Artmatic Voyager 1.0

Introduction

Those who are fans of the old 3D landscape-generation stalwart Bryce, will be interested in the latest offering from Eric Wenger. Wenger is the algorithmic whizz-kid who came up with the groundbreaking Bryce in his spare time way back in 1994. With the release of Artmatic Voyager, Wenger and the team at U&I Software may just be on the way to providing us with a worthy successor to the now discontinued Bryce. Anyone who has ever used Bryce will find Artmatic Voyager instantly recognizable. Indeed, the program’s interface shares many similarities with its spiritual predecessor. Like Bryce, all of Artmatic Voyager’s controls are available on screen via a combination of sliders, pop-up menus and clickable icons. Similarly, Artmatic Voyager features the unique ‘organic’ look-&-feel that long-time Bryce users either loved or hated. Without your glasses it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the two packages. But while both programs feature that interface and allow the user to create, edit and render photorealistic 3D worlds, it is how they go about doing so that separates the two. Unlike Bryce, which uses polygon-based techniques to generate landscapes, Artmatic Voyager uses procedural functions that generate terrain maps that can be rendered as three-dimensional landscapes. For anybody who wishes to create their own world in under six days, this approach has a number of advantages and disadvantages. Instead of letting the user create individual planes, terrains, rocks and plants in a scene, Artmatic Voyager has the option of choosing from four different ‘planets’. Each planet is theoretically four times the size of the Earth, and filled with mountains, trees and water. From here the user can go on a virtual journey, moving the camera through a huge diversity of landscape and taking rendered snapshots or making animated movies as he goes.
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