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Carmack gives the middle finger to DX10

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June 9, 2007 6:37:34 PM

Quote:
http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=40199

I think he's making a mistake. He should at least consider it... don't ya think?


He could be making a mistake, or he could be the leader of a trend away from DX. I remember that years ago, Glide was a favored format until it got abandonded for DX. It could be that M$ has overstepped itself and will end up driving people away and into the waiting arms of Linux and OpenGL. It will be interesting to watch what happens over the next year or two.
June 9, 2007 11:44:10 PM

Quote:
http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=40199

I think he's making a mistake. He should at least consider it... don't ya think?


He obviously did consider it.

Fanbois are too quick to religiously align themselves with things they don't understand.

Direct3D 9, 10, and OpenGL are just APIs. OpenGL happens to have a lower CPU overhead than d3d9 and additional opportunities for the driver to internally be multithreaded. But it only ever manifested itself as a minor advantage for Doom3's beautiful engine over Unreal's, HL2's, or Farcry's.

Now d3d10 is out which is better than 9, and people only understand "better", not how much better. 99.999 is indeed < 100, but its small enough you won't care most of the time.

OpenGL is good and most importantly all the d3d10 specific features can be used in it. In Windows XP! Why force your fans to upgrade to DRM infected Vista to be able to use all the features of the hardware they already paid for? Sounds like JC is doing the noble thing here by providing d3d10 level graphics in Windows XP.
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June 10, 2007 12:47:20 AM

Carmack's always been an OpenGL developer; what's new, really, is that he's considering making a DX10 game. That is what the real news is, as per the Inq's headline. I'm surprised that there would be that much of a pull, considering that Carmack has been designing OpenGL-based 3D engines for a decade now... he's become one of the "old hands" of game design, but the real question now is whether or not he is able to remain relevant in the modern era of gaming. After all, the competition around him has become more voracious than ever...

And Titan: "DRM infested"? The only DRM in Vista was stuff that was foisted upon Microsoft... and the operating systems without those systems will not be able to do certain things (like play back HD video) once those regimes come into play, like it or not.
June 10, 2007 1:09:22 AM

I personally would enjoy seeing OpenGL based games still coming to the market.
June 10, 2007 1:42:27 AM

Well thanks for lumping me in with the fan boys. Just because I think he's making a mistake by not seriously considering DX10 doesn't mean i'm a DX fan boy. I agree w/ everything he has to say regarding OpenGL. All around OpenGL is better... esp. in terms of performance. DX is horrid when it comes to frame rates (probably because it's not as efficient or simple as OpenGL)

The point I'm making is more and more developers are dropping OpenGL for DX. It seems to me the only remaining major developer is id. Furthermore, engine licensing isn't what it used to be. Most developers are going to their own proprietary engines because writing a game engine around DX is reportedly easier than OpenGL.

And yeah... what's w/ the DRM infested comment on Vista? Sure it incorporates some new stuff, but I've not had a SINGLE problem playing ALL types of media on my system w/ Vista. MKV files, mp3, lossless, etc. And most my shite is pirated. Furthermore I'm able to rip, burn, modify just as easily with Vista as I was w/ XP. To sum it up, I've not run into a single DRM roadblock w/ Vista. And besides, with companies moving to DRM free music and (eventually) movies it's a moot issue.
June 10, 2007 1:43:41 AM

"The only DRM in Vista was stuff that was foisted upon Microsoft"

Uh huh. As if MS didn't have a choice. Being they have a monopoly they do as they please, and infesting Vista with DRM is what they chose.
June 10, 2007 1:55:03 AM

DX10 is just another monopoly ploy by M$.
June 10, 2007 2:26:30 AM

Quote:
"The only DRM in Vista was stuff that was foisted upon Microsoft"

Uh huh. As if MS didn't have a choice. Being they have a monopoly they do as they please, and infesting Vista with DRM is what they chose.


