Carmack on Graphics Rendering

id Software lead programmer John Carmack once again updated his .plan with a lengthy and technical discussion of graphics cards and related topics. Starting off with a follow-up to his earlier remarks on the Matrox Parhelia (story), John comments on a new 3Dlabs P10 card, using prototype OpenGL 2.0 extensions in a new DOOM III rendering back end for this card, future directions for GL2, and NVIDIA's Cg language. Here's an excerpt from the full .plan:
I am now committed to supporting an OpenGL 2.0 renderer for Doom through all the spec evolutions. If anything, I have been somewhat remiss in not pushing the issues as hard as I could with all the vendors. Now really is the critical time to start nailing things down, and the decisions may stay with us for ten years.

A GL2 driver won't give any theoretical advantage over the current back ends optimized for cards with 7+ texture capability, but future research work will almost certainly be moving away from the lower level coding practices, and if some new vendor pops up (say, Rendition back from the dead) with a next-gen card, I would strongly urge them to implement GL2 instead of proprietary extensions.
And on a somewhat related note, John Carmack also posted a /. comment titled "Realtime and offline rendering ARE converging" in this thread regarding the use of graphics cards for real-time rendering of animated movies, in place of render farms and specialist rendering software.
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28.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 22:35
28.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 22:35
Jun 28, 2002, 22:35
 
Ojam, I don't think it's so much "problems" as the failure of ATI to make the best of a superior graphics card. Nvidia wrings more performance out of it's cards... ATI doesn't.

*edit* And for those of you wondering I have had both Nvidia and ATI cards in the past -- my current is a vanilla GF 3, which I have been quite happy with. My next will be whatever works better after my GF 3 becomes less than adequate

This comment was edited on Jun 28, 22:39.
27.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 22:00
27.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 22:00
Jun 28, 2002, 22:00
 
I have never had a single problem with Drivers for my 8500.

26.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 15:34
26.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 15:34
Jun 28, 2002, 15:34
 
It's not like they had to make a proprietary card or something

Apparently they did. From what I gathered it's a GF2 in essence, but with all the DX8 stuff that they then introduced in the GF3 retail cards.

Nvidia's work for the Xbox was an entire chipset, including a graphics core which was essentially a hybrid GF2/GF3. The results of this R&D effort also wound up in the nForce chipset for AMD processors, so it's debatable whether the GF schedule was directly affected by these other projects or if they were separate development teams.

25.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 12:47
anon@12.233
25.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 12:47
Jun 28, 2002, 12:47
anon@12.233
 
directx offers more....you mean it offers support for publishing games to macos..or linux...wow that's cool..when did that version come out?....jackass
24.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 10:19
anon@65.28
24.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 10:19
Jun 28, 2002, 10:19
anon@65.28
 
Carmack has been saying this for 10 years and yet DirectX continues to offer more.
23.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 09:45
23.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 09:45
Jun 28, 2002, 09:45
 
It's not like they had to make a proprietary card or something

Apparently they did. From what I gathered it's a GF2 in essence, but with all the DX8 stuff that they then introduced in the GF3 retail cards.

22.
 
Rendition Mentioned?
Jun 28, 2002, 09:31
22.
Rendition Mentioned? Jun 28, 2002, 09:31
Jun 28, 2002, 09:31
 
> (say, Rendition back from the dead)

How can nobody be talking about this comment?

Is John hinting at something he cannot talk about? I don't know how many of the people that read this site are old enough to have experienced the v2x000 series in their heyday, but if Renditions owners decided to re-enter the market with their brand, they too could really compete.

This could be really big news. It would finally make 3D cards just like the old 2D wars when there were more vendors than you could shake a stick at.
-Mission
21.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 09:15
anon@170.35
21.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 09:15
Jun 28, 2002, 09:15
anon@170.35
 
How do you figure Nvidia lost a whole development cycle on the Xbox? Doesn't it run the standard GF3? It's not like they had to make a proprietary card or something. I doubt they lost a whole cycle.
20.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 09:13
anon@62.253
20.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 09:13
Jun 28, 2002, 09:13
anon@62.253
 
"The graphics quality argument is overused"
"running ridiculously high resolutions like 1920x1440, you won't even notice it"

I think image quality means a sharp and clear image which the Nvidia graphics cards cannot do at higher res.
From my experience you dont notice this in games but you do when using Windows and unless you use your PC for games *only* it is something I feel Nvidia should address. After all ATI and Matrox graphics cards don't suffer from such issues.
19.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 09:11
19.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 09:11
Jun 28, 2002, 09:11
 
You mean like the most recent driver revision, called "CATALYST™ 02.1"?

18.
 
no fanboy-ism....
Jun 28, 2002, 08:44
anon@63.99
18.
no fanboy-ism.... Jun 28, 2002, 08:44
Jun 28, 2002, 08:44
anon@63.99
 
but I'll have to admit, if there was ever a bench where a Radeon did better than a 4600, I honestly cant remember seeing it.

What ATI has over Nvidia to an extent is price. Whats unfortunate is how thier smoothvision or whatever it is, just doesnt do what it should with some games.

In any case, they are Nvidia's biggest competitor right now.

And I agree that a gaming card really is the way to go. It makes sense that if a card has enough power to run games, its also going to be at least respectable for things that non gaming cards may be directed at. A 4600 is going to do just fine for most situations, whether it be PS, 3Dsm, or any other graphics program that a desktop PC might see.
17.
 
