UPDATE: The latest guesstimate is arrival in March 2010 for the Nvidia DX11 GPUs
I remember like it was yesterday.. the year i imagined what we now call “Cyberspace”.. a virtual world more inspired by “Flatland” than “Matrix”.. And i watched over the years carefully as technology evolved. i was an early fan of Nvidia.. always telling any millionaires i knew to invest in it as a wise short OR long term investment (depending on current trends)
Nvidia 300 Series at Wikipedia
Unreal Engine 3/UDK
Now? Excellent long term investment. buy now would be my guess.. I don’t follow the market anymore.. i just follow product.. All i can say is that I pray that nvidia considered their realtime graphics (end consumer) market as much as all their other markets when designing the small bits and bobs of the new Card.. honestly.. i know it’s silly.. but i just hope there is not a major performance hit when enabling hardware tessellation.. regardless of what technology is used to implement it..
would i pay an extra premium for that even if it required extra hardware? as a gamer.. yes.. your talking about someone who has wanted to use hardware tessellation ever since BEFORE the term Parallax Mapping was even being used.. If I didn’t become such a huge fan of Nvidia, I would have launched this project a long time ago.. for ATI users only though… (it would have looked a mess on other hardware)
Now technology (on the software side) has finally caught up to the magazine cover (some sort of Lizard I think.. maximum PC maybe?) I saw years ago and hardware tessellation is a reality (within aand exposed by an API.. within and usable by DCC programs and plugins like Maya and 3D Studio MAX. I assume, at this point, that eventually there will be hardware that is totally Nvidia.. without any Intel chips required..
I could be wrong.. but I can imagine that for sure..
So the point? My one wish for Christmas is that the DX11 versions of Geforce technology (whatever they decide to call the 300 series) are efficient when it comes to hardware tessellation.. i like the idea of something that is powerful and replaces the CPU in terms of many things.. but i also like the idea of hardware tremendously.. and cartoonishly.. focused on realtime rendering.. focused on the gamer as a consumer.. and hardware tessellation.. whether specific silicon or efficient emulation or WHATEVER the techie term for what they do is..
i want mega high frame rates (which in my project means low framerates.. due to how much complexity i plan to use) and i want framerate drops equivalent to the ATI DirectX11 hardware tessellator provides.. do i expect that? no.. but i expect to not CARE once i find out what the new chips ALLOW em to do that I cant now, regardless of what currently available hardware i buy.
choosing to use the recently released UDK to create a Retail Alpha.. Beta.. (and hopefully having enough to get a real license by that point) and final means hitching up a horse to an old favorite.. Nvidia.. I expect and am relatively certain that WHATEVER the cool features there are in the 300 series, available to developers.. the Unreal Engine Technology will utilize it in ways that I never expected..
And if not.. I hope that the things that nvidia will expose themselves (similar to the unreal physics mod pack for Unreal Tournament 3) will be things that are easy to implement on the UDK/Unreal Engine, using their 300 series hardware.
if i could only make my game run on SGI hardware, i would do it.. so the artist in me is firmly supporting the current state of affairs with Nvidia and PhysX. I am very excited that UDK has been released, and I like that so many technologies have been interwoven into the engine.
If you have EVER looked at Unreal Engine 3 Technology and thought “I would use that license if i had an investor who would give me $700,000 for it” you have to be happy about what they are doing with UDK. Sure I wish they would release it with Atlas MMO Framework attached (since it IS made by Epic’s own Chinese studio)..
BUT I am excited to have access to both Nvidia’s cool technology and the cool engine technology of Epic and it’s MANY partner’s in lieu of having the ability to jump into an MMORPG as my first project. in fact, quite the opposite.. i am happy the engine is an offer i cant refuse, because it limits the size and scope fo what i will eb able to do as an independent developer..
i get to start small for a year and THEN build something bigger and more complex. the UDK is complex enough.. i get to make a smaller product using that engine and the same story (our original game minus a bit more..) and use the profits and experience from that to do the larger product (hopefully on the same engine but with a full license bought with the profits from the first version using UDK)
it will be download only.. and im have a bunch of different methods and ideas for greatly discouraging theft of the actual game (via copying).. most of them involve making a good product and offering great incentives… 😉 i am just happy that it seems positive that a “relatively” persistent server with progression, abilities, and stats will be within my means this year.
