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Distributed OpenGL Rendering in Network Bandwidth Constrained Environments




Display walls made from multiple monitors are often used when very high resolution images are required. To utilise a display wall, rendering information must be sent to each computer that the monitors are connect to. The network is often the performance bottleneck for demanding applications, like high performance 3D animations. This paper introduces ClusterGL; a distribution library for OpenGL applications.

ClusterGL reduces network traffic by using compression, frame differencing and multi-cast. Existing applications can use ClusterGL without recompilation. Benchmarks show that, for most applications, ClusterGL outperforms other systems that support unmodified OpenGL applications including Chromium and BroadcastGL. The difference is larger for more complex scene geometries and when there are more display machines. For example, when rendering OpenArena, ClusterGL outperforms Chromium by over 300% on the Symphony display wall at The University of Waikato, New Zealand. This display has 20 monitors supported by five computers connected by gigabit Ethernet, with a full resolution of over 35 megapixels.

ClusterGL is freely available via Google Code.

Paul Hunkin
Braden Neal
Tony McGregor
clustergl-egpgviz-2011.pdf435.25 KB