Index | Usage | Scenes


The Scene class manages all of the data required to describe a scene. This includes:

  • Scene Graph
  • Meshes
  • Lights
  • Cameras
  • Animations (Skinned and Paths)
  • Environment Map
  • Acceleration Structures (DirectX Raytracing only)

Once a Scene instance has been created, no objects may be added or removed, but properties of objects such as lights and cameras may be modified.


Scenes can contain multiple cameras but only one is active. The first camera loaded from a model file will become the active camera. If no cameras are loaded, a default camera will be created automatically.

Scenes also provide functionality for controlling cameras with keyboard/mouse in the following modes:

  • First Person
  • Orbiting
  • Six Degrees of Freedom

The mode defaults to First Person and can be changed using:

void Scene::setCameraController(CameraControllerType type);


Key Description Modes
W/A/S/D Forward, Left, Back, Right First Person, 6DoF
Q/E Down, Up 6DoF
Left-Click Drag Turn Camera First Person, 6DoF
Left-Click Drag Orbit Camera Orbiter
Right-Click Drag Roll Camera 6DoF
Shift Increase movement speed First Person, 6DoF
Ctrl Decrease movement speed First Person, 6DoF


Note: If you are using Mogwai, most of this is handled automatically. You may skip to the Shaders section below.

Per-Frame Updates

If your scene contains animations, or you require the camera controller, you must ensure the following scene functions are called from your Renderer:

void YourRenderer::onFrameRender(RenderContext* pRenderContext, const Fbo::SharedPtr& pTargetFbo)
    if(mpScene) mpScene->update(pRenderContext, gpFramework->getGlobalClock().now());

bool YourRenderer::onKeyEvent(const KeyboardEvent& keyEvent)
    return mpScene ? mpScene->onKeyEvent(mouseEvent) : false;

bool YourRenderer::onMouseEvent(const MouseEvent& mouseEvent)
    return mpScene ? mpScene->onMouseEvent(mouseEvent) : false;

Scene::update() returns a set of flags indicating which objects in the scene has changed. This is useful if your renderer or technique needs to reset values, update resources, etc based on scene changes. See Scene::UpdateFlags in Scene.h for more details.

Acceleration Structures

The Scene class creates and manages raytracing acceleration structures internally. When needed, bottom-level acceleration structures are updated in Scene::update(), and top-level acceleration structures are updated in Scene::raytrace(). Raytracing resources will not be created if Scene::raytrace() is not called.

Acceleration structures can be updated either by recreating them entirely, or refitting the existing one. By default, for best general-case performance:

  • Top-level acceleration structures are rebuilt
  • Bottom-level acceleration structures are refit

This can be changed using:

void Scene::setTlasUpdateMode(UpdateMode mode);
void Scene::setBlasUpdateMode(UpdateMode mode);


The scene can be rendered using functions from the Scene class. There is no longer a SceneRenderer class.

To rasterize, use:

void Scene::rasterize(RenderContext* pContext, GraphicsState* pState, GraphicsVars* pVars, RenderFlags flags = RenderFlags::None);

To raytrace, use:

void Scene::raytrace(RenderContext* pContext, RtProgram* pProgram, const std::shared_ptr<RtProgramVars>& pVars, uint3 dispatchDims);


The GPU data structure for each scene is described in Scene/Scene.slang, and is accessed through the global gScene. There are also a few helper functions to simplify data lookup.

To access the scene in your shaders, you must import Scene/Scene.slang at the top of your file:

import Scene.Scene;

IMPORTANT: Currently, the scene GPU data structure requires defines to work correctly. These defines can be retrieved from the scene itself when compiling shaders.

SceneBuilder::SharedPtr pBuilder = SceneBuilder::create(filename, flags);
Scene::SharedPtr pScene = pBuilder->getScene();

GraphicsProgram::SharedPtr pProgram = GraphicsProgram::createFromFile("pixel_shader.slang", "", "main");
pProgram->addDefines(pScene->getSceneDefines()); // First add defines from the scene
GraphicsVars::SharedPtr pProgramVars = GraphicsVars::create(pProgram->getReflector()); // Then use


The output of the default vertex shader includes two parameters: meshInstanceID, and materialID which can be used to look up data for the current mesh being rendered.


For basic usage, it is not necessary to perform the lookups yourself. A helper function defined in Scene/Raster.slang can load and prepare data for you.

import Scene.Raster;

float4 main(VSOut vertexOut, float4 pixelCrd : SV_POSITION, uint triangleIndex : SV_PrimitiveID) : SV_TARGET
    float3 viewDir = normalize( - vOut.posW);
    ShadingData sd = prepareShadingData(vertexOut, triangleIndex, viewDir);


Use the helper function in Scene/Raytracing.slang called uint getGlobalHitID() to calculate the equivalent of what meshInstanceID would be in raster, which can be used in the same way to look up geometry and material data.

import Scene.Raytracing;

void primaryClosestHit(uniform HitShaderParams hitParams, inout PrimaryRayData hitData, in BuiltInTriangleIntersectionAttributes attribs)
    VertexData v = getVertexData(hitParams, PrimitiveIndex(), attribs);
    uint materialID = gScene.getMaterialID(hitParams.getGlobalHitID());
    ShadingData sd = prepareShadingData(v, materialID, gScene.materials[materialID], gScene.materialResources[materialID], -WorldRayDirection(), 0);

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