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Carmack Speaks On Ray Tracing, Future id Engines

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the how-can-you-not-listen-to-the-carmack dept.

Graphics 256

Vigile writes "As a matter of principle, when legendary game programmer John Carmack speaks, the entire industry listens. In a recent interview he comments on a multitude of topics starting with information about Intel, their ray tracing research and upcoming Larrabee GPU. Carmack seems to think that Intel's direction using traditional ray tracing methods is not going to work and instead theorizes that using ray casting to traverse a new data structure he is developing is the best course of action. The 'sparse voxel octree' that Carmack discusses would allow for 'unique geometry down to the equivalent of the texel across everything.' He goes on to discuss other topics like the hardware necessary to efficiently process his new data structure, translation to consoles, multi-GPU PC gaming and even the world of hardware physics."

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There is a great disturbance in the source... (5, Funny)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732056)

It as if hundreds of ray tracing fanboys cried out at once, and were silenced.

Re:There is a great disturbance in the source... (5, Interesting)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732082)

Ray Tracing has a place. New high speed FPS games are not it.

Re:There is a great disturbance in the source... (2, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732274)

It's the most realistic possible way of rendering, so when computers get fast enough we'll be able to everything with ray tracing. But effects past simple polygon rendering and water refraction are extremely difficult in ray-tracing.. not necessarily to program, but to simulate in real-time.

Re:There is a great disturbance in the source... (5, Informative)

luther2.1k (61950) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732634)

Bog standard ray tracing, which is what intel are harping on about at the moment isn't the be all and end all of global illumination algorithms, as many people who get all misty eyed about the technique would have you believe. It's terrible for diffuse interactions for one thing. Photon mapping [wikipedia.org] is a more realistic technique which simulates light more accurately.

Tim.

Re:There is a great disturbance in the source... (1, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732888)

Ray tracing is the most realistic possible method for rendering. You can "trace rays" in different ways though; photon mapping is just one technique involved.

Re:There is a great disturbance in the source... (4, Informative)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733042)

"Ray tracing" traditionally means specifically tracing rays from the eye out into the scene. Other methods are usually referred to by different names.

And even so, while tracing either photons or eye rays may be the most feasible method at the moment, it is by no mean the only way to solve the rendering equation, nor any kind of theoretical best.

Re:There is a great disturbance in the source... (3, Informative)

Doogie5526 (737968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732944)

It's the most realistic possible way of rendering
It only provides realistic rendering of reflections, refractions, and shadows. There are still many more properties of light that take different, also intensive algorithms reproduce like; color bleeding, caustics, sub-surface scattering, depth of field.

I'm sure there's some market for these things, but there's so much more involved even after these algorithms are implemented. Now you have to add settings (or additional texture maps), for each object (or light). As soon add something with live reflections, you can't even throw away what's not on screen (or facing away from camera). So your memory requirements jump just because of that. There's many things that have to come in to place for these technologies are adopted widely. A lot of these algorithms have been around for over 25 years already and are just seeing wide adoption in feature films (most would be surprised at how much is faked, even today).

I hope there's a class of games that don't use these things or take 1 or 2 of these things and use them in innovative ways. While I like the WW2 (or futuristic) FPS games, I feel all that dev time is better spent on innovative game play.

Sorry that the brief reply I planned turned in to a rant.

Re:There is a great disturbance in the source... (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733180)

I feel all that dev time is better spent on innovative game play.

Innovation does not require much dev time, it requires one bright mind to come up with a good idea and many managers that won't mind spending money on an unproven concept.

Re:There is a great disturbance in the source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22733242)

Screw ray tracing. The most realistic way to render something would be to start with the standard model and work from there. So as soon as computers can simulate the universe faster then it can execute itself, we'll see FPSs migrate over to that. I'm sure you can imagine for yourself the huge impact on game play we'll see once designers can incorporate wave-particle duality and quantum effects. Oh man it's gonna be sweet, bro!

Re:There is a great disturbance in the source... (4, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733244)

It's the most realistic possible way of rendering, so when computers get fast enough we'll be able to everything with ray tracing.

When that happens, will it also become possible to wield a flashlight and a shotgun at the same time? Or is there some kind of fundamental law against that, like how you can't know the position and velocity of a particle at the same time?

Cock Addict Anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732346)

Seeing that it is impossible to get out of the (Score: -1) bottom of the barrel, I have this to say about ray-tracing: SHIT-COCK(*)!!

(*)shit-cock is cmdrtaco's favorite flavor

Re:There is a great disturbance in the source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732774)

There's more truth in that than you'd think. As a raytracing "fanboy" (wrote several of these [acm.org] ), I find comments to stories like this almost unbearable to read.

Everyone seems to think they are an expert on the subject yet there's cluelessness on so many different levels that I can't even dream of correcting all that bullshit. So I'll just shut up.

Great Men Theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732070)

Is validated.

How about.... (0, Flamebait)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732074)

Game developers just focus on making games that don't suck?

