32-year-old Bruce Dell of Australia is claiming that his new software will render unlimited, hyper-realistic graphics without the use of polygons. If his claims are true, this new technology could spark the next evolution in gaming, repeating the changeover last seen in the 1990's when polygons replaced pixels.
Called Unlimited Detail, the software doesn't require special hardware, suggesting that the entire process can run off a single-core CPU. In fact, Dell said that the software will render graphics on anything from a PC to a mobile phone without the need for a GPU.
The software works by acting like a search engine, digging through trillions of voxels--the 3D counterpart to pixels--in a cloud to quickly render a scene. "We can build enormous worlds with huge numbers of points, then compress them down to be very small," he explains on the software's website. "The Unlimited Detail engine works out which direction the camera is facing, and then searches the data to find only the points it needs to put on the screen."
Dell added that the software doesn't access unneeded voxels, and that if the screen is set to 1024 x 768, then the software only grabs that exact number of points--one for each pixel on the screen.
Currently Dell is working on forming an actual company as well as putting together an SDK. However Nvidia has already tossed in its opinion of the new technology, saying that voxels have issues with shading and coloring images properly. The GPU company even points to the images provided by Dell, stating that none of the objects look all that realistic.
Wired reports that Nvidia is also skeptical about the Unlimited Detail claims of rendering graphics in real-time using only a single-core processor, and no GPU. This would mean that a machine would need huge amounts of RAM, and at the moment, Dell is remaining tight-lipped about how the software deals with the rendering.
Could this be a farce, or could Unlimited Detail be a legitimate evolution in graphics rendering? If it is, there will need to be more parties involved than just Dell. “There have to be SDKs, tools and drivers, and these are things that teams of people from many different companies come together to create," Nvidia said.
Software developers such as Adobe, Autodesk, and Maya would also have to jump the polygon ship as well, a big change that could actually stall the industry's overall acceptance of Unlimited Detail... if its legitimate.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
Voxel based rendering has been around for years, it just isn't as efficient as rasterization, or as accurate as ray tracing. You can call it the future of computing, but its still a red headed stepchild.Reply
It seems like an excellent idea, though obviously, advances like this take time to mature and evolve into a successfully competing technology.Reply
what a fascinating idea. obviously it's not very sophisticated now, but when you apply physics to voxels, it completely changes the whole concept. moving objects by affecting the force of each particle that makes the object up and then calculating their affect on other particles as well as each other is the true power hereReply
dogofwarsWowall i can say is ^Reply
Morgan3rdVoxel based rendering has been around for years, it just isn't as efficient as rasterization, or as accurate as ray tracing. You can call it the future of computing, but its still a red headed stepchild.Reply
Pretty much. Wasn't there just an article a few months ago about Epic rendering an character through voxels, but admitting they couldn't get shading and animation properly done?
As said, Voxels aren't new, just doesn't afford the customisation and abilities that current rendering tech does. The future will mostly likely be a hybrid bastard child of Rasterization, Voxels, and Raytracing. Or something.
Makes complete, logical sense to me - where can I buy stock in your company?Reply
blazeorangemanMakes complete, logical sense to me - where can I buy stock in your company?Reply
Me2, i would love to buy stock in a company that AMD or Nvidia would pay Billions for if it shows just the slightest amount of progress.
He actually says "our algorithm is vastly different to voxels" at 7:28Reply