The return of brightly glowing

ReturnOfGlowSo it’s been an extremely busy day today.  Today I revamped a lot of VectorStorm’s underside, in order to support this magical feature that I’ve been wanting for a while;  the ability to do the old style “bright vector glow” at the same time as rendering other geometry normally.  Long-time readers will have noticed that all glow vanished from the MMORPG Tycoon shots a month or two back, as I simply wasn’t happy with the “brightness threshhold” mechanism I was using to determine which bits of the screen glowed and which didn’t.  Now I have a system where I can mark any individual object as glowing or not, and it works (basically) as one would expect.

Notice, for example, in this screenshot that the red hook object is made up of stripes;  half the stripes are brightly glowing white, and the other half are non-glowing red.  Notice that the cursor outline glows, but the sky and clouds (which are both brighter than the cursor outline) are not glowing.  This sort of trick is surprisingly tricky to do!  But I’ve finally got it working, and at virtually no performance penalty.  (In fact, in MMORPG Tycoon the glow will be cheaper than in previous games, as the lack of a flat black background means that I can get away with using a slightly cheaper Gaussian blur to generate the glow effect;  the background noise helps hide the extra artifacting)

I’ve also fixed a more low-level performance bug which was causing VBOs to take about twice as long to render as they should have.  Nice speed boost, and it means that I can use VBOs again, instead of using display lists for everything!  Yay!