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TransGaming Releases Fast Software 3D Rendering

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the extending-the-life-of-your-pc dept.

Graphics 256

gavriels writes "TransGaming has just released SwiftShader, an ultra-fast software-only 3D renderer that supports Vertex and Pixel Shaders. SwiftShader dynamically compiles the geometry and rasterization pipelines to produce code that exactly matches the graphics features a game or application is using. Demo download and tech details can be found on their website."

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256 comments

first. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13828975)

first?

A Blow to OpenGL? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829001)

Seems to make OpenGL less appealing, especially given the crosscompatibility it claims.

In short, No. (5, Informative)

Digital_Quartz (75366) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829074)

OpenGL is an API, which programmers use to describe a set of graphics primatives.

SwiftShader is a renderer, which draws things.

You would, in fact, program your code in Direct3D or OpenGL, and then use SwiftShader as the renderer, the same way today you would program in Direct3D or OpenGL, and then use your ATI X800 as the renderer. They even mention, in the article, that "OpenGL-compatible APIs are also under development".

The only difference is that, compared to an ATI X800, SwiftShader will be very slow, and compared to the SuperImageCrazyMagic 9000 VGA+++ graphics card in my crappy laptop, SwiftShader will be quite fast.

Re:A Blow to OpenGL? (2, Insightful)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829106)

With no free licensing for personal and/or academic use available, I don't see that happening. Furthermore, it's only supported on Win 98 and up and Linux. One of the principal strengths of OpenGL is that it works on all Windows flavors, Linux, Unix, Solaris, Mac, ... -- Paul

Re:A Blow to OpenGL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829208)

With no free licensing for personal and/or academic use available, I don't see that happening.

It's not intended for personal and/or academic use. It's yet another implementation of certain standards and presumably it works better than others on _certain_ platforms. Get it ?

Ads (5, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829032)

Ad-posts such as this one, wouldn't be as offensive if they would just come out and say that they're an ad-post. I.e., instead of "on their website", say "on our website". And make some sort of comment that, yes, the poster does have a vested interest in the content of the post.

Re:Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829052)

Well, I'm sure this guy agrees. Who is he? I don't know. Why are you asking me? *shifty eyes*

Re:Ads (2, Funny)

Anonymous Custard (587661) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829056)

Slashdot Editor should change the post to indicate that.

Change "on their website" to say "on our website".

Re:Ads (4, Interesting)

gavriels (55831) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829654)

Actually, they already changed it. I wrote 'here', not 'on their website'.

  -Gav

Re:Ads (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829118)

You sound tense. Why don't you unwind with a cool, delicious Coke(TM)?

Score10 HILARIOUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829345)

that was awesome

Re:Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829414)

You're drinkin the wrong H20!

Re:Ads (1)

bluffcityjk (909895) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829590)

Personally, I prefer Pepsi Blue.

Re:Ads (4, Funny)

mcg1969 (237263) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829650)

Hey kid! Thanks.

Anti-slash.org jihadi posting from IMC! (0, Troll)

la_migra (905024) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829120)

Hi,

I'm posting form the Internet Measurment Conference in Berkeley, CA. I always enjoy posting from large conferences, because it gives me a chance to point out one of the many crimes of slashdot's editors: By me posting this over and over, I will cause the subnet I'm on to be banned, which means that everybody here at this conference will also be banned!

Speaking of the crimes of slashdot's editors, check out anti-slash [anti-slash.org] ! Anti-slash is a community headquarters for fighting against slashdot's editors through the power of trolling and other subversive activities. We encourage everybody to check out our site and learn more about the editor's history of abuse.

In sacred jihad,

jihadi_31337!

Re:Ads (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829148)

Actually if you click on gavriels's name up in the top of the blurb, it links directly to www.transgaming.com

Re:Ads (1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829206)

Which only makes it more ludicrous that he did not write that bit as "on our website." I mean, come on, writing "on their website" makes it seem as if you are not affiliated, but then having your name link directly to "their" site? That's just sloppy!

Re:Ads (3, Funny)

gavriels (55831) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829694)

I didn't write 'on their website', I wrote 'here'. The Slashdot editors made that change.

Re:Ads (5, Funny)

cyberdemo (49375) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829888)

Hey Gavriel, do you still sue people for packaging your software?

Love,

Someone who remembers the feud you had with Debian

Re:Ads (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829168)

Hey, they have to pay the bills too, what with click through rates falling like a rock and all.