They did have a choice: Put HDCP in Vista so that you can play protected media once HD-DVD and Blu-Ray vendors implement ICT, or don't and leave consumers with a downgraded image. Microsoft isn't a monopoly player in consumer electronics, and the AACS LA wouldn't care if Microsoft wasn't on board; it wouldn't affect anyone's plans. And support for the Trusted Platform Module was already in XP, so even your precious six-year-old OS has DRM in it (although not active if your motherboard lacks that chip).

nhobo: Sure. Just like DX9 was a monopoly ploy by MS as well. No matter what, Windows is a monopoly in terms of its market. The only difference is that, to use DX10 features, you have to get Vista. That being said, with purchasing all the hardware needed to be able to run DX10 games properly, it's basically a whole new system. The only difference is that MS thinks you should buy a new OS when you get a completely new system (and, if you bought the system from an OEM, it has it already). Granted, I had a free copy of Vista, so the argument doesn't matter so much to me, but Vista is more of a worthwhile jump from XP than XP was from 2000...
June 10, 2007 2:37:15 AM

Quote:
And Titan: "DRM infested"? The only DRM in Vista was stuff that was foisted upon Microsoft... and the operating systems without those systems will not be able to do certain things (like play back HD video) once those regimes come into play, like it or not.
I'm pretty sure you've got that wrong; if Microsoft is pushed around so easily, why can the non-HDCP complaint Xbox360 play back HD-DVD video at 1080p? :?
June 10, 2007 2:54:40 AM

Quote:
And Titan: "DRM infested"? The only DRM in Vista was stuff that was foisted upon Microsoft... and the operating systems without those systems will not be able to do certain things (like play back HD video) once those regimes come into play, like it or not.
I'm pretty sure you've got that wrong; if Microsoft is pushed around so easily, why can the non-HDCP complaint Xbox360 play back HD-DVD video at 1080p? :?

It can because it is analog. It is explained here very well.

Quote:
Today you could buy an HD DVD or Blu-ray drive, put it in your PC, install HD movie playing software, and play a movie at 1080p resolution using your analog VGA output!
No special HDCP compliant hardware is required!


Not in response to Heyyou:
I've heard this whole Vista being DRM plagued thing for some time and finally feel the need to comment. If I were Microsoft with deep pockets et. all I certainly would not want to give the impression that my OS is a piracy tool. How can the OS not support drm? I'm still very limited in my Vista experience but from a DRM standpoint Vista has not been intrusive.
June 10, 2007 3:03:05 AM

let's not forget that carmack actually wants NVidia to implement directX10 stuff in OpenGL.
so i supose it all depends if nvidia gets these.
June 10, 2007 3:05:32 AM

Ummm... i think what Heyyou means is that if M$ wanted to they could have made it impossible for the hd-dvd xbox drive to work on PC's.

But they didn't and hence it shows at least a little bit of willingness to give the finger to DRM proponents.

On a somewhat different topic I think the industry is starting to realize no matter what they do copyrights and copy protection will be broken/defeated. AACS was cracked in record time and the updates to defeat the cracks are usually defeated the next day. I see at least one new bluray or hd-dvd title on the torrent sites every day. They're not full 1080... but they're 720 which is waaay better than 480. Once bandwidth's get higher in the homes pirated 1080 releases are inevitable.
June 10, 2007 3:08:21 AM

Carmack knows what he is doing and untill he himself says he will make DX10 games it is not going to happen.

Nobody needs Vista with it's DRM and sloooooow running of everything and even Microsoft has said it will no longer support Vista at the end of 2008.

It says it all when the OS maker hears from people that they won't buy this crappy product and then themselfs decide to give up on it the 2nd month it was out for sale.

If all you want is to play HD DVD's then buy a stand alone player for them...by the time more than 50% of the movies are HD with DRM the stand alone players will be down to the same price as a normal DVD player.

There is no reason why DX10 sould not be an upgrade for XP and in fact people are already makeing it work.
Search the net.

(fixed some typos)
June 10, 2007 3:18:46 AM

Quote:
Nobody needs Vista with it's DRM and sloooooow running of everything and even Microsoft has said it will no longer support Vista at the end of 2008.


What in the world are you basing that comment on? Microsoft hasn't given up on Vista. I think you're trying to extrapolate something that isn't there. If by "giving up" you mean Microsoft's new strategy to release a new OS every 2 years, you're reading way too much into it. The reason M$ is moving to this strategy is because they lost a shite load of revenue between XP and Vista. Not only that, it's starting to look like the Operating System is because more and more irrelevant with each release. Microsoft knows the web is more important than the OS and is trying to adjust its strategy... thus "major" OS releases are going the way of the dodo. It just makes more sense to "evolve" the OS every 2 years (which is what Apple and linux publishers have been doing for a long time).

Now I do agree that DX10 should have been an upgrade to XP... but oh well.