Re:How about.... (4, Insightful)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732276)

Because he is more of an engine/renderer designer than game developer.

Its his job, and im pretty sure his passion to think about stuff like this.

Re:How about.... (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733146)

I wasn't refering to him specifically.

Because (1)

TooMad (967091) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732976)

We are too busy making them look pretty. It is the same game as last year the gameplay is the same if not worse and you might if you are lucky have the same number of weapons. The only thing we added were polygons. But who cares? The previews in whatever mag/site you read looked pretty. Sometimes we might blind you with fancy things like branching stories. But, that is usually just black and white decisions like 'Burn Kittens' or save them. If you want a good game go for an indie game once in a while. We don't get to use pretty graphics as a cruch that way and might actually have to keep your attention with a game that is fun.

So, (-1, Flamebait)

Warll (1211492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732094)

"when legendary game programmer John Carmack speaks," Why have I never heard of him?

Re:So, (5, Funny)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732140)


Don't feel bad, he has probably never heard of you either.

Re:So, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732158)

He is as legendery as game programmers get. I guess that there are some people that wouldn't know a "legendary game programmer" but it is usually those that hang out in cool places, not /.

Re:So, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732382)

Don't worry about it. I don't think I've ever played one of his legendary games of legend. People on slashdot act as if he's Miyamoto. He's not.

Re:So, (0, Flamebait)

Warll (1211492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732450)

Yeah that's the trap I seem to have fallen into. When I hear someone talking about legendary Game Dev/Programmer I think of Sid Meier, Will Wright and Gabe Newell.

Re:So, (4, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732558)

John Carmack == Commander Keen == id Software == Doom = Wolfenstein == Quake == ??

You've never heard of any of those? the guys you mention might not even be in gaming if it weren't for Carmack and John Romero.

Re:So, (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732700)

Oh jeez, you just had to say the other J-word, didn't you? Do we have enough hairspray on hand in case he shows up?

Re:So, (1)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732738)

There is no need to. He drives a tanker everywhere for a reason.

Re:So, (5, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732764)

Funny. It's just freaking amazing that someone would even stoop so low as to mention Gabe Newell and not know Carmack. Hell, the original Half-Life is written on the Quake engine written by Carmack.

Re:So, (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732728)

And this is "John Romero's about to make you his bitch!" John Romero!

Re:So, (1, Flamebait)

Warll (1211492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732742)

Sid Meier's first game came out eight years before Commander Keen, somehow I doubt this John was his influence. Some goes for Will Wright(6 years). Gabe Newell may have very well been influenced by John. Now if John Carmack is as legendary as /. is making him out to be, why isn't it John Carmack's Quake/Doom?

Re:So, (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732916)

I don't know... maybe he didn't feel the need to slap his name on the game just to get recognition? Your guess is as good as mine. But to completely skip over him from Sid/Will straight to Gabe is kind of obtuse.

Even then that's a silly arguments. How many "Gabe Newell's Half-Life" or "Will Wright's Sim City" games do you know of? The only two people I'm aware of at this moment arrogant enough to label their games with their name are Sid and Richard Garriott (and we know how well that one went.)

Re:So, (1)

Warll (1211492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733036)

I have a hard time including people on lists of people who come to mind when I've never heard of them. To answer my first question, I have since Wiki'd the topic, I never knew about him because I'm not an old school gamer. As per the Wikipedia article he does sound like a great guy and game dev, perhaps I will need to play some of his games soon.

Re:So, (2, Informative)

Winckle (870180) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733284)

Interestingly, at least with American McGee, he gave an interview with GFW podcast, where he said that it was the publisher who wanted to put his name on the box, to create brand recognition, not the other way around.

Re:So, (5, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733046)

Now if John Carmack is as legendary as /. is making him out to be, why isn't it John Carmack's Quake/Doom?

George Washington is pretty legendary, but we don't have a George Washington's America, do we? The name is irrelevant. How could the guy who basically invented the First Person Shooter not be legendary? When it first came out, the original Wolfenstein was the most highly optimized game I'd ever played. I still remember thinking it wouldn't run on my slow-ass computer, and being blown away when it ran fast as can be.

Re:So, (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733074)

Wait so the fact that you can name 2 people who have games that pre-date John's means he's not legendary? He's the father of 3D/FPS gaming as we know it. He's every bit as legendary as Sid or Will. He's done as much if not more for 3D gaming as they have for their genre.

Re:So, (1)

Warll (1211492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733166)

I never said he wasn't, I asked why I had never heard of him.

Re:So, (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733250)

That's hard to answer. If you read much gaming news in the mid to late 90's or early 2000's it would be almost impossible to not hear about him. Lately he's gotten a lot less press it seems... at least when compared to people like Will Wright. Probably because id hasn't made a game worth a damn in the past few years.

Re:So, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732926)

To nitpick: of the three mentioned by GP, only Newell started making games after Carmack. Meier and Wright already had their own game studios by the time Carmack got involved in game development.

