Version 1.6a (Crud, stuff was still broken...)
Released: 23 April 1993
o Problems in writing Targa images! Uncompressed/RLE was being set
improperly in the image file.
o Allocation/Deallocation of static variables had some problems. Mostly
fixed, however: DONT use a non-static texture in a static object.
o Added some code to "special" surface to make use of an alpha value
in a color map. If you use "color xxx_map[foo_fn]", it will grab the
alpha value and use it for the transmission scale. (This overrides
any transmission scale you might put in later, so beware.)
Version 1.6 (beta)
o Added opacity values to 16 and 32 bit Targa output. Just a single
bit in the 16 bit files. In the 32 bit files the extra channel
holds the percentage of the background that contributed to the
o Added static (last from frame to frame) variables
o Added indexed and summed textures.
o Added RLE compressed 8 bit Targa files.
o Added VESA Hicolor display in 640x480 (still a bit buggy). Don't
use anything but "-t 0" or "-t 1" for status displays or the screen
will go wierd after about 50 lines.
o Added texture maps (similar to color maps), indexed image files (for
use with texture maps)
o Added output of raw triangle information. Render type 3 will render
the image as triangles, in ASCII form. Each line of the output has
the form: v1 v2 v3 n1 n2 n3 uv1 uv2 uv3. Where vx is a 3D vertex, nx
is the normal at the corresponding vertex, and uv1 is a pair of u,v
values for each vertex. (This means there are 24 floating point
values per line.)
o Fixed bug involving conditional include files. If an include directive
was inside a conditional, the file was read regardless of the value
of the conditional.
o Smoothed out Bezier surfaces. A patch (smooth) triangle is now used
instead of a flat one when performing final intersection tests.
o Fixed view bug in scan conversion - if the direction of view was
along the y-axis & the up was along the z-axis, the image came out
o Added displacement to scan converted surfaces
o Added u-v mapping to most primitives. The variables u and v work
in all expressions. This is especially useful for image mapping.
o Added u-v limits to several primitives. This allows for creation of
sections of a primitive.
o Changed scan conversion to be adaptive to the on-screen pixel size.
Unless limited by u_steps or v_steps, the subdivision of a primitive
continues until a polygon about the size of a pixel is created. This
is then drawn. The biggest drawback is the appearance of cracks when
the adaptive subdivision is different for adjacent parts of a surface.
o Changed the meaning of u_steps and v_steps for most primitives. They
now mean the number of binary subdivisions that are performed rather
than the number of steps. Therefore "u_steps 4" in this version is
equivalent to "u_steps 16" in previous versions. (Unaffected
primitives: blobs, sweeps, lathes. These still work the old way.)
o Fixed dot product of vectors in expressions.
o Added Legendre polynomials as an expression. Pretty cool for doing
o Added depth mapped lights. Useful if you need to do shadows of things
that can only be scan converted (like displacement surfaces).
o Fixed problems with using a torus in CSG. (Only appeared in some
versions of v1.5)
Released: 8 November 1992
o Added textured lights
o Added directional lights
o Added haze
o Found the missing top line in scan converted images -
Polyray was using the background color for the entire
o Added layered textures.
o Expression processing code improved - bugs removed,
memory used diminished.
o Plugged memory leaks. Extensive debugging of memory
allocations and frees performed. Animations should be
much happier now.
o No longer need to define maximum number of primitives.
o Added support for greyscale Targa (type 3) files. These
can be used as the output format, as imagemaps, and as
o Buggy SVGA support removed. Only standard VGA mode
o Gridded objects added.
o Arrays added
o Components of CSG objects are now properly sorted by
o User defined bounding slabs removed. Polyray will always
use bounding slabs aligned with the x, y, and z-axes.
o Clipping and bounding objects removed. Clipping is now
performed in CSG, bounding is specified using a
o Added wireframe display mode.
o Added planar blob types. (Also added toroidal blob
types, but they only appear in scan conversion images
due to the extreme numerical precision needed to
o Added smooth height fields.
o Fixed shading bug involving transparent objects &
multiple light sources.
o Fixed diffuse lighting from colored lights.
o Changed RLE Targa output so that line boundaries are not
Released: 11 April 1992
o Support for many SVGA boards at 640x480 resolution in 256
colors. See documentation for the -V flag. (Note: SVGA
displays only work on the 286 versions.)
