Most of the images that serve as computer screen or 3D video games background are often hand painted and expensive.
But a breakthrough by a University of California graduate offers game developers the possibility of high quality yet lightweight images, free of stretch marks, flickering and other problems.
"It should be pretty easy for video game developers to integrate our research into new games. As a game developer myself, I know first hand that stretched out and flickering backgrounds and details are no longer acceptable in 3D video games," said Alex Goldberg, the graduate who did much of the work.
"People are looking for ways to get rid of these distortions, preferably without having to pay artists to generate background and detail images by hand. We have come up with a way to do this, and we are planning to provide a code for download soon," explained Goldberg, who is now working for San Diego video game studio PixelActive Inc.
"The existing methods for using computer generated noise to make images for backgrounds and details for 3D video games are fast, but the images that you get don't look very good. Our work gives you the full computational benefit of noise but without many of the tradeoffs such as distortion and flickering," said Goldberg.
The new approach also eliminates the need to store the textures as huge images that take up valuable memory. Instead the textures are generated by computer programmes on the fly every time an image is rendered, explained Matthias Zwicker of the UC who contributed to the project.
The advance is being presented this week at the computer graphics conference ACM SIGGRAPH 2008.