Ads only work on newbies, and we're running out. This is the next step.

Suuuuure... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829744)

Like clickthrough rates on Slashdot articles are any higher.

Re:Ads (5, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829183)

Personally, I'd like it if they had their own section. Like there is an Apple section, a Linux section, etc, how about a New Toys section? I mean, I'm all for reading about good new products, therefore I don't think ad posts are defacto bad, but it would be nice to distinguish them as biased towards the manufacturer.

::Braces for the inevitable "What, slashdot biased?" joke::

Re:Ads (3, Interesting)

hardaker (32597) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829336)

How about we call the new section "slashmeat"? And then we can set up a web interface to post to slashdot and freshmeat at the same time! Two birds and all...

Re:Ads (1)

HunterZ (20035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829351)

That's a cool name in terms of mental imagery, but I also like the sound of FreshDot...

Re:Ads (2, Informative)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829262)

If the poster has a vested interest in the content, then why would they want their site to be slashdotted???

Re:Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829266)

Who do I have to blow to get my website featured on Slashdot?

Re:Ads (2, Informative)

bluelip (123578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829685)

I'd say he's very much associated w/ Transgaming. He's even got his own page.

http://www.transgaming.com/gavstates.php [transgaming.com]

Transgaming surely lost my respect w/ this stunt.

The Meat... (5, Informative)

Beren (21815) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829036)

Here's the meat of the article for those who can't be bothered.

  • Vertex Shader 1.1 Support
  • Pixel Shader 1.4 Support
  • DirectX 9.0 class features
  • Faster than Microsoft's reference rasterizer
  • Available for Windows
  • Available for Linux under Cedega

TransGaming's SwiftShader technology provides the world's fastest pure software 3D renderer with DirectX 9.0 class features, according to the company, including support for Pixel and Vertex Shaders. SwiftShader is built to provide the same APIs that developers are already using for their games and applications. This makes it possible to directly integrate SwiftShader into applications without any changes to source code. Direct3D 8 and Direct3D 9 compatible APIs are available immediately, and OpenGL-compatible APIs are also under development. Vertex Shader 1.1 and Pixel Shader 1.4 features are currently supported, along with the majority of features used by most developers when producing 3D games and applications.

SwiftShader can perform over 50 times faster than Microsoft's Direct3D Reference Rasterizer in tests with sample applications, and can rival the performance of low end hardware 3D graphics solutions in some cases. SwiftShader achieves this unprecedented level of performance by dynamically compiling highly optimized code specific to an applications 3D rendering needs.

SwiftShader is currently available for x86 CPUs with Intel's SSE multimedia instruction set extensions. SwiftShader runs on Microsoft Windows 98 and higher, and on Linux through TransGaming's Cedega portability technology.

Re:The Meat... (5, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829178)

What I really want to know is can it use the 3D capabilities of your card while software rendering the things your card doesn't support. This would be the killer app for Linux and Windows.

Re:The Meat... (1)

Valiss (463641) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829372)

This would be the killer app for Linux and Windows.

(empahsis mine)

And with that comment, the product is surely destined to fail.

Re:The Meat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829479)

Problem is, most cards that have 3D support have very slow reads from video memory.

Re:The Meat... (1)

JohnnyBigodes (609498) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829614)

Not as long as they're PCI-Express, which roughly means anything from the past 6 months onwards.

Re:The Meat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829591)

If it can't, writing a wrapper that does it is trivial.

Re:The Meat... (2, Informative)

Creepy (93888) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829655)

I'm guessing no, because I don't think it's possible to do it with any performance. Think of it like this - you have a texture in graphics memory and you want to pixel shade it - you have to copy the texture to main memory, do the pixel shading in software, then recopy the texture back into graphics memory. If you're thinking pixel shade in software and then copy to memory, how do you know you can do that operation first? Bump mapping, for example, shifts the pixels of the texture and if you pixel shade first, you probably will have the wrong pixels shaded.

    The graphics card-memory bandwidth would be constantly in use, which may be a bottleneck (especially on older systems, since you'd be limited to 2-8MB of textures to maintain 30FPS). In addition, the graphics card wouldn't have the texture to work with while it's offloaded, so it would need to either do something else (if anything is available) or idle. You also wouldn't be able to render your scene unless all the textures were back on card, so that's another potential bottleneck (though that may be possible with changes to the hardware drivers).

