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:
- 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.
- 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
- Creative User Interface
- Open Innovation
Further information on the Intel Perceptual Computing Challenge is available on the competition's website.