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Topics - Stefan

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2101
Unfortunately SpeedTree stopped providing executable demos, so check out this video

2102
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The next release of the DirectX SDK is scheduled to ship to developers in early June 2010. This release will be the first update to the Windows Graphics components since the August 2009 release and will also introduce support for Visual Studio 2010.

Visual Studio 2010 Support

The June 2010 DirectX SDK includes support for Visual Studio 2010. The DirectX SDK will continue to support Visual Studio 2008 as well. However, Visual Studio 2005 will no longer be supported.

PIX: Object Naming Support

The June 2010 version of PIX supports naming for most resource objects in Direct3D (D3D). Direct3D enables developers to attach arbitrary data to objects in D3D code using the SetPrivateData API for application-specific usage. PIX will now display specific string data for objects in the Object Table and other user interface elements where a human-readable object name will provide a much more effective experience for the user.

PIX: Usability Improvements

The June 2010 version of PIX includes improvements to the PIX user interface:

    * The Object Table shows the size and shader model for each shader.
    * In the Shader Debugger, there is a new toolbar button that enables the display of all constant registers/variables immediately, rather than the first time they are read.
    * In the Shader Debugger, it is possible to copy register and variable data to the clipboard.
    * The Summary pane has a new "Direct3D Information" section, that shows details about what Direct3D capabilities are present on the computer.

XNAMath C++ SIMD Math Library

The June 2010 release updates XNAMath to version 2.03, which includes the following changes:

    * Addition of XMVectorDivide() to optimize SSE2 vector division operations
    * Unified handling of floating-point specials between the Windows SSE2 and no-intrinsics implementations
    * Use of Visual Studio style SAL annotations
    * Modifications to the C++ declarations for XMFLOAT2A/3A/4A/4X3A/4X4A to better support these types in C++ templates

Version-less Naming of Cross-Runtime Data Types

The June 2010 DirectX SDK removes versioning from several Direct3D data types that cross runtime versions. This change makes legacy data-type names equivalent to the new version-less data-type names. Therefore, you can use either legacy or version-less names. However, your code will be cleaner and easier to maintain if you use the version-less names.

New D3DCreateBlob Function

The June 2010 DirectX SDK includes a D3dcompiler_43.dll that exports the new D3DCreateBlob function. Therefore, you are no longer required to use D3d10.dll to create and use an arbitrary length data object.

New ID3D11ShaderReflection Method

The June 2010 DirectX SDK adds the following new method to the ID3D11ShaderReflection interface:

    * GetThreadGroupSize

New HLSL Language fixes and features

HLSL has been updated with the following fixes and features:

    * The frexp intrinsic function has been updated to return a mantissa in the range of [0.5,1.0].
    * New intrinsic functions have been added for better debugging support.
          o printf -- submits custom shader messages to the information queue.
          o errorf -- submits custom shader error messages to the information queue.
          o abort -- submits custom shader error messages to the information queue and terminates the current draw or dispatch call being executed.
    * Left-Hand-Side typecasting is now illegal and will cause a compile error.
          o Expressions such as "(int)myFloat = myInt;" are no longer valid. Use "myFloat = (float)myInt;" type syntax instead.

New HLSL Compiler fixes and features

The HLSL Effects compiler (fxc.exe) has been updated with the following fixes and features:

    * No-optimization (/Od) compiles will produce less-optimized code than before in order to provide improved debugging.
    * No-optimization (/Od) now implies (/Gfp).
    * New compression (/compress) and decompression (/decompress) options have been added to enable the bundling and unbundling of shader files.
    * A new numbering instructions (/Ni) flag has been added to turn on numbering of instructions in shader disassembly.
    * Fxc.exe has a new @command.option.file feature for specifying command options in a file. This enables the /compress and /decompress options to be used on many files at once.

Documentation Enhancements

The June 2010 DirectX SDK includes the following documentation enhancements:

    * Added links to descriptions of data types for parameters and return values to help developers locate related types.
    * Added additional header and lib information to reference pages for APIs implemented in DirectX samples.

Source: MSDN

2103
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Using DxVA2 on Windows Vista and 7 and VAAPI  on Linux, the decoding stage of VLC framework can now be done by the GPU.

If you have a compatible GPU, especially an nVidia, it should go way faster. VLC should consume less than 10% of your CPU and your CPU shouldn’t be at full speed anymore.

It even works on Ion/Atom machines! This is cool for HTPC.

Full story here

2104
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With vReveal, you can stabilize, brighten, and sharpen your videos with just one click, for free. Plus much more.