o Changed the way the status output is managed. Now
requires a number following the -t flag. Note that line
and pixel status will screw up SVGA displays - drawing
goes to the wrong place starting around line 100. If
using SVGA display then either use no status, or
o Added cylindrical blob components. Changed the syntax
for blobs to accommodate the new type.
o Added lathe surfaces made from either line segments or
o Added sweep surfaces made from quadratic splines.
o Height field syntax changed slightly. Non-square height
fields now handled correctly.
o Added adaptive antialiasing.
o Squashed bug in shading routines that affected almost all
primitives. This bug was most noticeable for objects
that were scaled using different values for x, y, and z.
o Added transparency values to color maps.
o Added new keywords to the file "polyray.ini":
shadow_tolerance, antialias, alias_threshold,
max_samples. Lines that begin with "// " in polyray.ini
are now treated as comments.
o Short document called "texture.txt" is now included in
"plydoc.zip". This describes in a little more detail
how to go about developing solid textures using Polyray.
o Added command line argument "-z start_line". This allows
the user to start a trace somewhere in the middle of an
image. Note that an image that was started this way
cannot be correctly resumed & completed. (You may be
able to use image cut and paste utilities though.)
o Added support for scan converting implicit functions and
polynomial surfaces using the marching cubes algorithm.
This technique can be slow, and is restricted to objects
that have user defined bounding shapes, but now Polyray
is able to scan convert any primitive.
o A global shading flag has been added in order to
selectively turn on/off some of the more time consuming
shading options. This option will also allow for the
use of raytracing as a way of determining shadows,
reflectivity, and transparency during scan conversion.
o Added new keywords to the file "polyray.ini": pixel_size,
o Improved refraction code to (mostly) handle transparent
surfaces that are defined by CSG intersection.
o Fixed discoloring of shadows that receive some light
through a transparent object.
o Jittered antialiasing was not being called when the
option was selected, this has been fixed.
o Fixed parsing of blobs and polygons that had large
numbers of entries. Previously the parser would fail
after 50-60 elements in a blob and the same number of
vertices of a polygon.
o In keeping with the format used by POV-Ray and Vivid,
comments may now start with "//" as well as "#". The
use of the pound symbol for comments may be phased out
in future versions.
Released: 16 February 1992
o Scan conversion of many primitives, using Z-Buffer
o New primitives: sweep surface, torus
o Support for the standard 320x200 VGA display in 256
o An initialization file ("polyray.ini") is read before
processing. This allows greater flexibility in tuning
many of the default values used by Polyray.
o User defined bounding slabs added. This greatly improves
speed of rendering on data files with many small
o Noise surface added.
o Symbol table routines completely reworked. Improved
speed for data files containing many definitions.
o Bug in the texturing of height fields corrected.
o Added parabola primitive
o Dithering of rays, and objects
o Blob code improved, shading corrected, intersection code
is faster and returns fewer incorrect results.
Released: 27 December 1991
o Several changes in input syntax were made, the most
notable result being that commas are required in many
more places. The reason for this is that due to the
very flexible nature of expressions possible, a certain
amount of syntactic sugar is required to remove
ambiguities from the parser.
o Several new primitives were added: boxes, cones,
cylinders, discs, height fields, and Bezier patches.
o A new way of doing textures was added - each component of
the lighting model can be specified by an implicit
function that is evaluated at run time. Using this
feature leads to slower textures, however because the
textures are defined in the data file instead of within
Polyray, development of mathematical texturing can be
developed without making alterations to Polyray.
o File flush commands in the data file and at the command
line were added.
o Several new Targa variants were added.
o Image mapping added.
o Numerous bug fixes have occurred.
Version 0.3 (beta)
Released: 14 October 1991
o This release added Constructive Solid Geometry,
functional surfaces defined in terms of transcendental
functions, a checker texture, and compressed Targa
o Polyray no longer accepted a list of bounding/clipping
objects, only a single object is allowed. since CSG can
be used to define complex shapes, this is not a
limitation, and even better makes for cleaner data
Version 0.2 (beta)
o This release added animation support, defined objects,
arithmetic expression parsing, and blobs.
Version 0.1 (beta)
o First incarnation of Polyray. This version had code for
polynomial equations and some of the basic surface types
contained in "mtv".