Desert Island

Last semester’s big coursework was a DirectX 11 graphics project written in C++. The project was to visualize a desert island within a globe. The software had to cycle through four seasons and show off a bunch of advanced graphical techniques, which we learned how to implement as we went along.

The trickiest parts of the project (or at least, the parts I spent the most time on) were the particle systems and the shadow mapping technique. Both required a lot of fiddling to produce a result I was happy with. I’m also pleased with how the water turned out; initially I went for a Wind Waker-like effect that added reflection, refraction and a distortion effect on the surf, and I also threw in a wave movement at the last minute for good measure.

The weakest effect is probably the sea mist, as it isn’t really visible when the camera is inside the globe. The solution would be to add a screen-space effect that adds a certain amount of grey to each fragment depending on their distance from the camera, but only when the camera is inside the globe.

Update: A couple of months later I went back and made the visuals look more appealing, and also added some ambient sound to the video. You can see the original video on my YouTube channel.