And if you're calling Vista crappy, you obviously haven't used it for an extended period of time. I've been using it from day 1 and i'm very happy with it. It's not a god send or anything, but it IS better than XP. Sure it has some minor compatibility issues, but what new OS doesn't? The only complaint I had was poor driver support in the beginning for MAJOR products like Linksys wireless cards, but at the end of the day you can't blame that on M$. It's Linksys' fault for not having them ready in time. Anyways, driver support has been cleared up... everyone has Vista drivers now.
June 10, 2007 3:36:18 AM

Quote:
Well thanks for lumping me in with the fan boys. Just because I think he's making a mistake by not seriously considering DX10 doesn't mean i'm a DX fan boy. I agree w/ everything he has to say regarding OpenGL. All around OpenGL is better... esp. in terms of performance. DX is horrid when it comes to frame rates (probably because it's not as efficient or simple as OpenGL)


1) He will be using DirectX 10.
2) He did seriously consider Direct3D 10, but it wasn't compelling.
3) DX is not horrid when it comes to frame rates or anything else.

Quote:
The point I'm making is more and more developers are dropping OpenGL for DX.


Name two in the last two years. Since Direct3D 8 nobody other than id and licensees have used OpenGL.

Homeworld 2, Serious Sam 1, Tribes 2 were the last games I can remember that used OpenGL independent of id.

Quote:
Furthermore, engine licensing isn't what it used to be. Most developers are going to their own proprietary engines because writing a game engine around DX is reportedly easier than OpenGL.


Opposite of the truth. Engine licensing is getting bigger and bigger every year and expanding into consoles. Exceptions are companies like Valve with a bunch of money that want to get into the licensing business themselves.
June 10, 2007 8:07:33 AM

Quote:
Well thanks for lumping me in with the fan boys. Just because I think he's making a mistake by not seriously considering DX10 doesn't mean i'm a DX fan boy. I agree w/ everything he has to say regarding OpenGL. All around OpenGL is better... esp. in terms of performance. DX is horrid when it comes to frame rates (probably because it's not as efficient or simple as OpenGL)


1) He will be using DirectX 10.
2) He did seriously consider Direct3D 10, but it wasn't compelling.
3) DX is not horrid when it comes to frame rates or anything else.

Quote:
The point I'm making is more and more developers are dropping OpenGL for DX.


Name two in the last two years. Since Direct3D 8 nobody other than id and licensees have used OpenGL.

Homeworld 2, Serious Sam 1, Tribes 2 were the last games I can remember that used OpenGL independent of id.

Quote:
Furthermore, engine licensing isn't what it used to be. Most developers are going to their own proprietary engines because writing a game engine around DX is reportedly easier than OpenGL.


Opposite of the truth. Engine licensing is getting bigger and bigger every year and expanding into consoles. Exceptions are companies like Valve with a bunch of money that want to get into the licensing business themselves.

how many games did the doom3 engine license?

how many games did the HL2 engine license?

how many games did the crysis engine license?

now, let's go back a few years. how many did games did the quake titles license? and Unreal?

hmmm...

i'm refering to PC gaming here.
June 10, 2007 8:56:18 AM

if I remember well, the next Carmack's might be his last, at least that is what he said before Doom 3 in some interview back then he mentioned, that he is thinking about quitting the business after the Doom3 + one engine technology and focus on personal life / his space project (Armadillo). of course, that might have chenaged but it is the next paragraph that makes me call this INQ BS

other thing is that Carmack was always OpenGL man and I see no way in hell that he would abandon it. as someone mentioned - DirectX (or Direct3D to be specific) is just an API and there is no reason not to add SM4.0 capabilities to OpenGL as well. sure, DX is an interesting and comfy API (I program in D3D9 myself) but if he's been doing OpenGL for 10 years, why would he swtch now if he plans on retiring soon ?
June 10, 2007 9:25:19 AM

Quote:
I personally would enjoy seeing OpenGL based games still coming to the market.

OpenGL never left.
I also think DX10 is the LAST API with shaders.
Anyway, here is an idea. The Future is here.
June 10, 2007 10:23:48 AM

Quote:
If by "giving up" you mean Microsoft's new strategy to release a new OS every 2 years, you're reading way too much into


After the 2nd month of Vista sales and it selling LESS than "old" XP along with complaints and global shity reviews.... the "New Strategy" to state it will not support it at the end of 2008 seems about right.