Re:The Meat... (5, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829682)

You DO know that you just described EXACTALLY what DirectX (DirectDraw/Direct3d) are, don't you? DirectX has a HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) and a HEL (Hardware Emulation Layer). What isn't supported by hardware is SUPPOSED to be done in software (with exceptions of things too slow in software).

Re:The Meat... (1)

b100dian (771163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829879)

You can't - think about it:
- Screenshots (reading video memory, instead of writing) are slower
- Processing occurs inside that video memory. If you handle the "processing intructions" to the card, along with the textures, you wouldn't want to take back part of them just to execute your Host CPU Software procedure.

And more, much more than this: pixel shaders - those are executed at the periphery of the output, wherefrom no one has read before..

Re:The Meat... (2, Informative)

Max_Abernethy (750192) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829280)

"Faster than Microsoft's reference rasterizer" isn't saying a whole lot - even if it's 50 times faster. It's called a reference rasterizer for a reason - it's not meant to actually be used in final products, it's just so you can see everything that DX supports. It's unusably slow.

I honestly don't see the use for a pure software renderer. We have DirectX and OpenGL, which make compatibility with different video cards pretty easy. I don't think there are a lot of video cards out there at this point that don't support VS 1.1 and PS 1.4, and that will be especially true once Vista becomes commonplace and suddenly you need modern graphics hardware just to run your operating system. The intiative over the past several years has been to get graphics off the CPU, so this seems a little backwards to me.

Re:The Meat... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829356)

If you can't get drivers for any modern card for your OS, optimized software rendering starts to sound pretty good.

Re:The Meat... (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829564)

That why you should have bought an Nvidia card rather than that ATI. They work just fine under Linux with frequently updated drivers.

Re:The Meat... (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829835)

Perhap's he's running Linux on a laptop with a crappy S3/Savage chip that has little or no 3D supported in drivers. (I know because I am using one right now)

Re:The Meat... (2, Insightful)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829597)

The intiative over the past several years has been to get graphics off the CPU, so this seems a little backwards to me.

They started this back in 1995, before 3D hardware became commonplace. And they've just now finished it.

I remember the old newsgroup posts where people were using MMX and writing '5 cycle per pixel' texture mappers and such.

Re:The Meat... (1)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829618)

It's called a reference rasterizer for a reason - it's not meant to actually be used in final products, it's just so you can see everything that DX supports. It's unusably slow.

Indeed - I did smile at the '50 times faster' claim.

Devs don't call it the 'Slideshow Renderer' or 'Postcard Renderer' for nothing :-)

It reminds me of a comment Erik made on Old Man Murray years ago:

"The game runs in software, but if that idea appealed to me, I imagine I'd be too busy churning my own butter to play Blair Witch anyway."

Anti-slash.org jihadi posting from IMC (-1, Troll)

la_migra (905024) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829042)

Hi,

I'm posting form the Internet Measurment Conference in Berkeley, CA. I always enjoy posting from large conferences, because it gives me a chance to point out one of the many crimes of slashdot's editors: By me posting this over and over, I will cause the subnet I'm on to be banned, which means that everybody here at this conference will also be banned!

Speaking of the crimes of slashdot's editors, check out anti-slash [anti-slash.org] ! Anti-slash is a community headquarters for fighting against slashdot's editors through the power of trolling and other subversive activities. We encourage everybody to check out our site and learn more about the editor's history of abuse.

In sacred jihad,

jihadi_31337

Re:Anti-slash.org jihadi posting from IMC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829128)

Hi, you have no life, cheers!

Desktop Environments (4, Interesting)

taskforce (866056) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829078)

If this can do what it's boasting it will certainly come in handy for Graphic heavy desktop environments such as the Aero Glass Theme Windows Vista is using. If a Linux GUI (ho ho ho) can provide an experience as rich as Aqua or Aero and base it on this software rendering it could make leaps and bounds on the desktop as more savvy system admins decline to purchase the latest gaming card so they can run Vista.

Obviously I realise that a lot more is needed before desktop Linux taxes off, but if someone could capitalise on this we could have a decent GUI utilised without pissing all over Linux's reputation for not taxing hardware too heavily. (Personally I prefer an understated GUI which uses no resources, but obviously there is a market for eye candy.)