Re:So, (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732950)

Your right, I was referencing mainly Newell. The other two were unfortunate inclusions.

Re:So, (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733170)

I'd venture that a poll of the gaming public would only put Sid Meier higher on the list of recognizable names, and only because he slaps his name all over everything because he thinks he's cooler than all the people who really make his games. And of the remaining two, neither is nearly as directly responsible for the advancement of the field as is Carmack. Heck, Gabe got his start by building Halflife:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-Life [wikipedia.org]

Half-Life is a science fiction first-person shooter computer game developed by Valve Software, first released by Sierra Studios on November 19, 1998. Designed for PCs running Microsoft Windows,[1] the game uses a heavily modified version of the Quake engine, called GoldSrc.[4]

voxel? texel? But I want a pony! (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732096)

This just came through the time vortex, dated 3 weeks from yesterday:

Voxel? Texel? Just make my pink pony look nice and pretty.

OMG Ponies! (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732202)

OMG Ponies!! [sparetimegroup.net]

I enjoyed the progression of graphics pictures (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732114)

Although I like the article also, I enjoyed seeing the progression of games graphics pictures from 1994 to 2007. That final picture from the game "John Carmack" released in 2007 looks so real it's almost like a photograph!

Right... (1, Insightful)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732120)

Lest we overlook the fact that he thought multiplicative lighting was the way to go, rather than dealing with the performance hit of additive lighting in Quake 3. Sometimes the fastest way is not always the best way. Or at least the only best way.

Re:Right... (5, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732536)

Yeah!

Plusses:
  • One of the primary fathers of the FPS genre.
  • Wolfenstien 3D
  • Doom
  • Quake 1
  • Quake 2
  • Quake 3
  • Endless articles and commentary on the field
  • A shitload of stuff I'm forgetting
Minusses:
  • "Thought multiplicative lighting was the way to go, rather than dealing with the performance hit of additive lighting in Quake 3."
Conclusion: Carmack sucks!

I mean, seriously, what's your point? The man's not actually a God so we shouldn't listen to him? Is there somebody more experienced I should prefer to listen to? Is "n3tcat" the handle for somebody with thirty years experience in first-person shooter engines or something?

Uhhhh... (3, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732638)

What do you mean he's not God? Isn't that heresy? (Or was that written by someone else?)

Re:Right... (3, Funny)

jaguth (1067484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733072)

The Church of Carmack condemns your post, a profuse apology and confession is now your only hope to salvation. Belief in ray casting will put you down the road to truth and righteousness! But seriously, Carmack created the FPS genre and is still a leader, which makes him one of the most experienced in his field, so, you know, that kind of helps in creating a "god-like" status, or if your still skeptical, a "mini-god" status. okay, how is "almost-god" sound? At least put the word "God" and "Carmack" in the same sentence somewhere, preferably next to each other...

Re:Right... (4, Interesting)

DeltaSigma (583342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732964)

I doubt any mod team was hit harder by that fact than mine. Yet, I can't fault him for the decision. It's unlikely anyone on my team did/does. By supporting almost every hardware graphics accelerator on the market at the time, Quake 3 almost single-handedly fostered the feedback loop that drove mainstream adoption of dedicated graphics accelerators.

You sound like someone that's had the same thought every serious modder/engine-licensee has ever had; "if they could have just included/modified this ONE feature, my game would be feasible/better."

Yet you haven't encountered that phrase enough times to appreciate the fact that engine developers have to draw a performance line somewhere. Your desired feature just happened to be on the wrong side of that line.

Further, engine-developers of John Carmack's caliber would (I promise you this) love to have supported every feature you've ever thought of (and more). John Carmack's always been on the cutting edge, usually refining it. He sometimes makes decisions that are a matter of taste that you can feel free to disagree with him on, but that particular feature wasn't one of them.

Stunning! (1, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732124)

Carmack seems to think that Intel's direction using traditional ray tracing methods is not going to work and instead theorizes that using ray casting to traverse a new data structure he is developing is the best course of action.


Surprisingly, a developer things that the technique he is working on is better than other techniques to address the class of problems to which the technique applies.

In other news, a substantial quantity of water was discovered in the Pacific Ocean.

Re:Stunning! (5, Insightful)

Bob of Dole (453013) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732196)

A developer who coded the engines that nearly all PC first person shooters have run on. That's obviously not enough to accept his words without hesitation, but obviously the person knows more about high-performance 3D rendering than a random coder like myself.

Re:Stunning! (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732278)

A developer who coded the engines that nearly all PC first person shooters have run on. That's obviously not enough to accept his words without hesitation, but obviously the person knows more about high-performance 3D rendering than a random coder like myself.

I try not to accept anybody's words without hesitation. Carmack is probably the best-known FPS coder ever, but "best-known" doesn't necessarily mean best.

Re:Stunning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22733190)

Talk about being on someone's cock. Dude, he wrote some nice engines that were used, at best, on a handful of PC games. Not even a "lot" of them and certainly not most of them. If that is what you think, you should try playing beyond the Dooms and Quakes.

