Ray-tracing the way to go for game developers?

TG Daily has interviewed Daniel Pohl, an engineer who is making some impressive progress in ray-tracing research, about Intel’s ray-tracing efforts.

Q: What is Larrabee from your perspective. What is the underlying architecture and the programming model?
A: Larrabee was primarily built as a rasterizering processor. Therefore you have support for DirectX and OpenGL. But it will also be a freely programmable x86-architecture. That means you could, for example, write your own rasterizer with your own API, a ray tracer, a voxel renderer or combinations of those. You could also use it for non-graphical applications that benefit from parallelization.

Q: What API is Intel using to showcase ray tracing demos?
A: We wrote our own API. The shading system uses a HLSL-like syntax that allows you also to shoot new rays within a shader. Using that API the programmer has no need to manually multi-thread the rendering and does not need to optimize the shading with SSE as this is done by the shading compiler automatically.

Read the complete interview here: Intel graphics update: Ray-tracing the way to go for game developers?

More news about Larrabee: Larrabee @ Geeks3D

Collada 1.5 Specifications

The Khronos Group announced the release of a new COLLADA specification, which includes new features and expanded functionality designed to further broaden the applicability of the 3D digital asset standard.


COLLADA defines an XML-based schema to make it easy to transport 3D assets between applications – enabling diverse 3D authoring and content processing tools be combined into a production pipeline. The intermediate language provides comprehensive encoding of visual scenes including: geometry, shaders and effects, physics, animation, kinematics, and even multiple version representations of the same asset.COLLADA FX enables leading 3D authoring tools to work effectively together to create shader and effects applications and assets to be authored and packaged using OpenGL Shading Language, Cg, CgFX, and DirectX FX.


NVIDIA GeForce PhysX Performances Tests

This is the continuation of the previous post on PhysX Performance with GeForce.

The PhysX Pack provided by NVIDIA contains a PhysX fluid demo:

The primary purpose of the NVIDIA PhysX Fluid Demo is to illustrate Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH)-based particle simulation technology accelerated by the NVIDIA GPU.

The pack also contains the Unreal Tournament III PhysX Mod:

The PhysX pack will be publicly available on August 12, 2008. The package consists of a new graphics driver that will enable PhysX on graphics cards equipped with GeForce 8, GeForce 9, and GeForce GTX GPUs, a downloadable PhysX software pack containing free Unreal Tournament 3 maps, the full version of NetDevil’s Warmonger, NVIDIA demos, and a first look at Object Software’s Metal Knight Zero and Nurien Software’s Nurien social-networking service.

Related reviews:


Update (2008-08-08)

Need more news about PhysX? Click here: PhysX @ Geeks3D

Hardware of the Casual Gamer

Unity3D has publihed the result of their hardware survey. Unity3D targets the casual gamer and here are some pictures about what is graphics card of the casual gamer:

Casual gamers are really not interested to performance since around 3% of them haven’t graphics drivers… Most of the graphics cards are integrated chipsets (Intel, S3) and the first decent graphics card is the GeForce 8600 with is ranked 15.
via drawlogic

John Carmack Loves its iPhone

John Carmack loves his iPhone and wants to make a game for that device that would be a graphical tour de force (I like this kind of french expressions in english sentences). I guess, given the limited hardware features of the iPhone, Carmack likes this kind of challenge. So let’s prepare for the next accelerometer-controlled Doom-like…

Read more HERE, HERE and HERE.

Related links:
Carmack says iPhone is “more powerful than a Nintendo DS and PSP combined”

DirectX 9 to DirectX 11, where did 10 go?

Here is an analysis, by a game developer called Susheel, of the new things that DirectX 11 will bring.

Read the complete analysis HERE.

What is really interesting to see is the emergence of what Microsoft terms as the Compute Shader, no doubt a marketing speak for GPGPU which they claim will allow the GPU, with it’s awesome power to be used for more than just graphics, which smells like CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) to me.

Issues like multi-threaded rendering/resource handling are things that were long time coming and yes, it’s a good thing we will finally see them in the newer version. It just makes my job as a game developer a whole lot easier. Most details on Shader Model 5.0 are pretty sketchy, so I won’t go into things like shader length and function recursion. However, I hope such issues are addressed satisfactorily in the newer shader model.

Microsoft is still fixated on releasing version 11 only for Vista, so don’t expect your XP machines to ever run DirectX 11 even if you buy brand new hardware.

OpenGL Bootcamp at the Big Nerd Ranch October 2008

Big Nerd Ranch announces the October 2008 session of OpenGL Bootcamp. This intensive 5-day training course will arm you with the knowledge to make your 2D and 3D visualizations fly! As problem sets explode in complexity, radical gains in performance have resulted from moving traditional graphics processing from the CPU to graphics hardware. If you are doing any work concerning graphics, then you must know OpenGL and this class is the fastest way to master the ideas and techniques of OpenGL programming. By taking full advantage of hardware acceleration, shaders, blending, textures and video we’ll help you get the most out of your data. Learn how OpenGL works, what functionality it does and does not provide, various optimization methods for both static and dynamic data, and much more. The course will provide libraries and frameworks for abstracting the operating system and allowing the student to focus solely on learning OpenGL.

Read more HERE.


DirectX 11 Details Emerge

Similar to DirectX 10, DirectX 11 will be available only on Windows Vista and future versions of Microsoft’s operating system. DirectX 11 will add new compute shader technology that Microsoft says will allow GPUs to be used “for more than just 3D graphics,” allowing developers to utilize video cards as parallel processors.

DirectX 11 will support tessellation, a feature which can potentially assist developers in making models appear smoother when seen up close. Multi-threaded resource handling is also incorporated, making it easier for games to utilize multi-core processors in a user’s machine.


Related links:
DirectX 11 preliminary details emerges in Gamefest
Microsoft: DirectX 11 To Use GPU For Parallel Processing

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