 Minimum System Recommendations:

    * Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, 7
    * Processor: Dual-core CPU or better
    * Memory: 2GB RAM
    * Hard Drive: At least 60MB of free space

Minimum System Requirements for Optional GPU Acceleration:

    * GPU: NVIDIA GeForce with CUDA: 8-series, 9-series, 200-series, 400-series
    * GPU Memory: 256MB or higher for processing up to 720p video, 512MB or higher for 1080p video
    * Driver: 197.13 or newer

 Version 2.0.6349 - April 13, 2010

    * Now accepts input of HD video (up to 1080p)
    * Replaced 30-day trial with a free version of vReveal
    * Made super-resolution enhancement available for videos with an input resolution up to 576p
    * Added new video fix: Auto White Balance
    * Added special effects to a new "Add Effects" tab under "Enhance," including Black & White, Sepia, Vivid, Glow, Grain, Vintage, and Colorize
    * Optimized CPU performance, including addition of support for SSE4 and improved multi-threading
    * Faster launch time and Gallery scrolling
    * Introduced support for Windows 7 and better support for 64-bit systems
    * Fixed various bugs
    * Implemented new, more-user-friendly e-commerce and product activation systems

I wonder why nobody used SSE4 for video encoding before   ::)

Quick test with Blender's "Bick Buck Bunny": 7-8 fps with CUDA enabled (8800GTX)


2105
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If you're coding for multicore, you shoot for maximum performance but hit barriers along the way. Arm yourself with the latest development and optimization tips from the experts: Download the Guide for Developing Multithreaded Applications: Part 1.
   
   Part 1 of this technical guide focuses on application threading and synchronization techniques. A compilation of 11 top articles, it features examples and how to's on measuring performance, removing artificial dependencies, using tasks instead of threads, mitigating synchronization impacts, and more. Here's just a sampling of the articles inside:

•       Loop Modifications to Enhance Data-Parallel Performance—Tackle loop challenges with techniques that minimize synchronization and make parallelization easier—such as loop fusion, loop interchange, and loop unrolling.
•       Load Balance and Parallel Performance—Avoid common memory and I/O pitfalls to achieve the perfect load balance by sharing workloads equally across all threads.
•       Managing Lock Contention: Large and Small Critical Sections— Efficient parallel code balances thread performance in critical sections and manages idle time of other threads. Learn the concept of critical section size and see when it is best to use large or small critical sections.

Watch for Part 2 of this Guide next week for 10 additional articles on varied memory management approaches for multicore and the latest programming tools to streamline parallel programming.

2106
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Flam4CUDA 0.85 & Flam4OCL 0.14 available
« on: April 15, 2010, 10:14:24 AM »
GPU Flame Fractal Renderer for flam3 cosmic recursive fractal flames implemented on GPU.

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Flam4CUDA v.0.85
-Updated to Cuda 3.0 final.  Be sure to update your drivers!
-Fixed RNG bug introduced in 0.83

Flam4OCL Version 0.14
-Finished adding the rest of the flam3 vars.  Flam4OCL is now complient with all the flam3 2.8 variations, though a few still aren't working properly
-Moved opacity from being xform_node specific to being xform_node link specific.  This means that it's now specified in all the node references while being unused in the trunk level nodes, just like weight.  See the examples for more details.
-Expanded the behavier of state.  Now push always means to feed the point into the next xform, whereas pop always discards the point.  You can push -5 to go down in the stack 5 entries but still save the current point.  Similarily, you can pop -1 to move one space up the stack, but still discard the current point.  This lets you create composites of flames, each with its own section of the stack, and using pop to switch back and forth.

Unfortunately Flam4OCL still refuses to run on 8800GTX, Flam4CUDA works fine



2107
3D-Tech News Around The Web / ATI Catalyst 10.4 Preview available
« on: April 15, 2010, 01:03:30 AM »
The ATI Catalyst 10.4 Preview provides resolution for the following issue:

    * Long load times for new maps in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 when using an ATI Radeon HD 5xxx series graphics card

2108
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CUDA 3.0 is a major revision number release that delivers important benefits for debugging; C++; OpenCL; CUDA driver and runtime developers; CUBLAS and CUFFT users, and many other areas that make this a "must install" update. The expanded capabilities discussed in this brief two-part article series should provide outstanding food-for-thought how the 3.0 release creates new opportunities for code development and integration of existing software projects.

Full story at DDJ

2109
An extreme gaming computer with the Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition -- (codenamed Gulftown) featuring six cores and 12 threads -- was demonstrated at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing in April 2010.

Watch video at Youtube

[via]

2110
This video shows DirectX 11 and Tessellation features in popular games, and how DirectX 11 these technologies can dramatically improve the quality of the image! Learn more about the latest and fastest DirectX 11 hardware at EVGA.

Games/applications shown:
*Battlefield Bad Company 2
*Metro 2033
*NVIDIA Supersonic Sled
*Unigine Heaven 2.0
*Bitsquid Stone Giant
*Aliens vs. Predator
*Dirt 2

2111
3D-Tech News Around The Web / OpenGL Samples Pack 3.3.1.0 released
« on: April 13, 2010, 08:00:28 PM »
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The OpenGL Samples Pack 3.3.1.0 is available and it catches up with some of the main features of OpenGL: Uniform Buffer, transform feedback and instanced array.