Re:Stunning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732242)

In yet other news, a developer can thing. Amazing.

Re:Stunning! (4, Insightful)

Falesh (1000255) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732302)

Why not analyse his argument and judge it on it's merits rather then throw it out simply because he is working on an idea of his own?

Re:Stunning! (5, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732690)

Why not analyse his argument and judge it on it's merits rather then throw it out simply because he is working on an idea of his own?


Commenting on the fact that it is unsurprising that someone working on a different technique favors that technique over raytracing is not throwing anything out.

Its not a comment either way on the merits.

Were I to comment on the merits, I would point out that his position is both fairly obviously correct (in that sparse voxel octrees or something quite like them is almost beyond question the key to raytracing that's useful for reasonable quality in realtime), and entirely incorrect in his characterization of what everyone else is pushing: he pretends that "everyone" is pushing the most naive, brute force approach to raytracing, in which you don't use any kind of bounding volume structure and just do intersection tests against triangles. I've seen literally no recommendations that do that: almost all involve some form of bounding volume heirarchy, and sparse voxel octrees are just one instance of that (perhaps a fairly ideal one, and that's great). (Also, raytracing isn't limited to triangles, although most performance comparisons of raytracing to raster-based rendering methods use models constructed from triangles because it allows you to compare same-model performance of the different mechanisms; raytracing engines, however, don't generally need to decomposed curved objects into triangle-based approximations to render them in the first place, although this can sometimes be more efficient.)

TFS further misleads by suggesting that Carmack is proposing an alternative to raytracing, when really what he is proposing is a particular approach to raytracing, and, particularly, a particular approach in one well-known problem area in raytracing to which there are currently a whole array of approaches. And his focus on what he wants to get out of raytracing is a little different. But, essentially, his piece, while there are some potentially good criticisms on some particular aspects of and arguments for Intel's specific approach to raytrace, is in accord with (not opposed to) the general idea that raytracing techniques are going to be increasingly important in gaming.

Is that enough "on the merits" for you?

Re:Stunning! (1, Flamebait)

santiagodraco (1254708) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733112)

What you really mean to say is that your original comment was meant to be dismissive, probably due to your hating the fact that someone other than you is considered a primary expert on a subject. Your second comment is you realizing you were called out, appropriately, and need to reply in some way that will backup that you were being dismissive originally (although you claim you weren't). You realized that to do so you had to at least provide some cut and paste arguments to reinforce your dismissive attitude. Of course you don't come right out and say whether John's approach is better or not, you just try to "imply" it's not without really taking a stance.

An Irrelevant Hack (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732316)

It is amusing to see there are still enough 'Carmack fanboys' out there to actually get a story on Slashdot.

The guy was considered an relic of the late 90s pc fps era years ago. Now days he just isn't even worth talking about. He really should have moved on to something else years ago as game development has left behind.

Although it is hilarious to watch him still have that Snake Oil Salesmen touch he use to have years ago getting his fanboys all a flutter with his spiel about 'megatextures' LOL.

Carmack moved from relic to joke amongst game engineers when he publicly cried about not being able to handle modern console graphics hardware. There are amazingly smart game and graphics engineers out there. Carmack is not one of them. Time to move on.

Re:An Irrelevant Hack (2, Informative)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732430)

The guy was considered an relic of the late 90s pc fps era years ago.
Late 90s? So you're saying the Quake3 engine wasn't highly impressive? Why was it so succesful then? Why was it used by so many games until shortly before that HL2/Doom3 year?
Note I'm not arguing for the Doom3 engine...

Re:An Irrelevant Hack (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732876)

There are amazingly smart game and graphics engineers out there. Carmack is not one of them.

I find it instructive that you aren't willing to log in to make this statement. I'm not calling him the best at any particular thing (cause I just don't know), but he certainly qualifies as amazingly smart.

Re:Stunning! (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732366)

Of course he does, otherwise he probably wouldn't be investing his time into the concept. This is news specifically because he holds so much weight in his field.

Re:Stunning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22733060)

"Surprisingly, a developer things that the technique he is working on is better than other techniques to address the class of problems to which the technique applies." - by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday March 12, @04:12PM (#22732124)
In THIS man's case (John Carmack, of IDSoftware)? Don't count HIM out, ever... E.G.-> CARMACK'S REVERSE - look it up, & be amazed: The man's VERY capable of "break through" stuff, by ALL means, & that's only 1 evidence thereof (not just his gaming engines, but also algorithmic design).

APK

Anyone betting on if Ray Tracing will give id.... (3, Funny)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732182)

...*MORE SHADES OF BLACK*??!!

Re:Anyone betting on if Ray Tracing will give id.. (2, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732614)

surely you mean brown...

Re:Anyone betting on if Ray Tracing will give id.. (3, Funny)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733052)

In 1996, Quake set the fashion for brown shooters. In 2004, for Doom 3, black was the new brown.

Re:Anyone betting on if Ray Tracing will give id.. (3, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732710)

It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.

