To be honest, I am not sure this should be here, but I felt the other topics were even less relevant as I am talking about rendering. Just not the standard methods in UE4. Feel free to move if I placed it in the wrong area.
To start, let me be transparent. I am working on a masters thesis using VR and scientific visualization. I saw potential in the merging of UE4 and scientific visualization for students, scientists, gamers and all graphical artists alike.
Before I start discussing the problem, let me try to give you an idea of what I am trying to achieve:
Volume rendering is expensive and is a completely different way of rendering from what UE4 already uses.
It is also one of the reasons for why UE4 is not used in a lot of scientific visualization. This is the reason for why I want to try to get volumetric rendering into UE4. It will be expensive, but for a few important assets it might be worth it for the effect it gives. I want to at least provide the option. If I am successful I can open UE4 for a world of scientific use that it was never considered for. Further, it will enable developers to put in volumetric renders of a few important assets like clouds or humans in gameplay or in cutscenes.
However, there are challenges to this. For volumetric rendering you need volumetric data. That means not just vertices and face data, but a complete XYZ data set with some kind if data in each voxel. Then you have to integrate over the descrete data volume using a ray from each pixel.
What options and tools do I have?
-Third party library
-Change engine code
-Write a custom shader with the custom shader node.
I tried using a third party library and to add it as a third party library to UE4, but that failed because the library could not find the OpenGL context. If you have any idea how to solve this, that would be great. I do not know UE4 well enough yet.
I could write a custom shader and try to use that using the custom shader node, but I doubt it will work.
A plugin would be great, but since I need to change the entire rendering pipeline, that seems to be hard to get to work.
Finally, changing the engine code. I have started to read up on the code and try to understand the pipeline and where I might want to input my code, but I am completely green with UE4’s source code so any input, experience or tips is greatly appreciated.
I also want to reach out to anyone with some experience with something similar. I want all your input and thoughts as they would help me tremendously.
Have you worked with volume rendering outside of UE4? Got any tips or thoughts? Great!
Have you worked on volumetric solutions in UE4? Awesome. Leave a comment.
This is a selfish plea for help, but I hope that someone are willing to help.