Anti-slash.org jihadi posting from the IMC (0, Troll)

la_migra (905024) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829182)

Hi, I'm posting form the Internet Measurment Conference in Berkeley, CA. I always enjoy posting from large conferences, because it gives me a chance to point out one of the many crimes of slashdot's editors: By me posting this over and over, I will cause the subnet I'm on to be banned, which means that everybody here at this conference will also be banned! Speaking of the crimes of slashdot's editors, check out anti-slash [anti-slash.org] ! Anti-slash is a community headquarters for fighting against slashdot's editors through the power of trolling and other subversive activities. We encourage everybody to check out our site and learn more about the editor's history of abuse. In sacred jihad jihadi_31337

Re:Desktop Environments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829319)

> savvy system admins decline to purchase the latest gaming card so they can run Vista.

Sigh. I wonder how many times we will have to read this bullshit (and even moded up).

(Hint: Vista will run without 3d gfx cards, it will just look less fancy).

I'd mod you down, cause you're plain uneducated troll.

Re:Desktop Environments (5, Insightful)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829516)

A: Admins don't care about Aero Glass, the Windows 2000 UI will do just fine for Vista installs.

B: This is only usefull for runing Aero Glass if the only thing you are running is Aero Glass. Real work will have to take a back seat while this is grinding through the glorious shading of your progress bar.

C: This totally misses the point of what Aero is for. Getting the UI grunt work off of the CPU and onto the video card.

This is a neat trick, and possibly usefull for some very specific purposes such as foolproof DX9.0 rendering in Linux reguardless of the state of device drivers. Hardware review sites could get some milage out of this. Especially when they need to know what a game/benchmark is doing in certain situations and image quality comparisons.

Re:Desktop Environments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829557)

So, are you advocating that we bury the X11 / Athena Widgets, and rebuild a Linux desktop using APIs modelled after DirectX ?

Question... (1)

joemawlma (897746) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829085)

So would something like this make it possible for me to play my MAME rom of 'San Francisco Rush' (jeah)? I cannot use my video card to play it and it runs like crap off software currently.

The Point (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829089)

I realize that I'm just a humble AC, but let me say this: I'm not certain I understand the point here. Casual gamers are exactly that, casual. They're more interested in online play like Java Applets or MIDP Applications for phones than they are in Gee Whiz Bang games that they must install to their computers. So from that perspective, I really don't understand what market TransGaming plans to attack with this new software.

Even if we assume that casual gamers are looking to install games onto their computers, it's hard to say that such gamers wouldn't have at least a basic 3D card to play games on. Even the Intel Integrated Graphics (about as bad as you can get) has decent 3D support. Are the Gee Whiz features of DX9 really all that important to these players?

Re:The Point (4, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829221)

For developers, this can be very useful, particularly if they can get it up to date on the newer pixel and vertex shaders for the simple reason that running your application on the real hardware can nuke your system, and running in the existing microsoft renderer is painfully slow. This could provide a useful compromise.

Re:The Point (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829367)

For developers, this can be very useful, particularly if they can get it up to date on the newer pixel and vertex shaders for the simple reason that running your application on the real hardware can nuke your system

My point is that I don't see DX9 features as being something that casual gamers need or want. Most of the pixel shader stuff is for high quality 3D scenes. Perfect for a First Person Shooter, but an extreme overkill for 3D Space Invaders. (Do we REALLY need aliens with realistic fur that whips in the wind as they make their slow approach toward the ground?)

A game that is targeted at the Casual Gaming Market should aim to meet the expected 3D Card support instead of wasting time on Gee Whiz Bang features that will do little else other than cause complaints about slow performance.

Anti-slash.org jihadi posting from teh IMC (0, Troll)

la_migra (905024) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829229)


Hi,

I'm posting form the Internet Measurment Conference in Berkeley, CA. I always enjoy posting from large conferences, because it gives me a chance to point out one of the many crimes of slashdot's editors: By me posting this over and over, I will cause the subnet I'm on to be banned, which means that everybody here at this conference will also be banned!

Speaking of the crimes of slashdot's editors, check out anti-slash [anti-slash.org] ! Anti-slash is a community headquarters for fighting against slashdot's editors through the power of trolling and other subversive activities. We encourage everybody to check out our site and learn more about the editor's history of abuse.

In teh sacred jihad,

jihadi_31337

Re:The Point (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829240)

One thing this might be able to do is to offer features like pixel and vertex shaders that might be missing from lower-end hardware. It'll probably be useless for playing Quake4, but it might be useful for some applications. Having said this, if they are trying to sell this directly to customers, they will fall flat on their face. People aren't used to paying for drivers (in this case, drivers for virtual hardware). If it's as fast as they say it is, they should try to sell this technology to Microsoft to be integrated into the Direct3D software renderer.