Whatever, Just Let RAGE Not Suck... (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732224)

Doom 3 was horribly boring, despite looking pretty.

Why not go back sometime and do Quake the way it was meant to be done? I'd love to see those Lovecraftian references fleshed out properly, along with gameplay mechanics that aren't just a "running short on development time, do it like DooM!" type of scenario.

RAGE might very well be great, if it does truly end up being the open-world game version of Mad Max. After what happened with Doom 3 and Quake IV (not quite Id's fault) however, I'm going to have to be won over. No more assuming greatness with Id games!

Re:Whatever, Just Let RAGE Not Suck... (3, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732688)

Redo quake? Why?

I guess you haven't seen ezquake (best obtained in the nquake package). A faster, more frantic FPS game you will not find. It's also been substantially improved graphically, so there are many more colours about the place.

Any reworking of quake 1 would be badly received by the old school (by this I mean most people who still play it). New people wouldn't see the need, since most of them have grown up on a different fps style. Why revisit quake 1?

Personally I love the game, and play it often. If I have one criticism its that most of the servers are populated by people who are so good at the game, after playing for so long, that just living long enough to pick up a gun and kill someone can be a real challenge.

Re:Whatever, Just Let RAGE Not Suck... (1)

miscz (888242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732786)

Hey, I liked Quake 4. It was nothing revolutionary but quite fun. Compare it to Bioshock and you realize that Quake 4 didn't get 10/10 reviews just because it wasn't insanely overhyped and reviews weren't paid for.

Re:Whatever, Just Let RAGE Not Suck... (1)

WhodoVoodoo (319477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732908)

I agree. Quake 4 was a solid game.

Re:Whatever, Just Let RAGE Not Suck... (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732882)

DOOM 3 was really a demo of their new game engine. I don't see anything wrong with building a game platform and then selling it to other companies who want to do creative work.

Re:Whatever, Just Let RAGE Not Suck... (1)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732886)

I'm sick of the "modern" FPS. HL2, Bioshock, never finished em'. I liked Doom3 better, but I won't rave about it.

It just seems these days you have incredible graphics and the inevitable linear progression up to "the Boss."

Further, things really never get any more challenging. I never feel like I need to take my gameplaying skill and reflexes to the next level, as I have grown up doing with simpler games. I'm just shooing more zombies.

I don't get any sense of immersion. Maybe they throw in some token power and equipment variety, that's it. These games feel like a mediocre scifi movie where I get to click my mouse button.

I enjoyed Doom 3 because it was intense and challenging at points. And the big fat shiny story did not have "twists and turns" as to be some poorly conceived distraction. It was closer to the pure arcade sweat it out experience.

I want my games to be difficult and intense (Quake-3 Multilayer) or more interactive with true freedom and quality RPG elements (STALKER). Just don't give me something with state of the art graphics that pretends to be both.

I just hope ID can deliver with RAGE. I like the setting, and I think the FPS market is ripe for something that truly provides old school RPG freedom. Oblivion and STALKER came very close.

Re:Whatever, Just Let RAGE Not Suck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22733108)

I'm sick of the "modern" FPS. HL2, Bioshock, never finished em'. I liked Doom3 better, but I won't rave about it.
It just seems these days you have incredible graphics and the inevitable linear progression up to "the Boss."
Have you tried S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl [wikipedia.org] ? The game has a strong atmosphere and somewhat open gameplay over a large map. You can play the game a number of different ways (For example, one of the endings is influenced by how you played the game: whether you have a good/bad reputation, a lot of money, etc). I've finished the game twice so far and I'm still discovering new things.

The sequel, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky [wikipedia.org] is going to be even more open ended letting you join and control one of eight factions.

Re:Whatever, Just Let RAGE Not Suck... (1)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733200)

Of course! Read the rest of my post ;-) STALKER is my favorite game in the past few years.

How does it play with Physics? (4, Interesting)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732254)

My biggest concern with where he is going with this is that it does not sound like it will play very nice with physics. In page two he makes some comments on how characters and other animated elements will still likely be done with more traditional methods and then mixed with this for the static objects like the world.

The problem with this is that we are moving more and more towards interactive environments where everything from the ground to the flowerpots are breakable, bendable or movable. It doesn't sound like this new system will play very nice with physics intensive or highly interactive environments. Now, i could be completely wrong. He doesn't address the point directly. But it is still a point for concern.

Re:How does it play with Physics? (2, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732454)

The problem with this is that we are moving more and more towards interactive environments where everything from the ground to the flowerpots are breakable, bendable or movable. It doesn't sound like this new system will play very nice with physics intensive or highly interactive environments. Now, i could be completely wrong. He doesn't address the point directly. But it is still a point for concern.
I agree completely. When Carmack can implement even a low-polygon all-things-dynamic wonder like Katamari Damashii using his quartile duplex hectotree algorithm, I'll be impressed. The time of precompiling 99% of the game into a static optimized traversal graph is over. Now you've got a bag of loose models (many of which morph), the sum of which fills the screen.