No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 08:37
anon@12.8
17.
No subject Jun 28, 2002, 08:37
Jun 28, 2002, 08:37
anon@12.8
 
ATI needs to give their drivers a name, like Detonator for Nvidia. Here's their current revision number.
ATI Radeon 6.13.10.6102
Who can follow that, it looks like a web IP address.
16.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 08:14
nin
 
16.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 08:14
Jun 28, 2002, 08:14
 nin
 
>>>This "their drivers are getting better" has been floating around for a year and a half.

Try "5 years"!

15.
 
Re: cardmaker, cardmaker, make me a card
Jun 28, 2002, 07:47
anon@80.135
15.
Re: cardmaker, cardmaker, make me a card Jun 28, 2002, 07:47
Jun 28, 2002, 07:47
anon@80.135
 
TBH, the recent Nvidia offerings, first and foremost the Ti4200 is quite good in that way. Cost is still an issue, at €200 it's certainly not a cheap card, but leaps and bounds away from the €400 you pay for the high end. Standards support is excellent, as are the drivers. The MX series isn't altogether bad, either - you only get a D3D7 card, but they are dirt cheap after all.
14.
 
cardmaker, cardmaker, make me a card
Jun 28, 2002, 07:35
14.
cardmaker, cardmaker, make me a card Jun 28, 2002, 07:35
Jun 28, 2002, 07:35
 
As a typical, non-hardcore gamer, I want it all, and I want it cheap. So OpenGL2 implementation/support from drivers, games and hardware across the board sounds good to me. This'll give me more choices that will apply to more games, as I don't have the luxury (fanaticism?) of spending so much time on one game I can buy a card that gets me more FPS on it at the expense of other games. I need a well-rounded card, with good drivers.

The more competition the better. Correction - the SMARTER competition the better; I have an ATI card, but the little comment in the .plan about sending a beta card that couldn't render the console correctly made me wince. And if Matrox/3DLabs/Rendition or whomever leaps out of the gate with a good card, with good drivers that gets good reviews at a good price, I'll be interested.

It's like the "Cheap/Fast/Good" triangle in software apps - if you move to one corner more, it's at the expense of the others - in graphics cards it seems to be "Cost/hardware and standards support/Drivers".

Devster
Use your head, don't lose it - Don't feed the trolls!
Boycott Belligerent Boycotters!
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13.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 07:33
anon@80.135
13.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 07:33
Jun 28, 2002, 07:33
anon@80.135
 
The graphics quality argument is overused. The quality on Radeon and especially Parhelia *is* better than the quality offered by the GF4 range of chips, but chances are unless you're extremely picky or running ridiculously high resolutions like 1920x1440, you won't even notice it. You certainly won't on your mid-range 17" CRT running 1024x768 or 1280x960.
(For the record, I don't own any of those cards.)
12.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 06:10
12.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 06:10
Jun 28, 2002, 06:10
 
ATi needs to improve their drivers NOW. This "their drivers are getting better" has been floating around for a year and a half. When the Radeon first came out they had some breathing room but now that Matrox has entered the fray (and they may surprise us all still) as well as 3DLabs they don't have the luxury of putting out mediocre drivers anymore. From what I've read the CATALYST drivers are a lot better but looking at benchmarks they're still a good deal behind Nvidia. I would love to see ATi kick Nvidias butt as thei visual quality is much better and their price points are much more in line with what people can afford. I also can't wait to see what 3DLabs will have to offer.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
"Both the “left” and the “right” pretend they have the answer, but they are mere flippers on the same thalidomide baby, and the truth is that neither side has a clue."

- Jim Goad
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11.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 05:49
hkm
11.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 05:49
Jun 28, 2002, 05:49
hkm
 
#7, I don't think you quite appreciate ATI's efforts.

While the GF4 is currently the most powerful chip around, back when we had only the GF3 and Radeon 8500, the Radeons proved to give more oveall value, while still running about as fast in 3D as NVIDIA's offerings. In fact, some benchmarks even showed ATI's cards as being faster under certain circumstances.

So they definitely have the right 3D capabilities. And then there's the superior image quality, especially in 2D, and of course the TV-out, which works flawlessly, unlike most NVIDIA based cards.

NVIDIA have some serious competition, and ATI are leading the race technology wise, due to NVIDIA's involvement with the Xbox.

ATI are even starting to produce better drivers.

Overall, your comment reeks of NVIDIA-fanboyness, something I was cured for when I got an ATI Radeon. NVIDIA will have to prove to me that they can produce better hardware before I get one of their cards again.

When I need to buy a new card, I'll look at the situation. Whoever gives me the best offering, I will buy. When I got my Radeon, ATI obviously had a better card on their hands.

So please get your facts straight. NVIDIA have competition now, and ATI are giving it to them.

10.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 05:42
anon@158.64
10.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 05:42
Jun 28, 2002, 05:42
anon@158.64
 
this is also why ATI's benchmarks for their newest Radeon card have scored a tad higher than that of nVidia's..

didn't you notice that those 27000+ results in 3dmark2001 of the latest R300 were fake? hehe, I can't believe
9.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 28, 2002, 03:24
9.
Re: No subject Jun 28, 2002, 03:24
Jun 28, 2002, 03:24
 
ATI could do well -- if they improve their drivers. Something that's been nagging them for a while now. That is what is keeping Nvidia on top. While ATI matches the hardware, they just don'e seem to match up well on the other end of it. People have more confidence in Nvidia.

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