John Carmack on Graphics Tech

John Carmack on id Tech 6, Ray Tracing, Consoles, Physics and more on PC Perspective is a Q&A with the id Software cofounder and technical director. The conversation focuses on very technical details about graphics engine development, sure to be a help to anyone writing a doctoral thesis on the advantages of sparse voxel octree-based technology. He also admits "the uncomfortable truth" that consoles are the driving force behind game development, so "it’s difficult to set things up so that you can do much to leverage the really extreme high end desktop settings." He also talks about the pros and cons of multi-CPU and multi-GPU systems, making it clear that problems taking advantage of these technologies are due to bigger issues than simple growing pains:
Whether it makes sense for gaming to have these thousand dollar graphics cards is quite debatable but it’s really good for developers; to be able to target something high end that’s going to come out three years from now by being able to pay more money today for 2x more power. Certainly the whole high end simulation business has benefited a lot from commoditization of scalable graphics.

Although on the down side it was clear that years back when everything was going in a fairly simple algorithmic approach as far as graphics engines where you just rendered to your frame buffer, it was easy for them to go ahead and chunk that frame buffer up into an arbitrary number of pieces. But now there is much more tight coupling between the graphics render and the GPUs where there are all sorts of feedbacks, rendering to sub buffers, going back and forth, getting dependent conditional query results, and it makes it a lot harder to just chunk the problem up like that. But that’s the whole tale of multi-processing since the very beginning; we’re fighting that with multiple CPUs. It’s the primary issue with advancing performance in computing.
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27 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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27.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 18, 2008, 05:33
27.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 18, 2008, 05:33
Mar 18, 2008, 05:33
 
Hey actually bethesda invented mouselook in their crappy terminator game

26.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 14, 2008, 11:51
26.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 14, 2008, 11:51
Mar 14, 2008, 11:51
 
What he says holds great weight in the industry simply because without him, we'd all probably still be playing 2d games.

No, we'd still have 3d games without John Carmack. But technology would likely be a year or two later... JC's genius has helped the game devs by bringing practical, fast 3d techniques to the market quicker than they otherwise would have been. Without him, these excellent techniques may have been discovered later (if at all), and we would likely be waiting longer for Moore's law to give us enough horsepower to play equivalent games since 3d graphics may not have been as efficient.

So Far Cry could have been last year's release, rather than 3 years ago.

Three dimensional games would have happened without John and id. There have been many 3d engines made over the years that did not use any of Carmack's innovations. They were often slower than engines built upon his techniques, but they worked. 3d gaming would have existed, but we likely would not have had a superstar programming god leading the way.
Dreaming Demon, formerly Tikatt, formerly The Raven
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25.
 
Where are the goods?
Mar 13, 2008, 15:31
25.
Where are the goods? Mar 13, 2008, 15:31
Mar 13, 2008, 15:31
 
Well it has been almost 4 years since ID had a major release.If I remember correctly when Doom 3 was released,they said they were not going to have another 5 year development cycle?
Anyone know when they are going to have a major release?
All I hear about ID anymore is they are porting old engines and old content to mobile phones and such.

24.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 12, 2008, 23:17
Prez
 
24.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 12, 2008, 23:17
Mar 12, 2008, 23:17
 Prez
 
When Carmack speaks, I tend to listen. He knows more about the tech side of things than anyone else I've read about.

He is also right that the majority of the games business is driven by consoles. What that means exactly? I don't know, but maybe it means that unless you are a Crysis junkie, there isn't much reason to own a high-end boutique PC any more?
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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23.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 12, 2008, 22:51
23.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 12, 2008, 22:51
Mar 12, 2008, 22:51
 
....you're all a bunch of id bitches on this forum. >:<

Considering Bluesnews started as a Quake news site, o rly?

Quake introduced mlook to the world. Nuff said.

22.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 12, 2008, 20:53
22.
Re: No subject Mar 12, 2008, 20:53
Mar 12, 2008, 20:53
 
Which for the uninitiated equals, what... 5 Euro?

With your current exchange rate, ~$920 USD.

Edit: Since the exchange rates have come close to a 1:1 parity between Aus and US, we currently pay close to double what the US pays for software and hardware.

The cost of import can be around ~$30-50 USD on hardware so it's often cheaper (by about 300 US) to import high end hardware from the states.

Of course, if your card is a DOA, good fucking luck getting a warranty on it from the re/e-tailer.

This comment was edited on Mar 12, 20:56.
21.
 
John 17:3
Mar 12, 2008, 20:10
Kxmode
 
21.
John 17:3 Mar 12, 2008, 20:10
Mar 12, 2008, 20:10
 Kxmode
 
Quake Wars: Enemy Territory ran absolutely amazing on my system. I didn't know why until I discover John and his amazing team created a process called MegaTexture. This will be over-shadowed by the upcoming game "Rage" said to be powered by the id Tech 5 engine. Instead of a whopping 32,000 by 32,000 pixel texture in MegaTexture, Tech 5 will use textures that measure up to an insane 128000 x 128000 pixels! I think when he speaks people should really listen.