Re:How does it play with Physics? (4, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732776)

Yea. Because interactivity trumps photorealism for every single possible type of game. Oh wait, that's false.

You sound like the people who said that StarCraft was crap because sprites were outdated junk and every good game (like Total Annihilation) had already moved to 3D. Different engineers will make different design choices for different applications, and there is no total order of correctness among a single class of design choice.

Re:How does it play with Physics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22733286)

Not to mention that at the time, Total Annihilation was running on 2D backgrounds with an alpha channel for height. The physics engine and the graphics engine were pretty much totally disconnected.

Re:How does it play with Physics? (5, Insightful)

ghostlibrary (450718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732626)

Having developed octtree voxel methods for astrophysics sims (crashing galaxies into one another), I suggest they are ideal for physics. The idea of a tree is you group things to maintain a certain amount of accuracy. For example, if you have 3 items interacting just with gravity:

A (longdistancetypedheretoavoidlamenessfilter) B .. C

A non-tree method would just calculate all the interactions: A-B, A-C, B-C. But you can group B+C together when calculating their interaction with A because, at that distance, the result for (B+C)-A is the same as the result for B-A + C-A. Then the interaction between B & C must be calculated separately. So you've (even in this tiny example) reduced your calculation from 3 to 2.

And, of course, all the 'voxels' between A & B/C that are empty need not be considered at all. If you'd set it up as an NxNxN voxel cube, you'd be wasting time on calculating empty voxels between the occupied items.

So if you want realistic interactive environments, sparse voxel octtrees are the way to go-- you pump all the calculation time into the parts where it matters, and let the other stuff be 'smoothed' when such smoothing is indistinguishable from rounding error.

Typically, you can traverse the tree for a given error percentage, e.g. 'walk the tree and do interactions preserving 99% energy conservation' or similar. So your have predictable error, as well, despite being able to use arbitrary geometries and spacing for your elements.

Re:How does it play with Physics? (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732794)

Wait, you mean next gen games will let us crash galaxies into one another? Sign me up :p

slashdot lameness filter is LAME (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732820)

i hate the lameness filter also

Re:How does it play with Physics? (1)

Esc7 (996317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733104)

Hey I coded renderers for sparse voxel octrees of LIDAR data! I feel kinship! And your point completely make sense. Concentrate on where it is necessary, and let the rest be approximated. You can even write algorithms that adaptively increase/decrease quality depending on the hardware it is running on at runtime.

Re:How does it play with Physics? (1)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733188)

This could be used in a whole host of areas where object-object interactions are important, but testing for those interactions can be very expensive. (e.g., molecular dynamics, agent-based biology modeling) One method we've used to solve these issues are interaction potentials. (the object-object interactions are through gradients of the potentials that can be scaled linearly with the number of objects if cleverly constructed.) However, I'm intrigued at using these data structures as an alternative approach, although I wonder if you'd get the savings if the objects were spaced more uniformly.

Do you have any publications you can point me towards? Thanks! -- Paul

Re:How does it play with Physics? (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732780)

There is always going to be static geometry in a level. You don't want the entire thing to be deformable/movable/destructable, especially in a multiplayer game. The end result would just be a big old bowl of slop with everything interesting about your environment has been pulverized to rubble. If you had 32 guys running around shooting rocket launchers at each other that would pretty much dessimate any real-life structure in a matter of minutes. Some things just need limits in a gaming environment. Flying crates and debris is fun, but who wants to play in wasteland of scrapped geometry?

Not to mention it is hard enough to create a compelling narrative for players with the freedom they already have in-game. If players can just knock down walls willy-nilly the task of building suspence/flow/critical paths in a game level become increasingly more difficult.

Re:How does it play with Physics? (2, Insightful)

SpectreHiro (961765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733024)

If you had 32 guys running around shooting rocket launchers at each other that would pretty much dessimate any real-life structure in a matter of minutes. Some things just need limits in a gaming environment. Flying crates and debris is fun, but who wants to play in wasteland of scrapped geometry?

You're right. Playing in a wasteland of scrapped geometry doesn't sound like much fun. OTOH, turning a perfectly good level into a wasteland of scrapped geometry... now we're talkin'.

Re:How does it play with Physics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732842)

My biggest concern with where he is going with this is that it does not sound like it will play very nice with physics.
You mean like the Matrix?

I'd agree, with a proviso. (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733016)

I have argued many times, and will no doubt do so for many years hence, that there won't be one unique solution to this, that the quality possible using a full genuine ray-tracing and radiocity solution (ie: not just using shaders or other simple rendering techniques) conflicts with the requirements of fast action. The only sensible (IMAO) is to use a combination of methods, depending on rate of change. Where rate of change is below a critical threshold, then use full-blown ray-tracing (or perhaps cone-tracing) and radiosity. Because rays can be thrown at ever-finer angles, and because you can postpone multiple-generation light sources, you could even have relatively static images become progressively better. When change is too fast for ray-tracing, it's probably too fast for the eye to pick out the nuances, so downgrade the method. For mid-range rates of change, use a reasonably good but fast method of getting "good enough" results. For very high speeds, the eye certainly can't pick out details. Shaders would be quite good enough there.