Re:The Point (1)

USSJoin (896766) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829248)

The point is that Transgaming developed this, and it's a DX9 implementation. That means that Linux can now use DX9. This is unbelieveably important, because now, Windows games can be more quickly ported over-- and/or, Cedega can be more effective at just directly running Windows games.

Re:The Point (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829284)

I'm not quite sure what YOUR point is Mr. AC. Someone can be a casual gamer and still LIKE the new ultra-gore-supercomputer-requiring-behemoth games that come out. Plus, seems like just another step towards having more kickass games for linux which EVERYONE wants. EVERYONE.

Re:The Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829863)

Someone can be a casual gamer and still LIKE the new ultra-gore-supercomputer-requiring-behemoth games that come out.

I think you misunderstand the definition of a "Casual Gamer".

Hint: Someone who plays Quake 3 "every once in a while" is not what is meant by "casual gamer".

The "Casual Gamer" of your defintion would NEED a 3D card, because software rendering won't keep up.

The market defines "Casual Gamers" as people who like to play simple, not too involved games on occasion. i.e. Someone who plays Solitare to pass the time is a "Casual Gamer". Someone who plays Half Life 2 is not. It's a bit like comparing the guy who has a 12" TV to listen to the news to the guy who has a home entertainment system to watch the latest DVDs. The guy listening to the news doesn't need a Dolby Surround Sound upgrade to his 12" TV. He just wants to listen to the news.

Re:The Point (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829376)

Uh... so in your world the difference between a casual golfer and a pga tour pro is that the casual golfers primarily play miniature golf and pitch-n-putt?

Hate to break it to you, but casual golfers play on the same courses the hardcore pro's do, just not as often, nor as well.

Ditto gamers. A casual gamer is just as likely to want to play the latest gpu taxing game on the shelf. They probably didn't preorder it, they probably don't play it 15 hours straight, they probably aren't in an online clan dedicated to it... but they *do* want it to run a hell of a lot better than 15fps.

 

Re:The Point (1)

Deathbane27 (884594) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829456)

Even the Intel Integrated Graphics (about as bad as you can get) has decent 3D support.

But no shader support.

My brother recently bought Battlefield Vietnam, thinking he could play it on his $500 Dell Dimension 42something. Of course, it wouldn't run. We had to go spend $40 on a PCI GeForce FX-5200 so he could play it. And the framerate on some other games was actually slightly WORSE than with the integrated chipset.

If this had been available at the time, we could have saved the price difference for probably better results.

Of course, I'm assuming it would be cheaper than $40, or perhaps come bundled with low-end computers with no AGP/PCIEx16 slots.

Re:The Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829489)

Its an interesting question concerning the need for this ability in software-only rendering. But one note on what a "casual" gamer is...

I'm a Linux enthusiast and a casual gamer. I consider myself "casual" because I tend to go with one or two games that are favorites and stick to them for some time (sometimes for a LONG time if they're particularly good :) ). I don't rush out for all the newest titles as soon as they hit the shelves. If gaming was more of a deal for me, I'd probably have a windows partition handy (I used to way back when I first started using Linux on my desktop)... or I'd simply ditch PC gaming for a console.

But I do play games. I'm partial to ones that are Linux native (NWN, UT2004, Q3, ET, AA). But there are times when I'm willing to jump through hoops to get a Windows game working... I have a Transgaming membership and use Cedega to run WoW.

Fast Software 3D Rendering (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829092)

Formerly known as slow rendering.

WTF (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829103)

Is Gavriel some kind of fag? Just look at the Queer Fucker. (No pun intended)

LOL, GamaSutra doesn't seem to realize that... (5, Informative)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829108)

...saying that it performs up to 50 times better than the Microsoft Reference Rasterizer you're actually calling it slooooow. The REF driver exists with absolutely ZERO optimizations explicitly for the purpose of discerning if a problem is in your code or is in the video card's device driver. Maybe they're confused about the old RAMP and RGB devices you could use to render in software. 50 times faster than REF is pathetic to be honest.

Re:LOL, GamaSutra doesn't seem to realize that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829417)

True. 50 times the fillrate of the DX reference rasterizer isn't helpful for any real rendering work. They need at least one more factor of 10 before the technology becomes viable.

