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SilverLining 6 Brings Faster, Better 3D Clouds to Simulation and Training

Sundog Software LLC released version 6 of the SilverLining 3D Cloud, Sky, and Weather SDK, featuring big performance boosts and support for multi-threaded rendering across a wide variety of cloud types and rendering technologies. SilverLining is a software library for OpenGL and DirectX training and simulation developers, used worldwide in thousands of military and civilian flight training systems.

Multi-Threaded Rendering

SilverLining now offers thread-safe modes of operation, enabling the rendering of multiple views concurrently. This allows more efficient multi-channel training displays, and parallel rendering of the left and right eyes for virtual reality (VR) applications. The application just maintains a ThreadCameraStreamData instance for each view, which is passed into SilverLining as it manages each view independently. SilverLining 6 includes an OpenGL multi-threaded sample application, illustrating use of the new API for multiple views using single or multi-threaded approaches, and with immediate and deferred rendering approaches. The OpenSceneGraph multi-windows sample has also been updated for the new API. For more details, refer to the source of these samples and the documentation for ThreadCameraStreamData.

Multi-threaded rendering is currently supported only for SilverLining’s OPENGL and OPENGL32CORE renderers.

Faster Cumulus Clouds in OpenGL

SilverLining 6 introduces bindless, indirect rendering of cumulus congestus, cumulus mediocris, cumulonimbus, and towering cumulus clouds when using OpenGL. This allows an entire cloud layer to be drawn with a single draw call, as opposed to one draw call per cloud. In many settings, this can double SilverLining’s performance!

Better, Faster Volumetric Clouds

Throughout the version 5 run, Sundog Software has been improving its STRATOCUMULUS cloud type, which uses GPU ray-casting and procedurally created 3D textures. In addition to being a more modern rendering technique, it also helps clouds align better across multiple views and VR channels. SilverLining 6 represents a stable snapshot of this cloud type, with optimal tradeoffs between performance, memory usage, lighting, and visual quality. Our SkyMaxx Pro add-on for the X-Plane flight simulator now features this cloud type, and it has been used successfully by thousands of X-Plane users at this point.

Migration is Easy

Although SilverLining 6 introduces a lot of new technology and improvements, we’ve taken care to minimize any API changes. Applications written for SilverLining 5 will likely need no modifications to use SilverLining 6, allowing you to upgrade and work on incorporating new features at your own pace.

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