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Topics - Stefan

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2041
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3D Vision Surround Driver Launch Timeline

I have been talking to a lot of our customers over the last few months and many of the most enthusiastic among them are asking when we'll have our driver update to support 3D Vision Surround. We're also get the same inquiries from press folks looking to do reviews of 3D Vision Surround.

The fact is we are not ready yet – the surround driver needs some final improvements. When we first showed this technology live at CES in January, we expected this to become available with the first release of our 256 branch driver which was then targeted for April. Our new target for 3D Vision Surround is the end of June in a follow-on release of this 256 driver branch. Our first 256 based driver is planned to post to nvidia.com on May 24th and will enable new SLI setup controls and improve performance on several key applications for GTX 400 GPUs.

When we launch the 3D Vision Surround driver at the end of June, we will provide a game list and guidance on how to get the best experience with this cool new technology. I am looking forward to it!

2042
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Frictional Games is proud to announce the release of the source code for our first game Penumbra: Overture, together with the source code for the engine and tools used in its creation. This comes as a reply to the great success of the Humble Indie Bundle, in which over 1 million dollars has been donated to the participating developers and charities. Apart from Penumbra, the source codes for the indie games Aquaria, Gish and Lugaru (all available in the Humble Indie Bundle) are also released. We hope that these source code releases will be of use to the community, help aspiring game programmers and perhaps act as a base for other projects.

Penumbra: Overture contains a unique physics interaction system for first person games, a system that has been exclusive to the series and not found in any other game. With the release of the source code, we hope this will change as the interaction system can be used for much more than our genre specific horror games. The source code is currently running on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux – with the public release of the source code, perhaps even more platforms can be supported!

"We have been talking about releasing the engine and game code as open source for quite some time. With the success of the Humble Indie Bundle came the perfect opportunity and we decided to join the other games in releasing our code. Although the code for the game and engine encompass several years of work, it is not actively used today. It was basically just rotting away in the dark corners of our hard drives. It feels much better to have it published in the open, where it has a chance to grow and do some good. I hope that it will be found useful and I am excited to see what people can do with it!"
- Thomas Grip, Programmer and Co-Founder.

The source code has been uploaded to GitHub where it is easy for people to download the latest version, suggest patches, make new versions of the code and much more. To kick start the development we have also put up a dedicated section in our forum, where people can discuss the code and where we will try to provide as much help as we can. We have also written a more detailed overview of what the code contains in our blog, so interested parties should go there for more information.

Links of interest
http://github.com/FrictionalGames

Go here to get hold of the source code.
http://frictionalgames.com/forum/

Our official forums where more information and discussion about the source code release can be found. We hope that this will act as a fertile ground for people to get help, get into the source code and where we will try and provide help.
http://frictionalgames.blogspot.com/

The official blog that contains a post with a lengthier discussion of what the source code release contains.
http://www.penumbragame.com/

Information about Penumbra: Overture and the other games of the Penumbra series. Penumbra is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
http://www.wolfire.com/humble

The Humble Indie Bundle, where Penumbra: Overture and 5 other indie games can be purchased at a price of your own choosing. Also check here for more information on the open source releases of the other games.

About Frictional Games
We are a small independent game developer located in the south of Sweden or, to be more precise, located on the Internet - the company is office-free. We develop unique technologies in form of a game engine and tools that are tailored specifically after the games that we create. Currently with a crew of five in-house and a network of contractors to utilize during production we can be dynamic and efficient, increasing production at key moments. Visit http://www.frictionalgames.com/ for more information.

Reminder: Penumbra was one of the games having trouble with Catalyst 7.12+ OpenGL drivers

2043
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CUDA Toolkit 3.1 Beta installers, supporting driver packages and SDK code samples.

== Release Highlights ==

Math Libraries Performance Improvements, including:
* Significant improvements in double-precision FFT performance on Fermi-architecture GPUs for 2^n transform sizes
* Streaming API now supported in CUBLAS for overlapping copy and compute operations
* Real-to-complex (R2C) and complex-to-real (C2R) optimizations for 2^n data sizes
* Improved performance for GEMV and SYMV subroutines in CUBLAS
* Optimized double-precision implementations of divide and reciprocal routines

Unified Visual Profiler now supports both CUDA C/C++ and OpenCL, with:
* Support for start/stop profiling at runtime so you can focus on critical areas of long-running applications
* Support for CUDA Driver API tracing

Additional support for Fermi-architecture GPUs
* Significant performance improvement in the erfinvf() function
* 16-way kernel concurrency
* Support for printf() in device code
* cuda-memcheck updated for Fermi-architecture GPUs