Just remember .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829119)

Just remember that there are no miracles. If it's ultra-fast
and all, then it is either in fact a kick-ass uber-optimized
code, which is totally cool, or it is fast in _some_ cases
and it's still needs 'improvements'.

I may sound like an ass, but there ARE no miracles. Not in
computer graphics at least. Not since Bresenham and Doom :)

Please prove me wrong.

Next up... (2, Funny)

Enahs (1606) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829126)

...an uber ultra-fast fixed-point math library!

oxymoron: look it up... (-1, Flamebait)

CynicalGuy (866115) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829138)

ultra-fast software-only 3D renderer

holy fuck you people are dumb.

Missing from the FAQs.. (4, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829139)

I'm sure that creating this engine was an interesting challenge .. but .. why? 2D only graphics cards don't really exist anymore. It doesn't exist for non-PC platforms so it doesn't really aid portability (though they say in the FAQs it could if someone wrote a "SwiftASM" thing for the target CPU) either.

Is it just a fun toy? Or have I missed something?

Missing from the FAQs..Complaints. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829251)

The latest Enlightenment is suppose to have a fast "software only" mode. I guess no one sees the point their either.

Re:Missing from the FAQs.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829276)


  I'm sure that creating this engine was an interesting challenge .. but .. why? 2D only graphics cards don't really exist anymore. It doesn't exist for non-PC platforms so it doesn't really aid portability (though they say in the FAQs it could if someone wrote a "SwiftASM" thing for the target CPU) either.


Many laptops have 3D cards that are 3D in name mostly. They check the box by having _some_ 3D support, but missing some extension which is needed to actually run what you want.

You can't swap out the video card on the laptop.

This could be the niche.

helping OS drivers ... (1)

aposch (450938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829611)

Open source drivers like nv (NVidia) are 2D only. With this toy you get at least some 3D-functions with such drivers.

Good but limited... (4, Insightful)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829155)

Sure, it *may* be faster than other software rendering solutions, but it still only approaches (that's such a broad term) the performance of low-end cards: "can rival the performance of low end hardware 3D graphics solutions in some cases." Sounds pretty iffy to me. It'll be good in some cases; however, as it is, I doubt it will replace dedicated hardware cards for many people (it's not like low-end cards are very expensive. You can find decent (albeit older) graphics cards for under $20.

I'm not saying this technology isn't useful, it just has limited application in its current state.

Re:Good but limited... (1)

ponds (728911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829209)

A one-winged fly is a spin

Pixomatic (4, Insightful)

Acy James Stapp (1005) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829190)

This looks like it is meant to compete with Pixomatic from RAD Game Tools. ( http://www.radgametools.com/default.htm [radgametools.com] ) Perhaps it's cheaper or faster, but pixomatic is not overly pricy and I trust Mike Abrash *now at RAD) has a little bit of experience writing fast renderers :)

Load balancing? (2, Interesting)

iammaxus (683241) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829220)

Can it split the rendering load between your GPU and your CPU if your GPU is capable of some of these features? I couldn't find an answer on their website.

Re:Load balancing? (3, Informative)

Musc (10581) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829783)

No. They don't make use of the GPU at all. That, in fact, is the whole point: a software only renderer.

firs7 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829222)

the f8uitless moronic, dilettante

possible deathknell for lowend non-integrated gfx (4, Interesting)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829237)

Believe it or not, but integrated graphics hold the lion's share of the PC graphics market. Nvidia and Ati are both pretty far behind Intel in terms of install base. This could be very bad for the other vendors: the main reason for the popularity of integrated graphics is cost - Intel itself only holds about a $5 premium on gfx-enabled chipsets over discrete chipsets.

What happens when Microsoft licenses this tech and integrates it into Windows? Suddenly, all anyone needs is a RAMDAC to output framebuffer to VGA, so Intel doesn't need to develop GPUs anymore, and overnight gets a massive performance boost and full DX9 support....

Re:possible deathknell for lowend non-integrated g (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829469)

No. Not unless you have an uber processor capable of running your game code and all the 3D bits at the same time with decent performance. Current systems when using software rendering are considerably slower than even a crap integrated graphics chipset. Thats not even with any shaders so don't think this would speed anything up.

What this technology could help with is for people with older 3D accelerator cards which don't support the latest whizbang features or for usage under Linux/whatever where you don't know how to access the accelerator features due to lack of docs. Performance under both cases wouldn't be amazing but it'd be better than nothing.