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"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
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20.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 12, 2008, 18:28
20.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 12, 2008, 18:28
Mar 12, 2008, 18:28
 
...since Q2 (which is widely considered the best FPS of it's era, and I personally hold as the best multiplayer shooter ever

I challenge that and say that Quake 1 was an awesome MP experience, especially since it heralded the internet MP era

19.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 12, 2008, 18:14
19.
Re: No subject Mar 12, 2008, 18:14
Mar 12, 2008, 18:14
 
Here in Australia, video cards can easily be $1000.

Which for the uninitiated equals, what... 5 Euro?

18.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 12, 2008, 18:09
18.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 12, 2008, 18:09
Mar 12, 2008, 18:09
 
I think it's funny to listen to a guy who hasn't really done anything new since Quake 2.

You clearly haven't got a clue about anything when it comes to computer graphics do you? Maybe Ids games haven't been 'great' since Q2 (which is widely considered the best FPS of it's era, and I personally hold as the best multiplayer shooter ever lol.) But there are significant technological break-throughts that would likely not ever have happened if not for John Carmack. What he says holds great weight in the industry simply because without him, we'd all probably still be playing 2d games.

Avatar 17499
17.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 12, 2008, 17:31
17.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 12, 2008, 17:31
Mar 12, 2008, 17:31
 
...you're all a bunch of id bitches on this forum. >:<

Yea, how dare we respect someone for their work! That's not gamer-like at all, we must hate everything, and confuse the issue at all points!

16.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 12, 2008, 17:27
16.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 12, 2008, 17:27
Mar 12, 2008, 17:27
 
If I gotta be a bitch, I'd like to be id's bitch. Too bad I didn't understand anything he was writing about. Luckily there were pictures.

Avatar 6700
15.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 12, 2008, 17:16
15.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 12, 2008, 17:16
Mar 12, 2008, 17:16
 
....you're all a bunch of id bitches on this forum. >:<

14.
 
Re: Wow, that's a lot of work
Mar 12, 2008, 16:27
14.
Re: Wow, that's a lot of work Mar 12, 2008, 16:27
Mar 12, 2008, 16:27
 
He also talks about the pros and cons of multi-CPU and multi-GPU systems, making it clear that problems taking advantage of these technologies are due to bigger issues than simple growing pains

FINALLY. I'm so tired of people just saying that devs are lazy when it comes to taking advantage of the parallelism offered by multicore machines. Maybe now that the god of game programming has spoken people will realize that writing good multithreaded code is really, really hard.

PZ
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13.
 
Wow, that's a lot of work
Mar 12, 2008, 16:24
13.
Wow, that's a lot of work Mar 12, 2008, 16:24
Mar 12, 2008, 16:24
 
Switching from a traditional rasterization approach to something voxel-based just sounds horribly work-intensive. So many of the development tools would need to be rewritten... and I can't imagine how content creation would work.

Although I guess you could create content in a traditional manner and then run the high-poly models through some sort of converter... just sounds kinda nuts, though!

Good luck with all that. I'd love to see a demo... but I'm not holding my breath.

This comment was edited on Mar 12, 16:27.
Avatar 6134
12.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 12, 2008, 16:14
N
12.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 12, 2008, 16:14
Mar 12, 2008, 16:14
N
 
"really done anything new since Quake 2"

Don't confuse games with game engines/technology.

11.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 12, 2008, 15:58
11.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 12, 2008, 15:58
Mar 12, 2008, 15:58
 
He continues to make some of the best tech in the industry. How his company uses that tech for whatever game doesn't mean a thing about his technical ability.

10.
 
Re: Inaccurate transcription.
Mar 12, 2008, 15:57
nin
 
10.
Re: Inaccurate transcription. Mar 12, 2008, 15:57
Mar 12, 2008, 15:57
 nin
 
Thanks for pointing out the obvious?

Man, you really do lack a funny bone. First you shoot down my reference to the - real, might I add - Wii game, "Cleaning Squadron Clean Keeper" and now this.

Think of a relaxing place. Say it now, wooooo-saaaah. Feel better?


It's nothing personal, I promise.

You have to admit the pedo thing was a bit out there.

As for Carmack, I'm pretty sure he doesn't intentionally make that sound, so (IMO) it seems kinda in poor taste to make fun of him for it. It's like seeing someone walking down the street with an artificial leg and rolling down the window of the car and saying "HA! You can't walk right!!!". In both cases, there's a very good chance the person didn't ask for what life gave them, and they're doing the best they can (and I think we can both agree Mr. Carmack is doing quite well).

Anyway, It's just my opinion, and again, I'm not trying to hate on ya...

I sound like a cranky old man, don't I?




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9.
 
Re: Carmackmania
Mar 12, 2008, 15:50
9.
Re: Carmackmania Mar 12, 2008, 15:50
Mar 12, 2008, 15:50
 
I think it's funny to listen to a guy who hasn't really done anything new since Quake 2. Not to mention, make a game worth playing through. But then again, I like peanut butter, bologna, and dill pickle sandwiches.

8.
 
No subject
Mar 12, 2008, 15:49
8.
No subject Mar 12, 2008, 15:49
Mar 12, 2008, 15:49
 
Here in Australia, video cards can easily be $1000.

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