Only people who did not know better bought it and a vast amount comlained.
People in general don't want the crap and they (Microsoft) are moving on to anything that -will- sale and leaving behind a long history of many years of OS support.

Microsoft even gave the OEM's more XP time.

The world is not wrong when it screams Vista sucks.
It is fated for a much shorter life than ME.
June 10, 2007 10:43:29 AM

Quote:
I personally would enjoy seeing OpenGL based games still coming to the market.

OpenGL never left.
I also think DX10 is the LAST API with shaders.
Anyway, here is an idea. The Future is here.

well, I don't agree, at least partially. sure, raytracing is a nice and pretty convenient way to render scenes, but it's not as beautiful as it looks. the problem with ray tracing is collision detection and the more objects you have on the screen - the more time ray tracing takes. and while I can easily imagine doom3 done using ray tracing (if it hadn't been done already...) I see no way that we will see ray-traced version of something similiar to medieval 2 or crysis in many years to come. they just render way too many objects on the screen

and yeah, Vista sucks. has anyone noticed that it took 6 years from win 95 to win XP and 6 years for Vista to arrive ? now compare XP to 95 and Vista to XP :) 
June 10, 2007 10:49:56 AM

Quote:
and yeah, Vista sucks. has anyone noticed that it took 6 years from win 95 to win XP and 6 years for Vista to arrive ? now compare XP to 95 and Vista to XP :) 


You forgot about Microsofts OTHER failed OS...ME.
June 10, 2007 10:54:19 AM

Quote:
and yeah, Vista sucks. has anyone noticed that it took 6 years from win 95 to win XP and 6 years for Vista to arrive ? now compare XP to 95 and Vista to XP :) 


You forgot about Microsofts OTHER failed OS...ME.

I did not forget, I was merciful :) 

I used 95/XP/Vista just as an example what can be done in a specific (6 years) timeframe
June 10, 2007 11:02:30 AM

Quote:
and yeah, Vista sucks. has anyone noticed that it took 6 years from win 95 to win XP and 6 years for Vista to arrive ? now compare XP to 95 and Vista to XP :) 


You forgot about Microsofts OTHER failed OS...ME.

I did not forget, I was merciful :) 

I used 95/XP/Vista just as an example what can be done in a specific (6 years) timeframe

If they removed all the lame DRM "provider encyption protection" it may be a good OS.
It would sure be alot faster than it is.
June 10, 2007 11:54:27 AM

Oh, please. Carmack is an OpenGL programmer. To expect him to completely change over is VERY much expecting a leopard to literally change his spots. A major reason for his hostility to DX is the *sameness* of the APIs that DX calls are made to, and the inability to write specific calls to take advantage of proprietary features (while OpenGL allows this, DX does not). DX 10 is even harsher (from a programming standpoint) on variations from expected API calls than even DX 9; on top of that, DX 10 requires a commitment to Windows Vista. While Carmack has been a programmer far longer than I have, the sheer fact that he *has* been programming almost entirely in a single API would make him all the more reluctant (and resistant) to change (I specifically remember changing from dBase to SQL, sliding through InterBase along the way; while I used mostly Borland's API and programming tools, I certainly didn't wind up there! I actually wound up with using a Microsoft front-end, Visual Studio to be precise, with a variety of back ends: Borland's own InterBase, Microsoft SQL Server, or even Sybase SQL Server.). Would Carmack even consider such an approach?
June 10, 2007 1:33:00 PM

I feel compelled to clear up some misinformation in this thread (I'm not responding to any one person).

First of all, OpenGL is not more performant than Direct3D (using the name DirectX instead of D3D is not inappropriate because everyone knows what you mean anyway - no need to be so pedantic). Both APIs, in modern engines, are heavily shader-based and you can even write the same shader for both using Cg. Performance is based on the programmer's experience with the API, as well as the driver's maturity (e.g. Nvidia's OpenGL implementation is more mature than AMD/ATi's, especially under Linux), more than your choice of API.

Second, there is no need to wait for DX10 features to get implemented in OpenGL, they are already exposed and have been since the G80 launch. Yes, these can be used under XP as well as Linux and OSX.

Next, DirectX is not the only API that undergoes changes, although it's true that it has undergone many more radical changes than OpenGL, this summer we are going to get Longs Peak, and this fall we are going to get Mt. Evans (OpenGL 3.0 possibly). See the OpenGL pipeline for more details. Volume 4 is due out in the next few days or weeks. Aside from a bran-new object model, you can expect all the G80 extensions to be elevated to full language features (which usually just removes the ARB or EXT at the end of function calls, in my experience), and necessitates a version increment (OGL 2.x and OGL 3.0).

