
	* rendering-hint
	* texture type, image, filter, wrap-s, wrap-t

Specifying Custom Effects

You can specify the effects that will be used by FlightGear as the
base effect when it creates terrain and model effects.

In the terrain materials.xml, an "effect" property specifies the name
of the model to use.

In model .xml files, A richer syntax is supported. [TO BE DETERMINED]

Material animations will be implemented by creating a new effect
that inherits from one in a model, overriding the parameters that
will be animated.


The Effects directory contains the effects definitions; look there for
examples. Effects/crop.eff is a good example of a complex effect.


To apply an effect to a model or part of a model use:


where <inherits-from> </inherits-from> contains the path to the effect you want to apply.
The effect does not need the file extension.


Chrome, although now implemented as an effect, still retains the old method of application:


in order to maintain backward compatibility.