Driver/Runtime interoperability allows mixing of CUDA C Runtime (and math libraries) with CUDA Driver API

New and updated SDK code samples demonstrating how to use:
* Function pointers in CUDA C/C++ kernels
* OpenCL / Direct3D buffer sharing
* Hidden Markov Model in OpenCL
* Microsoft Excel GPGPU example showing how to run an Excel function on the GPU

Note that this limited Beta release includes driver packages for Linux, MacOS, and Windows TCC (Tesla Compute Cluster) only. Standard Windows driver packages with graphics drivers and support for all NVIDIA GPUs will be available next month with the CUDA Toolkit 3.1 production release. In addition, Linux developers should note that the cuda-gdb hardware debugger was not ready for this beta release, but will be included in the production release. Windows developers should be sure to check out the new debugging features in Parallel Nsight for Visual Studio at www.nvidia.com/nsight.

More infos at icare3d

2044
"The Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory is dedicated to the development of practical and generally applicable tools for the prediction of complex and often chaotic fluid flows.

Research at the Lab is focused on the entire CFD food chain from hardware and software to algorithms and turbulence models.  Understanding in detail how the computational, mathematical, and physical problems of CFD interact is the key to designing lasting CFD solutions."


Check out their programs.




2045
"AntiPlanet Reflections is released.
It features new 3D engine with full support of reflections.
GPU with CUDA support is required to run AntiPlanet Reflections.
...
Version with OpenCL support and better CUDA optimization is on the way."



If you are too lazy to play, the game contains about a dozen "system tests".


2046
Changelog:

    * New sensor chips : Fintek F71862, F71869, F71889, F81865, CHIL CHL8266, ITE IT8721, Analog Device ADM1033.
    * Intel QST 2.0.
    * Asus ROG monitoring.
    * Gigabyte DES monitoring.

Go to HWMonitor page for more information.

    * Download HWMonitor 1.16 setup
    * Download HWMonitor 1.16 .zip (32-bit)
    * Download HWMonitor 1.16 .zip (64-bit)

2047
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Blender: Sintel trailer
« on: May 13, 2010, 07:40:53 PM »
"After many weeks of fighting technology, here’s a first glimpse of this wonderful short film that’s shaping up here. With big thanks to Jan Morgenstern for the epic soundtrack, which as usual makes our humble creations look so much better!
We have less than 2 months now to finish this completely… imagine the tension that’s building up here to get everything perfect. For today, we’ll celebrate a big step forward. Enjoy!"


See the announcement on the Durian blog, or download the teaser in a format of your liking or watch on Youtube


2048
This article discusses performance optimizations for AMD GPUs and CPUs using as a case study a simple, yet widely used computationally intensive kernel: Diagonal Sparse Matrix Vector Multiplication. We look at several topics which come up during OpenCL™ performance optimization and apply them to our case study:

   1. Translating C code to OpenCL™
   2. Choosing data structures for dense, aligned memory accesses
   3. Using local, on-chip memory
   4. Vectorizing the computation for higher efficiency
   5. Using OpenCL™ images to improve effective memory bandwidth
   6. Parallelism for multicore processors

At the end of our journey, we'll have a high-performance kernel for both the AMD Radeon™ HD 5870 GPU, as well as the AMD Phenom™ II X4 965 CPU.

2049
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Mandelkern - Realtime Mandelbulb in 1k, with some additional effects.

- General:
Has been tested to work on WinXP 32bit with a Geforce 8600M, and WindowsXP 64bit with Radeon 4850. Since it's based on the "Windows 7 fix" version of 1kPack, this demo should be relatively compatible. The 2560x1600 has not been tested because my screen does not support it... Recommended resolution by GPU based on my tests:

Geforce 8600 and similar: 800x600
Geforce 9600/Radeon 3870: 1024x768
Geforce 9800/Radeon 4850: 1280x1024
Geforce GTX/Radeon 4890: 1600x1200/1920x1080
Radeon 58x0: 1920x1200, or even 2560x1600

- Why and what:
Breakpoint 2010 was my second demoparty so far, and even though I was there just as a spectator, I showed my Mandelbulb implementation to a few people, and they suggested I make a 4k demo out of it. Well, I might still finish that 4k eventually (with better performance, more accurate ambient occlusion, blablabla...), but for now here is a 1k demo which raymarches a Mandelbulb and can get decent frame rates at good resolutions on a fast computer. Since the final code was significantly smaller than 1k, I added some additional effects until I reached 1k (well, technically 1k=1000, so it's really 1Ki or 1.024k, but whatever...).

