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International Journal of Computer Games Technology
Volume 2009, Article ID 730894, 7 pages
Research Article

Fast and Reliable Mouse Picking Using Graphics Hardware

1State Key Lab of CAD & CG, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
2School of Computer Science & Technology, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 10008, China

Received 15 December 2008; Accepted 4 March 2009

Academic Editor: Zhongke Wu

Copyright © 2009 Hanli Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mouse picking is the most commonly used intuitive operation to interact with 3D scenes in a variety of 3D graphics applications. High performance for such operation is necessary in order to provide users with fast responses. This paper proposes a fast and reliable mouse picking algorithm using graphics hardware for 3D triangular scenes. Our approach uses a multi-layer rendering algorithm to perform the picking operation in linear time complexity. The objectspace based ray-triangle intersection test is implemented in a highly parallelized geometry shader. After applying the hardware-supported occlusion queries, only a small number of objects (or sub-objects) are rendered in subsequent layers, which accelerates the picking efficiency. Experimental results demonstrate the high performance of our novel approach. Due to its simplicity, our algorithm can be easily integrated into existing real-time rendering systems.