AltDevConf Programming – Sam Martin

Original Author: Colin Barré-Brisebois

As we keep unveiling our list of featured speakers, allow me to introduce you to Sam Martin, another speaker of the Programming Track. His talk: “Real Time Area Lighting – Now and Next”.

Sam is presently Head of Technology at Geomerics where he works on Enlighten, mostly doing a mix of R&D and contemplating future developments. There he fell in love with lighting as he nurtured their real time radiosity SDK from its conception. In a previous relationship with computational geometry he developed the navigation system behind Lionhead’s Black & White 2 – a tale he may put on paper some day. There was also a fling with Lionhead’s early core tech team, and he doesn’t forget the good old times he had with Intrepid and Kuju London. His relationship with patterns and algorithms is going strong, but the temptations of drumming in samba bands and Cambridge beers have been known to lead him astray.

His talk provides a review of real time shadowing algorithms suitable for soft and area lights sources, and a practical demonstration of real time shadows from rectangular area lights using “back propagation”. The review will focus on  strengths/weaknesses of the most relevant techniques, including techniques that are on the cusp of becoming practical, and describe why several techniques should be reconsidered. To highlight this, the implementation of real time area lights using a variation of the “back propagation” technique to compute realistic soft shadowing with GPU compute will be presented. He will also show its viability through a demonstration of the technique running in a third party game engine.

Sam is just one of the speakers we’ll be introducing during the next few days leading to the conference. You can read more about the program we are putting together at and remember to clear your schedule February 11th/12th to come join us!