OpenGL is not dead in gaming either, as the PS3 uses a version of it, any of the really popular engines out there ported to the PS3 also support OpenGL, in some fashion.

Half-life 1 supported it (and even had a software renderer, IIRC), FarCry supported it. The Half Life 2 engine supports it via the PS3, although not on the PC that I can see. CryEngine2 will support the PS3 as well. Unreal Engine 3 supports both the PS3 and OpenGL under Linux/OSX.

All of Blizzard's games famously support OSX and therefore OpenGL (and of course, they still employ Sam Lantinga, author of SDL, as far as I know). I'm not sure why they don't support Linux directly, but with their renderer so abstracted they could easily (perhaps the reasons are political). WoW wouldn't work so great under Linux without an OpenGL mode.

Most modern, big-name renderers and engines are abstracted enough to support both D3D and OpenGL, and many do.

Now, whether OpenGL will take the crown in terms of popularity due to DX10 only being available on Vista is up for debate. A lot of people, including this forum, still refer to a card's features in terms of DirectX version number, rather than Shader Model 4.0. This means, generally, people don't realize that Vista is not necessary for achieving a certain graphical effect. Certainly, taking advantage of Vista's bad reputation, it is a great time for OpenGL to make headway, as well as "Linux on the desktop," but whether either of these will come true is uncertain.

Gaming on Linux is a catch-22. Developers (or publishers coercing them) don't support it because it's not worth the time for so few sales. Gamers don't use it because there aren't many games natively supported. This is a shitty situation to be in (Mac users included). In my opinion, the extra development time needed to support these two platforms is not that much more (or none, using proper x-platform libs), and you gain code robustness and stability. Certainly, a couple hundred extra sales is nothing for those shooting for millions, but those couple hundred is still a number greater than zero. I'm sure Blizzard appreciates that this number is nonnegative, and you can't really argue they're doing anything wrong, now can you?

Didn't mean to get preachy, and I may have gotten a bit off topic for this post. Regarding the OP, although the inquirer article is new, the gameinformer article is old news, dating back to January. A Carmack DX10 game is not an inevitability, unless he chooses to port his engine to the Xbox 720. Nvidia is not opening DX10 features to OpenGL to placate JC, either. The guy's popular, but he's not THAT influential.

As for the Gamasutra article, "Rich Wickham, Microsoft’s Director of the Games For Windows group" says a DX10 game is inevitable? This guy's JOB is pretty much to spread DX10 FUD. He was probably surgically modified to think that there is no way to do DX10-effects outside of Vista, and probably wouldn't admit OpenGL exists.
June 10, 2007 2:44:11 PM

I say... who cares if it's OpenGL or DX... it's John Carmack, so you know it's gonna look good! 8)
June 10, 2007 4:35:32 PM

Quote:
If by "giving up" you mean Microsoft's new strategy to release a new OS every 2 years, you're reading way too much into


After the 2nd month of Vista sales and it selling LESS than "old" XP along with complaints and global shity reviews.... the "New Strategy" to state it will not support it at the end of 2008 seems about right.

Only people who did not know better bought it and a vast amount comlained.
People in general don't want the crap and they (Microsoft) are moving on to anything that -will- sale and leaving behind a long history of many years of OS support.

The world is not wrong when it screams Vista sucks.
It is fated for a much shorter life than ME.

What are you talking about there is no "New Strategy" at least not one that ends support for Vista in 2008. Did you just make that up or are you part of AMD leadership. You do know that the server version will be released 08, right.


Your lack of knowledge or flagrant BS about this is rather disturbing. MS Me was a piece of crap. Vista is a solid OS, bloated, sure. The fact still remains that it's the best OS that M$ has ever released. Until the release of SP2 for XP there was really no good reason to upgrade from 2000 other than for modified GUI. Vista on the other hand has loads of new features. I wouldn't recommend most folks to just upgrade but most people buying a new PC should get it with Vista.

As DX10 vs. OpenGL I think that competition is good in the API arena.
June 10, 2007 11:05:52 PM

Quote:
I personally would enjoy seeing OpenGL based games still coming to the market.