Full story at g-truc

2112
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Free-to-use CryEngine plans emerge
« on: April 13, 2010, 04:14:02 PM »
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Frankfurt-headquartered Crytek may be about to compete with both Unity and Epic Games on the emerging battleground of free-to-use engines

Full story at develop

2113
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Yet another GTX 480 test incl. Furmark
« on: April 12, 2010, 05:41:23 PM »
HT4U built some custom hardware to measure the power drain of the GPU only. Actually they tested a bunch of contemporary graphic cards.

GTX 480 power drain:
Idle: 48.71 Watt
Tom Clancy's HAWX DX9:  230.4 Watt
Stalker CoP: 239.86 Watt
Heaven 2: 242.6 Watt
NVIDIA SuperSonic-Demo: 262.70 Watt
3DMark06: 283.16 Watt
Furmark: 317.84 Watt

According to HT4U NVIDIA is aware that Furmark needs much more than 250 Watt and calls it "not representative".

P.S:
It appears that the "Palit GeForce 9800 GT Green" cannot stand Furmark load.

2114
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The company is announcing the launch of the three products on Monday at a Visual Studio developer conference in Las Vegas. Visual Studio 2010 and the updated .Net Framework are now broadly available, Microsoft said, while Silverlight 4 will be made available for download later this week.

Full story at cnet


Dr. Dobb's Journal tells you What's New in Visual Studio 2010 & .NET 4 for Web Developers

2115
ComputeMark is freeware. This app benchmarks your DirectX 11 graphic card Compute Shader performance.

Based on Fluid3D demo by Jan Vlietinck

Requirements:
- Windows 7 32/64-bit
- DirectX 11
- DX11 graphic card

Download: ComputeMark (version: 1.0) - hosted at CzechGamer

Made by Robert Varga (c) 2010


[via]

2116
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"I think graphics matter a lot," Yerli asserts. "It depends on the type of game. If graphics and technology, AI and physics provide you a better experience but a challenge, then ultimately it does matter. You can get an experience out of Crysis 2 you just don't get anywhere else."

Full story at Gamasutra

Crisys 2 official website has a new trailer, also on Youtube

2117
3D-Tech News Around The Web / Jitter - Fully managed physic engine
« on: April 09, 2010, 11:19:49 AM »
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Hi, this are some screenshots of a physic engine for .NET Iam working at for some month now - called 'Jitter'. It's my first attempt to make a physic engine (JigLibX was my first engine, but it's just a port of a c++ engine).

It uses accumulated impulses for the solver and mpr (xenocollide) for collision detection. It currently uses some code of Bullet for raycasting - I didn't had the time to implement that myself.

It's entirely written in C# and does not depend on the XNA framework - using it's own math classes. (The demo uses XNA). It's highly optimized for C# and pretty lightweight.

At the moment it does all the basic things a physic engine should do (Octree based trianglemesh collisions, constraints, stable simulation..). I hope to implement vehicle and cloth-simulation later.

You can download a compiled demo version here: http://jitter-physics.com

[via]

2118
3D-Tech News Around The Web / K-3D 0.8.0.0 available
« on: April 09, 2010, 10:58:23 AM »
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K-3D is free-as-in-freedom 3D modeling and animation software. It features a plugin-oriented procedural engine for all of its content, making K-3D a very versatile and powerful package.
K-3D excels at polygonal modeling, and includes basic tools for NURBS, patches, curves and animation. Give it a try!

  K-3D 0.8 Release Notes

    * Completely rewritten data storage for geometric meshes - good for rendering one million polygons at interactive rates.
    * Introductory support for the LuxRender render engine.
    * Experimental support for CSG operations.
    * Introductory support for NURBS.
    * Experimental material editor.
    * New / rewritten support for 3DS, Collada, OBJ, MD2, Ogre, PLY, STL, and SVG files.
    * Interactive Python Shell
    * New CMake-based cross-platform build system.
    * Over 300 regression tests run every night.
    * Nightly coverage testing.
    * New Mercurial-based version control.
    * New website.
    * New time-based release schedule - the next K-3D release will be October, 2010.

>Fast download mirror<

2120
3D-Tech News Around The Web / GLEW 1.5.3 available
« on: April 09, 2010, 09:39:20 AM »
The OpenGL Extension Wrangler Library

Change Log

    * 1.5.3 [02-28-10]
          o New extensions:
                + GLX_INTEL_swap_event
                + GL_AMD_seamless_cubemap_per_texture
                + GL_AMD_shader_stencil_export
          o Bug fixes:
                + Correct version detection for GL 3.1 and 3.2
                + Missing 3.1 enumerants
                + Add glew.pc

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