If you neglect the impact of mobile objects on diffuse reflections, you CAN pre-generate an entire radiosity map for a game, which is good because it's slow. However, it's an important addition as the "texture", "warmth" and "naturalness" of an image depend on diffuse reflections, not direct reflections.

Ultimately, you need to consider diffuse reflections for all objects. There are a few ray-tracing techniques which, instead of assuming direct reflection only, define a distribution (usually some variant on Gaussian) over which the light is reflected. This isn't quite the same as cone-tracing - cone-tracing is generally a simplified form of this where the distributions are trivial and uniform. Wave-tracing is another method that can be used.

As for what should be done, I'd rather see hardware engineers focus on providing primitives that can support what is needed both now and in the future, as hardware changes relatively slowly. That frees software engineers to develop the best methods they can, without forcing them to wait when they reach the limits of the method.

Carmack is yesterday's news (-1, Troll)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732340)

He's done some great things over the years, but it really played out in the 1990's. Other game developers have left him in the dust. I wouldn't hold him as much of an authority on current and future gaming technologies.

Re:Carmack is yesterday's news (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732390)

John Carmack is not a game developer, he's an engine programmer.

Re:Carmack is yesterday's news (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732400)

Who would be those other developers?

So... what this tells me... (2, Funny)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732348)

So, let me get this straight, intel says their baby is the best. Nvidia says theirs is the best. And Carmack is making his own, and saying his is the best. Wow, these articles have all been so informative. I could not possibly have predicted those outcomes.

Re:So... what this tells me... (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732874)

Wow, these articles have all been so informative. I could not possibly have predicted those outcomes.

Meanwhile the rest of us have been enjoying these articles immensely because we get to obtain some insight about what each of the major players are thinking in regards to Real-Time Raytracing. The great thing about obtaining insight from others is that you can then use your newfound insight to come to your own conclusions.

If you're simply looking for a consensus from the industry, don't expect one for a long while. The concept won't entirely be accepted until someone goes out there and proves it out. Just like high-quality 3D graphics were thought to be too slow on the PC. Until game creators proved out a few different methods to make them usable, that is. (Starting with Wing Commander, moving to Wolf-3D, Doom, Duke 3D, and eventually Quake. After that, the industry said, "Welp, we better make some hardware for this." And thus 3DFX was born. ;-))

The CEO of NVIDIA (1)

Lewrker (749844) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732498)

then confirmed Carmack's words when he was leaving his appartment after what they both described as a "different kind of LAN party."

Or, raytracing could work (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732560)

Whenever anyone decries a method as "not going that direction", there is always my memory if in the early 1900's, some famous physicist declaring that all of Physics had been invented and there would never be anything new from that point on. There is always the chance that as chips just get faster and more cores, especially with interval raytracing [sunfishstudio.com] , that at least a few games will go that way. If those games are popular enough, then like wolfenstein 3d and doom did for raycasting with textures, a whole new arena of game graphics will be opened up. For those that don't remember, on the original hardware wolfenstein 3d was a dog! It wasn't until much later that a large percentage of gamers had the hardware to do a decent frame rate at full screen.

Re:Or, raytracing could work (2, Informative)

Creepy (93888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732960)

Carmack is not saying the industry won't go to ray tracing, but rather that the industry won't abandon rasterization because each has strengths and weaknesses.

He believes the same thing I do - a hybrid approach is most likely, at least in the short term. A sparse voxel octtree (a voxel is a 3d pixel and an octtree is a uniform 3d structure to hold the voxels - they are sparse because most are empty [hold air]) and would work well for ray tracing because it sounds like you'd need to cast rays to find the voxel. I'm not sure why/how it would save on overlapping edges unless the voxel itself holds color (texture) information and is fragment level in detail. Still, that seems like it would be an incredibly large data structure, so I'm sure he's doing some trick that I can't think of at the moment.

Limited graphics (5, Funny)

goatpunch (668594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732654)

In other news, all games will now consist of reflective spheres moving around on checkerboards...

The Most Telling Quote.... (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732732)

It won't be right, but it will look cool, and that's all that really matters when you're looking at something like that. We are not doing light transport simulation here, we are doing something that is supposed to look good.
I'm the sort of guy that watches a movie and notices the compression artifacts in black, listens to music and hears mushy cymbals. I walk by a screen and notice dead pixels and that the input source isn't in the LCD's native resolution.

Yet, when I play a game, I'll admit, I'm not playing glaring attention to these faults. The last thing that really bothered me in games was 16-bit color banding and I haven't seen any of that in, oh, like 3 or 4 years.

The gamer side of me agrees with Carmack on things looking cool who cares if it's wrong, the geek side of me is angry and demands it be pixel-accurate.