OpenGL never left.
I also think DX10 is the LAST API with shaders.
Anyway, here is an idea. The Future is here.

well, I don't agree, at least partially. sure, raytracing is a nice and pretty convenient way to render scenes, but it's not as beautiful as it looks. the problem with ray tracing is collision detection and the more objects you have on the screen - the more time ray tracing takes. and while I can easily imagine doom3 done using ray tracing (if it hadn't been done already...) I see no way that we will see ray-traced version of something similiar to medieval 2 or crysis in many years to come. they just render way too many objects on the screen

and yeah, Vista sucks. has anyone noticed that it took 6 years from win 95 to win XP and 6 years for Vista to arrive ? now compare XP to 95 and Vista to XP :) 
I agree.
However, I hope by the time DX11 comes (in 5+ years), Ray Tracing can be fully off-loaded to hardware, physics will be integrated, vastly more accurate, and vastly faster.

Microsoft was WAY slow getting Vista ready, I hope the same isn't true for 3D.
June 11, 2007 3:18:07 PM

Quote:
well, I don't agree, at least partially. sure, raytracing is a nice and pretty convenient way to render scenes, but it's not as beautiful as it looks. the problem with ray tracing is collision detection and the more objects you have on the screen - the more time ray tracing takes. and while I can easily imagine doom3 done using ray tracing (if it hadn't been done already...) I see no way that we will see ray-traced version of something similiar to medieval 2 or crysis in many years to come. they just render way too many objects on the screen.


Both ray tracing and scanline rendering gain time complexity as scene complexity increases. It's the nature of any algorithm - you can't have an algorithm with constant complexity. When the Egoshooters Quake 3 RT video came out a few years ago, I did some reading up on ray tracing and read somewhere that in the worst case scenario, the time complexity will be logarithmic. I don't have the source for that info, so I did some more searching just now for suitable replacements.

A paper put out in 1998, discussed on a ray tracing news site, concludes that " the lower bound of worst time complexity of ray shooting is O(log N)", however, "these ray-shooting algorithms working in logarithmic time are proved to have at least O(N^4) space and preprocessing complexity in the worst case." On the other hand, it is known that scanline rendering time complexity increases linearly with the number of objects - O(N). This means that according to the somewhat dated research paper, in a typical case, ray tracing would be faster than scanline rendering, but for a worst case scenario, ray tracing would be too slow to even be feasible. Note that this paper also concluded that there was no known way to accelerate the ray tracing process, meaning that it would have to be done in software.

Intel put out a paper in 2005 about the feasibility of ray tracing in mainstream computer graphics. One conclusion in the paper is that ray tracing algorithms do in fact follow a logarithmic complexity bound, and when scene complexity hits around 1M triangles, ray tracing begins to be a faster solution than scanline rendering. They even go so far as to state that "the true cost of ray tracing has been very poorly understood until recently." Obviously one must consider that Intel would want ray tracing to replace scanline rendering since it would translate to increased high-end processor sales, but regardless of motive, the conclusion is in line with 3rd party conclusions. Ray tracing is in fact a feasible solution for computer graphics, and as game environments continue to gain complexity, it will actually become a better solution than scanline rendering.
June 12, 2007 1:16:06 AM

Interesting, I'd love to see the new engine for... hmmmm... Doom 4? :tongue: In OpenGL.

I hope Carmack fights DX10 like a man, because it would certainly be fun to see the new DX10 engines competing against an OpenGL one by someone who has one of the biggest (if not the biggest) reputations in the industry.

If we switches to DX10 though... hmmm.. fun over :( 
June 15, 2007 8:48:06 AM

Quote:
What are you talking about there is no "New Strategy" at least not one that ends support for Vista in 2008. Did you just make that up or are you part of AMD leadership. You do know that the server version will be released 08, right.


Your lack of knowledge or flagrant BS about this is rather disturbing. MS Me was a piece of crap. Vista is a solid OS, bloated, sure. The fact still remains that it's the best OS that M$ has ever released. Until the release of SP2 for XP there was really no good reason to upgrade from 2000 other than for modified GUI. Vista on the other hand has loads of new features. I wouldn't recommend most folks to just upgrade but most people buying a new PC should get it with Vista.

As DX10 vs. OpenGL I think that competition is good in the API arena.


