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CHAPTER 7 s 3-D GAME PROGRAMMING BASICS
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Figure 7-5. Vertices rendered as a point list
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Figure 7-6. The same vertices rendered as a line list
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LineStrip: All the vertices in the buffer are rendered as a single, connected line. This can be useful when debugging, because this primitive type allows you to see a wireframe image of your objects, regardless of the number of vertices. Figure 7-7 presents a line strip primitive type sample.
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Figure 7-7. The same vertices rendered as a line strip
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CHAPTER 7 s 3-D GAME PROGRAMMING BASICS
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TriangleList: The vertices are rendered in groups of three, as isolated triangles. This provides you with the greatest flexibility when rendering complex scenes, but there s the drawback of having duplicated vertices if you want to draw connected triangles. Figure 7-8 shows the use of the triangle list primitive type to render vertices.
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Figure 7-8. The same vertices rendered as a triangle list
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TriangleStrip: You use this primitive type when drawing connected triangles. It s more efficient for rendering scenes, because you don t have to repeat the duplicated vertices. Every new vertex (after the first two) added to the buffer creates a new triangle, using the last two vertices. Figure 7-9 presents a triangle strip primitive type example.
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Figure 7-9. The same vertices rendered as a triangle strip
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TriangleFan: In this primitive, all the triangles share a common vertex the first one in the buffer and each new vertex added creates a new triangle, using the first vertex and the last defined one. Figure 7-10 illustrates the last of the primitive types, the triangle fan.
CHAPTER 7 s 3-D GAME PROGRAMMING BASICS
Figure 7-10. The same vertices rendered as a triangle fan
s Note When drawing triangles, you need to take special care about the triangle vertex ordering if you want XNA to know correctly which triangles are facing the camera and which ones are not. This is important when drawing complex objects such as a donut, for example. To determine the front side of a triangle, follow its vertices, from the first to the last one according to their definition order, with the fingers of your right hand. Your thumb will point to the front side of the triangle, just like you did with the right-handed coordinate system in Figure 7-1. The back side of the triangle can be drawn or not, according to the CullMode setting of the RenderState class, so you need to create all the triangles of an object following the same order.
Vectors, Matrices, and 3-D Transformations
Before you re ready to create your first 3-D program, there are still some important concepts to learn. Understanding the importance of 3-D vectors and matrices is possibly the most important one of all. It s important to understand that vectors, besides storing the positional values, provide many helper methods that will come in handy when creating your games. Vector3 is the most commonly used vector in 3-D games, and some of its most important methods are as follows: Vector3.Distance: Given two points, return a float representing the distance between them. Vector3.Add and Vector3.Subtract: Add and subtract two vectors. Vector3.Multiply and Vector3.Divide: Multiply and divide two vectors, or a vector by a float value.
CHAPTER 7 s 3-D GAME PROGRAMMING BASICS
Vector3.Clamp: Constrain the vector components into a given range useful when defining lights or matrices values that only support values among a given range. Vector3.Lerp: Calculate the linear interpolation between two vectors. Vector3.SmoothStep: Interpolate two vectors according to a float given as a weight value. Besides these methods, Vector3 offers a series of shortcuts for special vectors, such as Vector.Zero for an empty vector, Vector3.Up for the (0,1,0) vector, Vector3.Right for the (1,0,0) vector, and others. Vector2 and Vector4 provide similar methods and shortcuts. Many of these methods and shortcuts, as you ll see in this chapter and the next ones, are used when defining matrices and executing 3-D operations. Matrices are the base for defining rotation, scaling, or translation of an object in the 3-D world. Because matrices are used to define any 3-D transformations, they are also used to define the operations needed to simulate the projections (we talked about projections in the previous sections) and to transform the 3-D scene according to the camera position and facing direction. You ll see examples of each of these uses when creating your sample program. For now, let s see the use of transformation matrices to do a simple translation, and then extrapolate the idea for more complex operations. This will help you understand the importance of the use of matrices in 3-D programs. Suppose you want to move a triangle up the Y axis, as shown in Figure 7-11.
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