this article discusses a bit of computer graphics, realtime graphics, effects, and hardware evolution. it also talks about our target hardware for the project (not a minimum spec)
totally unrelated.. according to Wow.com, Blizzard is tracking 180,000 bugs.
read http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/opengl-directx,2019.html (OpenGL3 & Directx11)
(mostly article with ATI links.. Nvidia dev page here)
this entire project has been developed primarily on laptops. i had never really experimented in the usage of laptops previously (in over twenty years of IT, always having my primary home machines be desktops)
our specialized hardware is small, modular, and mobile so i wanted to spend the preproduction time (when machine spec is not as important as during production) exploring and experiencing the use of different mobile platforms
now that production is beginning, a desktop is needed to serve as development workstation, client, and server if necessary. i cant afford to go with a mobile platform t this stage, needed to use the most modern GPU (preferably mid range to high on the performance scale in the most recent generation)
directx 11 compatibility comes, along with technology to offload CPU intensive tasks onto the GPU. For maximum compatibility and minimum cost, we will standardize on the Athon Phenom II x4 platform with ATI video cards
Emotionally speaking, i am almost religiously an Nvidia kid.. but ATI is first out of the gate with the newest generation technology, and they are adopting OpenCL (as opposed to whatever relatively proprietary thing Nvidia is using)
Now that they are merged with AMD (a company i have liked ever since they acquired some of the engineers behind the DEC Alpha chip ..my favorite chip ever) and used that knowledge in the creation of the Athlon (and a lot of their other interesting bits and bobs of tech)
From the point of view of trying to recreate movielike effects in realtime (most likely at movielike (ie ..absurdly small) resolutions and lots of anti-aliasing is my guess) the cards are relatively the same..
i noticed years ago, however, that both companies usually have some interesting bit of tech in their SDK that only runs on their hardware..i remember ATi usually had some hardware based polygon displacement mapping tech that i thought would be worth catering to one card.. but that was before i just fell in love with the green machine known as Nvidia..
During the years when i was primarily researching programmable shaders, and their effects, in film production (going all the way back to Toy story and the like), Rendermonkey (ATIs Shader Editing IDE) was really useful
Nowdays I am assuming (taking a break of approximately a year and a half from daily usage of 3d modelers/animation tools such as maya and Blender) that it is really easy to export almost any shader into a realtime equivalent (in HLSL or Cg or.. whatever the newfangled filenames and types are for that sort of thing.. ill let you know later when im collecting and developing the shaders..
I have to admit that the power gains that have been made in various fields beyond transistor count (GDDR5 memory is what will be used by the ATI 5800 series.. QUAD pumped memory speed instead of the double of DDR)
the 5800 comes in varieties that include both 1 and 2 GB of ram onboard. just to help keep me the sort of person that values efficiency, i will use the 1GB ram version.. lol
both companies have all sorts of demos that show off what their card can do.. but are also open source, allowing developers to learn from or even reuse whatever technology is on display
both companies have interesting demos and tech.. but i have noticed that ATI seems to focus a lot on shader, effects, and animation development in realistic projects
i remember the first time i saw their “realistic car paint shader” in a two tone purple green concoction on some sort of sports car.. nowadays cars in videogames and the shaders related to them are pretty damn photorealistic
as the power of realtime GPUs advances, i expect (and in fact work from the premise that) the shaders used in commercials and films to make things realistic will be the same ones used in realtime graphics
one of the things that this project has always counted on is the fact that a traditional game development company cant just truly target such a small percentage of the gamer market
they need to maximize sales figures.. as a one world MMORPG with an evolving server structure and code.. i want to have the minimum amount of players the first few months .. and even during the first year of release i would hate to have more than 30,000 players
that allows and always has allowed me to design more for a film than for a game.. planning out shots and calculating the characters and objects in each “scene” ..
a while ago ATI created a CG character called Ruby to demonstrate their realtime technology. i dont remember her poly count or modelling THAT much.. but i remember the advances in skin and hair shaders that she represented
when i was doing some research on the ATI 5800 series, I came across a link to their updated Ruby (I assume that runs in realtime on the 5800 series?)
More images are available a AMD/ATIs Flickr page
If I had my way a couple years ago, Nvidia would somehow have partnered with AMD.. but I suppose everything happens for a reason, and the company I used to love back in 1999 has now risen to the forefront of my development plate/slate
Rendermonkey Screen Shot