the quality of the engine and tools negates the fact that i did not produce a product before.. because honestly i would have used all that profit to get a better engine ANYWAYS… so in the end..i have the tools i dreamt of at the exact same cost and now the freedom to simply create .. with a few limitations that will force me to create more detailed smaller areas.. awwwww… lol
its nice to actually be free to get all these deigns and thoughts out into an engine that can be a sellable product instead of not knowing what features and limitations you will have as an artist. simply having a consistent tool for making a demo, without having to preplan switching to another engine later is a good thing.
having a consistent videocard manufacturer to plan for is also very relaxing and freeing to me as an artist. soon the 300 series will be released and i will have a much more definitive answer of the hardware that this machine called a game will be tuned for the same way a car body is tuned for an engine.
waiting this christmas for my acceptance letter from Nvidia developers group. Guess they are offline and i wait until Monday. Epic has no specific requirements for UDK (until you plan to make more than $5000 that is) so I simply signed up at their forum and posted a couple times.
Later i will deal with the whole paying 99 bucks for a UDK license to make more than $5,000 (and giving them a very sweet if you ask me 25%). I am very excited to see what the folks at Epic will be able to do (and integrate into UDK) when working on the latest UDK Hardware with those wild kids over at Nvidia
either way, gamers will be the ones that profit most, even just judging by what i have already seen made with UDK. While neither of the new games was my thing, they not only looked cool, but looked like the sort of game that would have absorbed the younger me for a few hours.
The amount of weapons, vehicles, armor, and the like which has been ported to the Unreal Engine must be HUGE. Always a plus. So is working on an engine that is being used by hundreds of kids worldwide. the only thing missing, of course, is a free Modeller that is seamlessly intertwined with the UDK..
For now I do an annoying kludge of collaborating with guys who own 3d studio max, and working with blender and DAZ and other tools that can work between formats
And oh yeah… ll of that was my thoughts at the sentence “Nvidia 300 series are reported to be arriving for general consumers quarter 1, 2010 sometime during january we hope”
I am happy that DirectX 11 forced something i expected Nvidia to do in hardware no later than a year after ATI.. hardware tessellation.. I admit that this is the first time in my adult (or professional) life when i have not KNOWN enough to understand exactly what compliance within DirectX 11 MEANS when ti comes to hardware tessellation..
I am wishing, like a bystander wishes when staring at a jury to convict.. that the requirements within DX11 for hardware tesselation were STRICT.. Normally i am free even within my own mind.. to let companies do what they wish with their own products..
But this time i admit i hjave been dreaming and drooling fo somebodhy.. anybody.. forcing Nvidia to create Hardware tessellation.. i specifcally wanted to see what sort of silicon they would create SPECIFICALLY for hardware tesselation.. alas i do not think the instructions to allow compliance with DX11 are THAT strict..
Their hardware of course will be capable of tesselation.. So instead I drool and dream and wish and hope that teh ONE thing that .. to me.. most signifies the next generation fo graphics technology.. hardware tesselator.. will make it to the 400 series.. and ill take whatever does the job in the meantime during this generation..
the gamer in me.. the artist in me.. demands it.. cyberspace as it is in my head.. soooooo close…. so so very close minus some networking code to replace what comes with UDK….. demands it one day soon… but for now the millions of polygons (apparent from user viewpoint) the 300 series will allow will be more than enough to create something amazing with the UDK, despite it’s limitations.. due to the freedom they allow to treat teh PC like a console..
treat it like gamer specific hardware.. simulation hardware.. with a specific engine.. specific API,. and specific graphics technology (aka PhysX)
With the Nvidia 250 I have arriving soon in the devbox, i have a chance and some time to familiarize with the engine itself and see what i can push out of it. And just when i start to get comfortable, the 300 series will be released and i can moove the 250 to the task of being SOLELY a PhysX processing/CUDA unit.
With the 300 series the new Nvidia GPU to push (basically) my lovely DX11 Features (which Unreal Engine/UDK will utilize regardless of what method it is implemented in). and the Purring of the Unreal/UDK engine underneath, there’s no real limit except that as an artist, to prevent whatever imagery i can imagine..
Thing I most am not looking forward to (previously Auction House math)? Selecting, figuring out, manifesting Volumetric Clouds..