Intel Launches Its New Suite of Developer Tools for Gaming & Media

Intel's presentation at GDC 2013 introduced a number of new programs, tools and initiatives for software developers that aim to free them to "take applications in new directions."

First among them are two new DirectX extensions for upcoming Intel HD graphics platforms, specifically the 4th Generation of Intel Core processors:

  1. PixelSync: Provides access to underlying hardware that allows programmers to composite partially transparent pixels without the need for an expensive sorting operation. This aims to more realistically render smoke, hair, windows, foliage, fences and other complex geometry.
  2. InstantAccess: Allows physical memory to be written and read from either the CPU or from the on-board Intel HD Graphics.

These extensions will initially be available exclusively through Intel's implementation of DirectX and on 4th Generation Core processors. The supporting documents are currently available from Intel's Visual Computing Source website.

"The artists working on 'Grid2' have been requesting this type of effect for years, and prior to this, it wasn't possible to achieve it at a reasonable cost," said Clive Moody, senior executive producer at Codemasters Racing. "The fact that this capability will be available to millions of consumers on forthcoming 4th Generation Intel Core processors is very exciting to us."

Intel also announced that the open-source HandBrake video transcoding software will have support for the company's Quick Sync Video, a piece of dedicated hardware built into recent Intel Core Processors that aims to increase transcoding speed while significantly reducing CPU usage. Intel and the HandBrake team are jointly showcasing the technology at GDC and expect early builds to be available soon.

The company's suite of graphics and game development tools, the Intel Graphics Performance Analyzers (GPA), has received an update that adds a Geometry viewer with support for shader stages, additional Android support and general platform upgrades. Also released at GDC was the production version of Intel's Perceptual Computing Software Development Kit (SDK), which aims to make "experiences with computing devices natural, intuitive and immersive."

Finally, Intel has launched the 2013 edition of its Level Up contest in which winners get the chance for a publishing contract with Valve after being judged by a panel of "game industry luminaries" and the second phase of the Intel Perceptual Computing Challenge in which developers in 16 companies will compete for $800,000 in prizes in the following categories:

  • Perceptual Gaming
  • Productivity
  • Creative User Interface
  • Open Innovation

Further information on the Intel Perceptual Computing Challenge is available on the competition's website.

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  • A Bad Day
    I'm assuming the stuff that Intel is working on are not compatible with AMD's or Nividia's implementation?
  • dalethepcman
    "The fact that this capability will be available to millions of consumers on forthcoming 4th Generation Intel Core processors is very exciting to us."

    Too bad you won't actually be able to play the game without a video card...

    When these integrated chips can hit 35fps minimum at 1080P, then you can get excited.
  • Ranth
    I kinda don't get it. How many will implement this in their code? How many are using intergrated HD graphics for gaming? I personally don't know, I though I don't think there's enough to make it worthwhile to implement, especially if it's intel exclusive..
  • ct001
    I can see 'InstantAccess' being quite useful. On both Intel and AMD integrated GPUs the chips share main memory (and often a cache), so this extension may actually see use.

    On top of that CPU/GPU integration is a major bottleneck in many applications and games, with a ton of techniques and tricks trying to get around both the bandwidth bottleneck and the latency. By being able to have both the GPU and CPU read and write the same memory can lead to very fast/tight integration and some really amazing effects that couldn't be realistically done any other way. Even in the case where it brings nothing new to the table, being able to submit smaller batches, or work with buffers in a more natural/dynamic manner will be nice.

    On the other hand I don't see 'PixelSync' seeing any real use.
  • yhikum
    I wonder if this is specifically geared toward Intel platform, that is another push for Intel specific compilers.

    And if it is so, one may ask "will software work on AMD platform?". Currently we can observe that software compiled with Intel compilers will do much WORSE on AMD platform due to simple fact that compiler applies optimized code ONLY for Intel CPUS, not AMD ones.

    New development tools would even push discrepancy of performance even further, favoring Intel. Interesting question to ask Intel about this software suite is "will it work with other graphic chipsets equally?"
  • joytech22
    I'll tell you now, it'll be the only two features you'll be able to enable on Intel HD4000 chips.
  • falchard
    OMG when I think of gaming graphics, I think of Intel first. Primarily, I think I hope this computer does not have Intel IGP.
  • janetonly42
    Just what we need, another proprietary format. Long live Open GL/CL
  • ojas
    AnandTech has more detail, here. Yes, i'm sort of complaining, because they had this story out 5 days ago and in more detail... :|

    falchardOMG when I think of gaming graphics, I think of Intel first. Primarily, I think I hope this computer does not have Intel IGP.Haswell GT3e= GT 650m from Nvidia. Just saying.
  • ojas
    janetonly42Just what we need, another proprietary format. Long live Open GL/CLThat's not how i understood the article on AT, seems more like Intel's using DX11 to do this stuff, but then it's specific to their APUs. Sounds driver level. Maybe wrong, but then i read this 5 days ago.