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[tgd] Intel converts ET: Quake Wars to ray-tracing

post #1 of 7
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Mountain View (CA) – Up until yesterday, Intel was showcasing its ray-tracing research using Quake 3 and Quake 4, which were nice demos, but did not exactly reflect fresh software. Over past several months, the company has been working one converting Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and we have to admit that the results are quite impressive.

Intel demonstrated ET: Quake Wars running in basic HD (720p) resolution, which is, according to our knowledge, the first time the company was able to render the game using a standard video resolution, instead of 1024 x 1024 or 512 x 512 pixels. Seeing ETQW running in 14-29 frames per second in 1280x720 has brought up our hopes for Intel's CPU architecture, since we do not believe that CPUs would deliver a similar performance when rasterizing graphics. For the record, the demonstration ran on a 16-core (4 socket, 4 core) Tigerton system running at 2.93 GHz.

The game itself was vastly expanded when compared to original title. Intel’s Daniel Pohl showed how the engine now shoots three million rays in all directions, enabling collision detection based on rays alone.

Also, during the conversion, some effects were integrated by default, even if they had not been planned. One of those effects was fog shadow on the floor and physically-correct refractions of water. If you ever dived into a swimming pool or sea and looked up, you could have seen that the world is distorted. Now, ET: Quake Wars has the very same effect.

An impressive part of demonstration was looking at glass surfaces. Glass now reflects the environment to the tiniest detail - no LOD trickery here. Seeing a 200-window portal was quite an impressive demonstration of a situation when you are shooting rays into the environment. Check out our gallery to get more detail on this demo.

The icing on the cake was that the game was actually demonstrated running on a 64-bit Linux operating system. Intel stated that with ray-tracing, the company now supports 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Linux and Windows operating systems. We'll see what will happen with Mac OS X support, but that should be on the cards as well.
http://www.tgdaily.com/html_tmp/cont...37925-113.html

Emphasis was mine, I just wanted to discuss what I thought was most interesting..

No more clipping models or two sets of 3D models, one detailed for graphics and one simple, non-matching for collision detection.. Better physics and less uncanny-valley with rays. I think it's incredible that it's actually running on CPUs. Larrabee might be capable of impressive-looking real time ray tracing-based games.

It's also ironic that Intel, the one part of the 'Wintel' godzilla, looks to be the only counterpart to Microsoft's monopoly, bringing Linux to mobile platforms and now gaming. What's the new name, 'Lintel'?
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post #2 of 7
It doesn't look impressive to me, but I'm liking the fact they are doing this, WE NEED MORE COMPETITION!
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post #3 of 7
Wow, a 16-core system! I hope Larrabee comes out soon so we can actually take advantage of this tech.
post #4 of 7
I like the fact that they are doing this too, but not for competitive reasons. If anything, this is going to decrease competition. Though I am damn surprised that they are this far along in the whole ray-tracing thing. That's just nuts. Also, take note that Larrabee is 16 cores. Hmm, 16 core Tigerton, 16 core Larrabee. Sounds pretty awesome to me.

I wonder if ray-tracing scales 1:1 with the amount of cores. From the looks of it, CPU power seems to be increasing at a rate faster than GPU power. That wasn't the case before, but who knows how the game will change now.
Edited by Porthios - 6/13/08 at 7:00am
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post #5 of 7
So, I wonder if the vaunted processing ability of GPUs could outpace those CPUs in this if coded right. All we ever here about from Nvidia is how god-awesome Cuda is/is going to be.
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post #6 of 7
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Originally Posted by mhsbrian View Post
It doesn't look impressive to me, but I'm liking the fact they are doing this, WE NEED MORE COMPETITION!
Me either, but screenshots are rarely impressive to me. I need to see some video of this in action.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Porthios View Post
Though I am damn surprised that they are this far along in the whole ray-tracing thing.
Why? People have been talking about ray-tracing in games since the original Doom. The tech is just now getting to the point where all the talk can actually be translated into working games.

Although I still think this is several years away at best. It's a fun thing to keep an eye on, but Average Joe won't be running 16-core processors any time soon. And games won't be developed that can't run on Average Joe's PC or console, that would be business suicide. So until Wal-Mart starts selling PCs that can run ray-traced games, they won't exist in the mass market.
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post #7 of 7
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Originally Posted by Porthios View Post
I like the fact that they are doing this too, but not for competitive reasons. If anything, this is going to decrease competition. Though I am damn surprised that they are this far along in the whole ray-tracing thing. That's just nuts. Also, take note that Larrabee is 16 cores. Hmm, 16 core Tigerton, 16 core Larrabee. Sounds pretty awesome to me.

I wonder if ray-tracing scales 1:1 with the amount of cores. From the looks of it, CPU power seems to be increasing at a rate faster than GPU power. That wasn't the case before, but who knows how the game will change now.
Actually, leaked slides show that the first Larrabee product was at that point planned to be a 32-core with a cut-down version having 24 cores. That might've changed but I doubt the number has gotten lower.

Keep in mind that G80 has 16 cores and if the G200 follows the same core/ALU ratio it has 30 (I think they changed that though), and that Larrabee will be on 32nm once it hits shelves.

Ray tracing is not supposed to run on 16 CPU cores, it's supposed to run on graphics processors. They're showing it off on CPUs because they don't have anything else to show it on yet bar using a competitor's product, which would be silly (kinda like Microsoft showing off Xbox games on PPC Macs.. that was fun).
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