Curious, we asked about how the team decides on who’s technology to more aggressively optimize for. After all, Nvidia seems to think that tessellation is the future of realism in next-generation games. AMD’s focus is a little less defined.
"This really depends on the game you are developing," Stenmark said. "Hardware tessellation can improve the realism of a game, but sometimes realism is not the goal. Here again you have to consider what hardware to support."
Suddenly my mind whirled back to the laptop with Intel integrated graphics. I asked about Arrowhead's take on Intel as a viable competitor in the GPU market.
"They don’t seem to be trying to seriously compete with Nvidia or AMD," Stenmark admitted. "They develop great GPUs from a mobile point of view with good performance and low power consumption, but they have next to nothing to offer a hardcore gamer."
Naturally we couldn't escape the topic of GPU support without covering APIs like DirectX and OpenGL. As we saw a few weeks ago, AMD's worldwide developer relations manager of its GPU division, Richard Huddy, claimed that some developers actually want APIs (DirectX, OpenGL) to go away, that it's getting in the way of creating some truly amazing graphics. Is that true? Is DirectX holding back the PC in terms of its overall potential?
"I think that APIs are crucial for smaller developers," he answered. "It is much simpler and faster to program with an API. As an example, we here at Arrowhead GS would never have time to program directly for the graphics hardware. On the other hand, for larger companies it would be great to be able to go in without an API and really get the most out of a graphics card."
He said the team makes heavy use of multiple render targets for deferred shading, particles, and so on. "Some of our shaders are also too big to compile for SM 2.0.," he added. "DirectX 11 is definitely a step in the right direction and we will make use of it sometime. We always keep a close eye on hardware development, but as stated earlier, we always have to consider other target hardware."