The Microsoft Service Lifecycle is for any OS to move into extended support 5 years after its release or 2 years after an updated OS is released. Mainstream support for windows XP (every edition except embedded) will end on April 14th, 2009. Extended support includes: paid support (per-incident, per hour, etc.), security update support, product-specific information using Microsoft Knowledge Base or Microsoft Help and Support, and paid non-security hotfix support agreement. Mainstream support additionally includes: no-charge incident support, warranty claims, and "design changes and feature requests."

I hold Microsoft in violation of this agreement by not porting DX10 to Windows XP. DirectX 9.0c still runs on Windows 98 and 2000. Windows 95 can run DirectX 8.0a. I might actually do something about this violation if the computer running XP supported features that were at least up to DX7 standards. I'm expecting to update my other system to have full OpenGL 3 support this fall :D , but DX10 will be lacking there too, since it runs Linux, and boots Windows 2000 on a rare occasion to change RAID settings (stupid Compaq support).

P.S. I used Vista for an hour once, and I wasn't that impressed. The security confirmations were a little annoying, even compared to tight Linux security, but nothing along the lines of all the horror stories. Vista may be far and away the best OS from Microsoft (it may not be, since I didn't do much in that hour), but there's other competition. Vista is nowhere near as cool as what Linux is capable of on my Athlon-XP 2400+ and GeForce 5500 (about 1/3 faster than a Geforce 2GTS), and a properly set up system is so much easier to use than XP that I'm surprised Microsoft hasn't been marginalized. Beryl makes Vista's shiny new interface look quite old and useless. The sad thing is that I was once a Microsoft fanboy.
June 15, 2007 12:15:19 PM

Quote:
Note that this paper also concluded that there was no known way to accelerate the ray tracing process, meaning that it would have to be done in software.

If it can be done in software, it can be done faster in hardware.

The intel article actually points this out very well. Constructing the world graph (mathmatical term, rather than common usage) is an extremely parallel process, and uses simple maths not too uncommon to existing 3d rendering. This world graph is in fact the exact same structure that physics subsystems would need, which offers more opportunities to optimise the engine (and as we all recall, physics simulations are moving more and more into hardware). Then, tracing the rays through the tree not only is also highly parallel, but again it's the same 3d tests that graphics cards already can do (the intersection of a vector and plane).

Those of you who have been paying attention would have noticed that we're talking about lots of vector maths in parallel, just the kind of thing that shaders can do well ;) 
(The only difference we see here is in the creation of the world graph, which requires a lot of memory management but can still be easily implemented in future designs)

To summarise the scene complexity section of the Intel paper, ray tracing cares mainly about the image detail, rather than the world complexity. And whilst existing raster rendering methods require a separate occlusion culling process, this is automatically built into ray tracing, and unlike raster rendering it scales logarithmically with world complexity rather than linearly .

Some of the major advantages is that several aspects of visual quality are guaranteed to always occur and with no performance loss for adding them. Shadows are automatic, reflections are also, and translucency can just be added without any extra work (in raster rendering, you need to make sure that the covered polys are drawn first, followed by the alpha-blended translucent poly). You can even do refraction at no extra cost, and all kinds of other changes to the lighting.

However, the accuracy of ray tracing is in itself a problem. The human eye is used to using the effect of light hitting a surface to infer texture and detail. As such, unless a designer makes use of a wide range of methods to add both real and faked complexity, objects will appear smoother and flatter than with raster rendering. However, as these methods are quite similar to existing raster methods, they can be optimised exactly the way that they are now.

When a ray hits a surface, a shader is called to determine the effects the surface has on the ray. This shader may well have to wait for the results of many new rays before it can terminate with a result. However, as you may recall, the latest shader hardware designs all feature the concept of being able to pull a thread from processing and let others get on with their work until the first thread has the information it needs.

The end of the article talks about scaling across multiple CPUs. However, remember that your typical CPU is designed to run an operating system, business software, games, database servers, image editing suites, internet browsers, calenders, etc. Ray tracing really only needs a small percentage of all the functionality offered, much like existing 3d raster rendering methods.

The whole point to this post is to stress that ray tracing could almost certainly make good use of shader model 4.0 to speed it up, and that dedicated hardware could easily be made which could allow ray tracing to become the rendering method of choice.

All that remains is to see how bound OpenGL and direct3d are to raster rendering, as ideally the rendering method itself should only mater in terms of the number of lights to simulate, lighting textures to overlay and shadow production. I strongly suspect that very few changes at all would be needed to the APIs to offer the choice of rendering methods.
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