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Tim Sweeney on the Fall of GPUs

Twilight of the GPU- an epic interview with Tim Sweeney on Ars Technica talks with the Epic Games CEO and chief architect about the future of graphics programming. Tim predicts the next generation will see the death of the API, saying, "I expect that in the next generation we'll write 100 percent of our rendering code in a real programming languageŚnot DirectX, not OpenGL, but a language like C++ or CUDA." He also discusses the demise of the discrete GPU, though this is less dire: "So I think you'll see some degree of fixed-function hardware in everybody's architectures for the foreseeable future, and it doesn't matter. And as long as the hardware is sufficiently programmable, we're fine with that." He also makes interesting comments about DirectX, saying DX9 "was the last graphics API that really mattered" and that "DirectX 10 takes DirectX 9 and adds some weird fixed-function components on top of it, which fit in a very particular place in the pipeline, and are hard to use."

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16. No subject Sep 17, 2008, 03:04 Wallshadows
 
Voxel technology was mainly used for Flight Sims since it allowed for massive open terrain and, from far away, it was a fairly detailed image for the time. But when you got up close such as in the Delta Force series (1-2), it was big ugly square blocks merely mashed up with other square blocks and clipping was a fairly large issue too.

Was fun online, the first Delta Force.
 
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15. Re: No subject Sep 16, 2008, 15:40 shul
 
the nice thing about your logic is that you haven't actually *said* anything.

As for inner vs. dot products - I once knew what it was, I think I still remember but I will need to check wikipedia to be sure. still, it has nothing to do with proving me wrong..

 
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14. No subject Sep 16, 2008, 14:23 Nox
 
As a graphics programmer I can say that the demise of the API's will be a Bad Thing.

Unless of course you want to go back to the days where you needed a genius like Carmack or Sweeney at the helm if you wanted to develop a decent-performing 3D game.

The last thing we need is to return to the era where the graphics engine is the focus. Instead the engine needs to become more of a commodity with the focus being on other elements such as artificial intelligence and a decent storyline.

 
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13. ... Sep 16, 2008, 12:34 theyarecomingforyou
 
The only voxel games I remember were the Novalogic ones that were ugly as shit.
Exactly. They were ugly and performed pretty poorly - it was no surprise that the tech failed.

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12. Re: No subject Sep 16, 2008, 10:59 nin
 
Voxels could have ruled and there wasn't that much reason why they weren't (nicely parralel, too).

The only voxel games I remember were the Novalogic ones that were ugly as shit.



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11. Re: No subject Sep 16, 2008, 10:45 MacD
 
Sigh...D3 was built on an engine with iterations and engineering spanning years. Outpost had a voxel engine which rivalled anything att he time but didn't get any follow up. Voxels could have ruled and there wasn't that much reason why they weren't (nicely parralel, too).

You should really not speak of these things as you do unless you know what you're talking about, shul. My guess is you would't know a dot product from a inner prodcut unless you looked it up on wikipedia.

 
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10. Re: No subject Sep 16, 2008, 10:41 MacD
 
I think one of the reasons the Millenium bug was such a no hsow was simply because it was identified beforehand and billions wre spent preventing it's implications and effects. Had that not happened, things WOULD have gone horribly wrong (and there were plenty of things which did go wrong, inventory being scrapped when it shouldn't have being the least). It always pisses me off whne people sy the Y2K bug was bullshit...it's actually one of the things people responded well to so that it didn't turn out as bad as it could have.

As for 5., ...well, it wasn't, was it. It just turned out it did have a purpose there, even though it was never meant to.

And 8. is just an urban myth.

 
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9. Re: Good news, right? Sep 16, 2008, 09:46 shul
 
You are kidding, right?

The fact is that DX is held closely by MS.
If they'd released it as open source/open standard there would be DX10 on linux/mac today. Having APIs is a good thing - it brings lower cap of entry and more standardization, the fact that Tim doesn't like it is something completely different.

 
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8. Re: No subject Sep 16, 2008, 09:43 shul
 
Joss, you are a weird kind of troll; a troll should direct his trollism to the most common denominator, if you'll troll at these kind of things no one (except a few) will understand you :-p

Anyway, I remember voxels, I remember every little thing !! you can't say the "build engine" was better than, say, Doom 3...

 
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7. Re: Good news, right? Sep 16, 2008, 00:12 NKD
 
Good ole Tim Sweeney.

Firstly, the architecture of GPUs will change, but from the consumer standpoint they will still be sticking an extra card in their machine to get any kind of reasonable performance. Regular CPUs, even with 6 or 8 cores, are poorly suited to that kind of work.

As far as APIs go, very few companies are going to bother with throwing out that extra level of abstraction that makes development easier. Maybe the major engine developers will do it.

 
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6. Good news, right? Sep 15, 2008, 23:10 Razerious
 
No DirectX = Easier to port games to a non-microsoft OS

Well. Hopefully.

(Though there are other hurdles that can get in the way. So maybe not.)
This comment was edited on Sep 15, 23:12.
 
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5. Re: No subject Sep 15, 2008, 23:00 Overon
 
Isn't this the guy that talks bullshit about everything? Why would we believe him on this? Sure he's more qualified than I am but I don't speak bullshit about everything. So I win.

 
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4. Re: No subject Sep 15, 2008, 22:30 Joss
 
Well from what I've seen with the voxel/point cloud rendering tech, I believe he's on the mark there.

CPU rendering is gonna rock us all.

 
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3. Re: No subject Sep 15, 2008, 22:06 Kxmode
 
Perhaps Tim Sweeney would care to read ZD Net's article "Top 10 worst tech predictions of all time"
http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/business/soa/Top-10-worst-tech-predictions-of-all-time-/0,139023166,339284671,00.htm

Here are the cliff notes
1. YouTube will go nowhere
2. The Millennium Bug
3. The death of the iPod
4. Photocopiers are niche
5. The PC was never meant for home use
6. Antitrust won't bother Microsoft
7. eBay will be huge in China
8. Nobody will ever need more than 640KB of memory
9. The death of spam
10. Windows will never be a 32-bit OS

To that list I would like to add
11. the next generation will see the death of the API

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2. No subject Sep 15, 2008, 22:06 DangerDog
 
Does this mean UT3 won't be getting that DX10 patch?

 
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1. No subject Sep 15, 2008, 21:16 Wallshadows
 
Isn't this the same guy who blew Intel and talked up a storm about MMX for large sums of money?  
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