Re:The Most Telling Quote.... (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732940)

He's not saying it will never be possible. What that quote was referring to is that it shouldn't be the primary focus of the coming generations of graphics processing. With real limits to computing power you have to choose where to spend the resources. He wants them spent in near-infinite geometric and texture detail, not near-infinite light tracing. That's my take on his answer given limited development and zero graphics experience.

CUDA? Not today... (1)

Kev Vance (833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732798)

The direction that everybody is looking at for next generation, both console and eventual graphics card stuff, is a "sea of processors" model, typified by Larrabee or enhanced CUDA and things like that
As I've pointed out on the NVIDIA forums [nvidia.com] , CUDA/OpenGL interoperability is totally broken from a game or video performance standpoint. Instead of being able to quickly shuffle graphics buffers between your CUDA kernel and your OpenGL graphics engine, you have to waste time and bus throughput copying them from the GPU to the host and back again!

Whether CUDA or its ilk have any effect on AAA games remains to be seen, but I will be surprised if some novelty like GPU raytracing won't end up in an IGF winner.

Wolf3D (1, Interesting)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732850)

Interestingly, raycasting is what id used in Wolfenstein 3D, way back in 1992.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_casting [wikipedia.org]

While I agree with some (1)

popeye44 (929152) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732860)

Of the points made here. I'll toss in my 2 pence.

One of the things that seems to be missing from ID is the ability to make a truly immersive game. There's little doubt at least in my mind they certainly know how to make awesome environments. "Note that as soon as you shine a light on an item in Doom 3 it does light up nicely and looks good."

What I think is that John is one hell of an engine developer and he's putting in his 2 pence as well. He may not be 100% correct but in the past he's been fairly accurate with some of his predictions "who's perfect?" and he'll likely be validated in some of this. As another user mentioned, When I drop a bomb on a building or blow it up internally that sucker better fall. This is what we've come to expect. Destructible environments, moving objects "I love plinking tin cans in HL2's engine" natural physics and the list goes on. However all of that must give way to the actual gameplay. All that glitters is not gold etc.

Crysis is friggin badass looking but it's limited in depth. Call of duty 4 mixed with crysis engine would have me in fits. "don't get me wrong COD4 is good just not quite as good as others graphically"

Carmack has the ability to do the environment but they seem to be resting on their laurels as far as game making goes. "ooo dark scary environment with random jumping demons/robots/aliens blah.."

I played quake 4 for 2-3 hours.. and haven't went back. It held no surprises or new things to explore.

I really hope to see a mix of the new technologies that make it easier for the storyteller to give us a great game.

WRT sparse voxel octree FTFA (1, Insightful)

not-enough-info (526586) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733050)

The 'sparse voxel octree' he talks about is basically a new data structure that simplifies storage of the polygons. This would require support from hardware manufacturers and provide content producers a new format in which to encode complex geometries. Carmack theorizes that having geometry detail to the level that we now have in texture detail is the next gen graphics paradigm. Basically, sparse voxel octrees would be to polygon meshes what polygon meshes were to billboarded sprites.

In all, Carmack hints towards massive detail for graphics and not much else. This is something he's always done in the past and has really seemed to obsess over. It's one of his greatest weaknesses as a trend-setter and industry leader. He did it before with the idtech 4 and it let HL2 steal the show with more thoughtful physics integration and charater AI. Nicer looking soft shadows, it seems, wasn't enough.

Id is great in that they push the industry forward in terms of graphics, but graphics only go so far. When it comes to realism, people want more nature in 3D. This means better physics, and more intuitive content building tools. Screenshots are great, but after you see it moving, that's when you make your final judgement.

Carmack endorsed the Intel 740 graphics chip (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733216)

Carmack can also be wrong, and I have a long memory.

I still remember Quake 2 and buying my own first PC and specing it based on his opinion.

He spoke well of the Intel i740. Which turned out to be a dog compared to the Voodoo2.

While, of course, he speaks of the future here, he got this wrong. Very wrong.

From his .plan file in 1998:

Intel i740
----------
Good throughput, good fillrate, good quality, good features. A very competent chip. I wish intel great success with the 740. I think that it firmly establishes the baseline that other companies (especially the ones that didn't even make this list) will be forced to come up to. Voodoo rendering quality, better than voodoo1 performance, good 3D on a desktop integration, and all textures come from AGP memory so there is no texture swapping at all. Lack of 24 bit rendering is the only negative of any kind I can think of. Their current MCD OpenGL on NT runs quake 2 pretty well. I have seen their ICD driver on '95 running quake 2, and it seems to be progressing well. The chip has the potential to outperform voodoo 1 across the board, but 3DFX has more highly tuned drivers right now, giving it a performance edge. I expect intel will get the performance up before releasing the ICD. It is worth mentioning that of all the drivers we have tested, intel's MCD was the only driver that did absolutely everything flawlessly. I hope that their ICD has a similar level of quality (it's a MUCH bigger job). An 8mb i740 will be a very good setup for 3D development work.
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