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Forward+, Mantle Vs. Glide, And Rob's Favorite Color

Tom's Hardware's AMA With AMD, In Its Entirety
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Q. When developing a new GPU do you cooperate with other AMD departments to ensure maximum performance when using AMD products together?

A. We design our GPUs to have the same level of compatibility with whatever CPU the user has. We do not optimize graphics hardware or drivers for any CPU architecture over another.

Q. I remember there was something on the GPU 14 event that mentioned anti-aliasing support with deferred rendering / lighting. Does this include super sampling anti-aliasing as well?

A. You're referring to Forward+. I want to give some background on Forward+ so other people know what it is:

Forward+ not only allows for the efficient utilization of thousands of light sources, but also performs an accurate simulation of their interactions with objects in the world. Forward+ also resolves the developer’s choice between a “forward” or “deferred” rendering engine for their game, which can have serious implications for the look, feel and features of a title.

For example, a “forward” rendering engine supports anti-aliasing, texture transparencies (like leaves and chainlink fences), and a wide variety of texture types (e.g. cloth and metal). Meanwhile, a “deferred” engine supports a large number of light sources, efficient rendering effects (“shaders”), and works well on game consoles. Thanks to Forward+, all of these technologies can efficiently coexist.

Forward+ further extends its leadership over forward and deferred engines by substantially increasing the diversity in the material types that a game may render. Whereas lighting on cloth and metal textures might look very similar on a game with a deferred engine (e.g. old gen consoles or console ports), Forward+ can render the distinct and realistic lighting differences between them.  Because of the way Forward+ is designed, it's suitable for use with both MSAA and SSAA.

Q. Does Mantle carry all the same graphic rendering abilities that other current APIs carry, or are capable of rendering the same effects?  Are there any graphical distinctions between Mantle and other APIs? Like for example, Tress FX in a way. Something that differentiates itself or sets it above other APIs?

A. Yes, Mantle is a complete graphics API capable of doing anything you see today. And more. The primary advantage, however, is that it can speak directly to the hardware in a unique way that other APIs cannot.

Q. What was the influence to do something like Mantle when we have seen other projects like "GLIDE" fail? What do you think will make your solution better or more enduring?

A. Game developers requested Mantle themselves. That's the key difference. The industry told us they want it.

Q. A followup: you mentioned that developers requested Mantle.  How so?  And what is your favorite color?

A. Johan from DICE sat across the table from Matt Skynner, the GM of our graphics business, and explained how he wanted a close-to-metal graphics API. Matt said "we can do that," and the rest was history.  Other devs are very excited when they learn about what Mantle is capable of, and how Mantle can help them bring their game to life on the PC.

My favorite color is eminence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shades_of_purple#Eminence)

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