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.