Re:possible deathknell for lowend non-integrated g (2, Insightful)

dominator (61418) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829691)

What you're suggesting is that Microsoft might license tech from a company whose main product is a re-implemenation of the Microsoft Windows SDK for *NIX. If this happens, I'll either eat my hat or die of laughter. Oh the irony.

Re:possible deathknell for lowend non-integrated g (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829870)

"Suddenly, all anyone needs is a RAMDAC to output framebuffer to VGA"

I've been wanting to write an article or blog about that for a while now. With DVI digital you don't even need a DAC, just a bit of hardware to transfer data from RAM to the DVI connector with the right timing. Even better for Intel/AMD is that this provides an excellent use for dual cores. Most software won't use a second core, but you could use it as a GPU substitute by writing something like this. Dual cores for lower cost systems ;-)

Hopefully... (1)

rookworm (822550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829265)

This will allow mixed redering, so that the old 3d card in a given system can do most of the work, and this will just render the things that require modern features. That would be quite useful.

In other news... (4, Funny)

TMonks (866428) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829271)

Earlier this afternoon, the CEO of TransGaming was found on his office floor with two broken knees. Witnesses observed a pickup truck with the word "nVidia" printed on the side leaving the scene.

This gives me a brilliant idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829289)

You could accelerate 3D rendering, but using hardware! I know it sounds crazy, but it just might work. Who do I call to get my idea patented?

So, how about some numbers? (2, Interesting)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829302)

Anyone have time to, say, download this driver and fire up UT2004 or somesuch and test the framerate using software rendering vs their 3d card (with all other settings being equal)? Of course, this wouldn't be particularly scientific, but it would at least give some idea about how well this thing performs and whether it's useful.

Re:So, how about some numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829373)

I tried it on my Mac. Things seemed much snappier.

Spending my money.... (1)

pl1ght (836951) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829306)

IS this what they have been doing with my MONEY for Cedega???? Instead of releasing updates?? There hasnt been a cedega update (besides for a guild wars hotfix) in fricking 2 months!!

Swiftshader in hardware? (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829418)

If this is an optimization, is there any chance of using some of the Swiftshader code to optimize hardware renderers?

What I want to know... (2, Interesting)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829485)

...is what demogroup they were before they went commercial, because that's the only crowd I can see with the drive and desire to create something like this. One of my group's coders still gets a stiffy for software rendering, and I know he's not the only demoscener that does.

Great, I suppose (2, Informative)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829556)

The site is /.'d, so I can't rtfa.

Swiftshader is based on the sw-shader project, which produced very good quality output very quickly using SoftWire to compile the rasterizers. A lot of other software 3D implementations only optimize the most common cases and fall back on very slow, general purpose rasterizers to do the rest, often using giant switch statements or function pointers in their innermost loops to handle the countless combinations of blending, lighting, and raster options available. Even precompiling them all with a generator script or clever use of macros is infeasable due to the number of combinations, and just one of those will slow any 3D rendering to a crawl, which is the problem that sw-shader solved, by optimizing all cases.

What's good is that the project is once again under active development, and it's no longer windows-only. The downside is that it's gone commercial. With so few contributors other than the original author, that sort of thing can happen to an OSS project. He put a lot of hard work into it though, writing a substantially complete DirectX 9 replacement based on his library. Transgaming actually had to purchase two projects for this, because sw-shader depends on SoftWire.

Re:Great, I suppose (1)

Yaotzin (827566) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829834)

The site is /.'d, so I can't rtfa.
Here's a mirror of the links:
Gamasutra [mirrordot.org] TransGaming [mirrordot.org]

SwiftShader code originates from... (4, Informative)

jjl (514061) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829608)

SwiftShader code seems to be directly based on SoftWire [sourceforge.net] and swShader [sourceforge.net] , which used to be both SourceForge projects.

Holy crapsicle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13829629)

With my new Quad Xeon 3.6 GHz, this enables me to play solitaire at a staggering 30fps, with only minor drops! Great! ;)

what affect does this have... (1)

steak (145650) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829640)

on fps in WoW or CS:S while in linux land?

Bottleneck (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829743)

Games that require advanced shading tend to be CPU bound. If the CPU is your bottleneck, what good is it to give the CPU more work?

Faster than... (2, Funny)

Mingco (883841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13829816)

Claiming that it's 50 times faster than some other software renderer is like claiming your racecar is 50 times faster than any other racecar that has no wheels.

What's the point?
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