Robotic Pandas

On abstractions for building next generation user interfaces

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Archive for October, 2009

Swizzling in C# via Bling

Posted by mcdirmid on 30/10/2009

Swizzling is a GPU-supported operation that allows you to cheaply reorganize and repeat elements of a vector during an operation. Given its efficiency, it is very important to support swizzling in a language that targets GPUs. HLSL has special syntax where any scalar or vector can be swizzled; e.g., p.xyz takes a vector4 and returns its first 3 elements as a vector3, p.zyx reverses these elements, and p.xxy repeats the first element twice then pairs the result with the second element. Through C# extension methods, we can define some common swizzle combinations (e.g., xyz and zyx), but with repeated elements and considering vectors of size 4 (the max that is supported by GPUs), we’d have to define way too many extension methods to be complete. Rather, I’ve defined a few overloaded extensible extension methods where the swizzle indices are indicated as type parameters; e.g., considered swizzled quaternion transformation in C#:

Double3Bl m = -q.XYZ().Square;
m = m.Sw<Y,X,X>() + m.Sw<Z,Z,Y>();

Double3Bl n = q.W * q.XYZ();
Double3Bl r = q.Sw<X,X,Y>() * q.Sw<Y,Z,Z>();
Double3Bl t = r.Sw<X,Z,Y>() - n.Sw<Z,X,Y>();
Double3Bl u = n.Sw<Y,Z,X>() + r.Sw<Y,X,Z>();
Double3Bl p = argB;
Double3Bl v = m * p.XYZ() + t * p.YZX() + u * p.ZXY();
return 2d * v + p.XYZ();

Sometimes we use extension methods (e.g., XYZ()), and sometimes we use the Sw method, which is slightly more verbose but still reasonably concise. For type safety, we define the X, Y, Z, and W classes so that X <: Y <: Z <: W, then if the target is a 4 vector, the type parameter bounds for all the swizzle parameters is W , while if it’s a 2 vector, the type parameter bounds for all the swizzle parameters is Y, disallowing Z and W. The X, Y, Z, and W classes can then be instantiated as type parameters to determine the index they represent.

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Announcing Bling 3.1!

Posted by mcdirmid on 27/10/2009

I’d like to announce a new version of Bling (http://bling.codeplex.com/) with maturing experimental support for retained and programmable 3D graphics. On the one hand, we have immediate-mode programmable graphics in Direct3D, which is flexible and fast but is more difficult to program. On the other hand, we have retained mode graphics in WPF 3D, which is easier to program but is less flexible and not as fast as straight Direct3D. Bling is a side project that experiments with something in between the two: the ease of programming that a retained graphics model provides with the flexibility and performance that comes with the ability to express custom pixel and vertex shaders.  Bling is built on top of Direct3D via the WindowsAPI Code pack, the DLR, and WPF.

Long description/example for those that are interested: Read the rest of this entry »

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