- Algorithm:
The iteration of the Mandelbulb itself is well known, as is the Mandelbrot fractal with orbit traps, so I will just refer to Google for that. The colors are made using a simple Hue-saturation function, which is applied to both the Mandelbulb and the Mandelbrot. The (possibly) new aspect of this visualization here, however, is the tracer, which has a very complex (but still compact) distance estimation function. There are only up to 25 ray marches for each pixel. The (fake) ambient occlusion is based on this tracer, by checking the evolution of the distance function during the tracing.

- Size:
This demo uses hitchhikr's packer and sources, which are essential for making this possible, but there are also a few techniques which help make shader code as small as possible which I discovered during the creation of this demo. Some of those may be obvious, but I will just list all of them here anyway:
- All variables should be just one letter
- Make everything lowercase. The shader in this demo contains not a single uppercase letter.
- All variables should be declared in one place
- Variables should be reused whenever possible in order to minimize the amount of variables which need to be declared (this shader uses 1 float2, 3 float4s and 10 floats)
- Since repetitive strings can be compressed better and some letter are more frequent than others, "1000" may compress better than "999", or "z*z*z*z" may be better than "pow(z,4)"
- Use all features of c++ whenever possible, such as "o=d=1", "while(z<400&&i++<11)" or "x=o-=log(b*b+u*u)*.15"
- DirectX has a few additional features which can be useful. "if(h<1)v=v.gbra" reorders the indices of v while being very compact.
- Truncate floats as much as possible, always ommit the leading zero and remove all unnecessary spaces and brackets.
- Macros are usually not worth it.
- At least on my machine the program would occasionally refuse to start at random. Adding "1*" or "0+" to some line might help.
- Some variables may require an initilization, but the exact value might be not so important. In that case, just initialize them in combination with some other variable ("o=b=a.y;") or reuse them when you know what the last value will look like approximately.

2050
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Alan Wake Technology Trailer
« on: May 13, 2010, 07:02:49 AM »
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Microsoft has released a new movie for Alan Wake, the psychological action thriller developed by Remedy Entertainment and scheduled to be available in Europe on May 14th and in the US on May 18th, exclusively on Xbox 360. Alan Wake, the game's protagonist, is a bestselling horror writer, who writes a novel about his darkest nightmares. In the game, those nightmares come true. Players will unravel the riveting plot through multilayered character interactions, unique problem-solving and intense combat against terrifying enemies. Alan Wake features a massive, open world for the players to explore - the game is set in an idyllic all-American small town and its surroundings in the state of Washington. In this nightmarish world, where fantasy and reality collide, Alan Wake must use a variety of weapons to survive, including his most powerful ally against the darkness - light itself.

Download video from GamersHell
Press release: Alan Wake Powered by Havok Physics Technology

"A lot of effort was spent on character lighting" - i hope there will be a PC version before hell freezes over  :-\



2051
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Is DirectX 11 Worth Your Time?
Ultimately DirectX 10 will be remembered as a stepping stone. It was a necessary evil that helped rid the DirectX API of over a decade of legacy dead weight. We predict it will be overshadowed in the memories of most gamers by DirectX 11 which looks like it will finally make much of the hype originally created for DirectX 10 a reality. Currently available DirectX 11 titles and hardware really delivers, both in terms of performance and image quality, though arguably not quite at the same time. If you've held out on Vista and DirectX 10, and have been waiting to see if something better comes along before leaving your beloved DirectX 9 WinXP gaming platform behind... well, that something appears to be here and DX11 delivers it.

Full story at HotHW

[via]

2052
"When testing cards at below -64°C (sic!) the NVIDIA driver gets confused and thinks the GPU overheats which causes a loss in performance.
When started with /fixcoldbug the attached GPU-Z build will increase the temperature reading that the NVIDIA driver sees by 65°C (it does not actually increase GPU temperature).
This change should result in stable benching at lower temperatures.
Please note that a warm reboot might not remove the change, powering off the system and back on will."


Download and report your success here.

2054
3D-Tech News Around The Web / NVIDIA Cg Toolkit 3.0 Beta available
« on: May 11, 2010, 10:32:47 PM »
Download here

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The 3.0 release of Cg contains the following updates:
  New OpenGL GPU Program5 profiles
  New DirectX11 Shader Model 5 profiles
  Support for tessellation programs
  Support for up to 32 texture units
  Unbind routines for D3D programs
  CgFX buffer routines
  Dependent parameter routines for CgFX shader arrays
  Shadow versions of texBLAHproj functions in the hlsl10f profile
  Improved evaluation engine for expressions in CgFX files
  New OpenGL examples including:
  OpenGL/advanced
  cgfx_buffer_lighting
  cgfx_tessellation
  tess_bezier
  tess_simple
  New Direct3D11 examples including;
  Direct3D11/basic
  02_vertex_and_fragment_program
  03_uniform_parameter
  04_varying_parameter
  05_texture_sampling
  06_vertex_twisting
  07_two_texture_accesses
  cgfx_buffer
  cgfx_simple
  cgfx_texture
  Direct3D11/advanced
  cgfx_buffer_lighting
  combine_programs
  gs_shrinky
  gs_simple
  tess_bezier
  tess_simple
  Performance improvements and bug fixes

2055
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Games with remarkable physics effects
« on: May 10, 2010, 06:48:20 PM »
"Good physics simulations can make a game feel more realistic and improve the gaming experience - especially if the player benefits from special effects.
Pc Games Hardware takes a look at the past the present and the future of physics in games."

They begin with "Tennis for Two" from 1958...

2056
Download here

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Changes from version 2.0.0 B4

  Several interop bugs have been fixed.  If you were having problems with OpenGL or Direct3D
interop, please try this build.
  Documentation for the new interop functions has been added.
  rtDeviceGetName, rtDeviceComputeCapability, rtDeviceGetTotalMemory and
rtDeviceGetAttribute have been unified into a single rtDeviceGetAttribute function.  IMPORTANT! 
Binary compatibility with previous versions of 2.0.0 Beta has been broken.  Binary compatibility
with 1.0 is maintained.
  API functions rtContextGetAttribute, rtContextGetDevices and rtContextGetDeviceCount have
been added.
  Performance improvements to host side node graph processing within OptiX has been improved. 
This should equate to faster frame rates, and should be especially noticeable with scenes
containing many nodes.
  Fixed outstanding bugs related to supporting modifications of the node graph after the first
rtTrace call.
  We no longer depend on the CUDA C runtime library, cudart.  No additional libraries are required
to be distributed with the OptiX libraries at this time.

2057
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Google nukes O3D, supports WebGL
« on: May 10, 2010, 04:21:26 PM »
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At Google, we’re deeply committed to implementing and advancing standards, so as of today, the O3D project is changing direction, evolving from its current plug-in implementation into a JavaScript library that runs on top of WebGL.

Full story at Google

Also: Google has acquired BumpTop

2058
UralDev published two comprehensive articles incl. demos (OIT demo didn't run on my rig though).

Use Google for translation if necessary.

2059
3D-Tech News Around The Web / ComputeMark v1.3 available
« on: May 09, 2010, 08:17:38 AM »
Download here

Description:
ComputeMark is first 100% DirectX 11 Compute Shader benchmark. With DirectX 11, we can use huge performance of our graphic cards for more (real life, daily used) applications. With ComputeMark we are able to measure this power of our graphic cards and tell which one is better.

ComputeMark typically utilizes 99% of GPU (it's ultimate GPUs ass kicker, great for after-overclocking stability tests) and 0-1% of CPU. Windows Vista or Windows 7, DirectX 11 and DX11 graphic card are required.

Requirements:
- Windows Vista or Windows 7
- DirectX 11
- DX11 graphic card


Versions:

1.3 (07/05/2010)
- Optimizations for both ATI and NVIDIA
- Specs info on main screen
- Added Windows Vista support

1.2 (17/04/2010)
- Added CrossFire/SLI support

1.1 (12/04/2010)
- Added BURN test

1.0 (10/04/2010)
- First public release

2060
3D-Tech News Around The Web / BlendELF 0.9 Beta released
« on: May 08, 2010, 10:27:58 AM »
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BlendELF 0.9 Beta released

Whats new:
- skeletal animations
- C++ and .NET API
- particles ( + mesh emitters )
- light shaft post processing effect
- joystick support
- physics updates (joints, restitution, sleep threshold and limiting physics to axises)
- IPO curves (for animations)
- more tutorials (GUI, particles, C++)
- rendering optimizations
- bug fixes
- Misc.: global tick rate and speed controls, errors recorded to elf.log, scn and gui built in variables removed (functions now return these objects, check the tutorials), over riding F10

Big thanks for Michael Gale for the .NET binding

Check out the new Physics demo with a lot of footballs bouncing around
You can modify amount of balls in init.lua, 5000 balls should be enough to bring your CPU down to the knees  ;D


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