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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1.
 
Carmackmania
Mar 12, 2008, 14:58
1.
Carmackmania Mar 12, 2008, 14:58
Mar 12, 2008, 14:58
 
I could listen to this guy all day.

Avatar 45616
2.
 
Inaccurate transcription.
Mar 12, 2008, 14:59
2.
Inaccurate transcription. Mar 12, 2008, 14:59
Mar 12, 2008, 14:59
 
They didn't transcribe the, "mmnngh" noise he makes every couple sentences.

Thousand dollar graphics cards? Is he talking about like...2 8800 Ultras in SLI mode or something? I can't think of a single card that costs over $1000 with the exception of maybe this one PNY card I saw, but I don't think it was for gaming. Could be wrong though. *shrug*
Avatar 46050
3.
 
Re: Inaccurate transcription.
Mar 12, 2008, 15:05
nin
 
3.
Re: Inaccurate transcription. Mar 12, 2008, 15:05
Mar 12, 2008, 15:05
 nin
 
They didn't transcribe the, "mmnngh" noise he makes every couple sentences.

It's generally considered poor taste to do that.

------------------------------------------------
http://ghosts.nin.com/
4.
 
Re: Inaccurate transcription.
Mar 12, 2008, 15:17
SCG
4.
Re: Inaccurate transcription. Mar 12, 2008, 15:17
Mar 12, 2008, 15:17
SCG
 
High end workstation cards are thousands. You can (down) convert a Quadro into a gaming card... except with 2GB of video RAM. Very expensive.

This comment was edited on Mar 12, 15:18.
5.
 
Re: Inaccurate transcription.
Mar 12, 2008, 15:23
5.
Re: Inaccurate transcription. Mar 12, 2008, 15:23
Mar 12, 2008, 15:23
 
It's generally considered poor taste to do that.
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?
Avatar 46050
6.
 
Re: Inaccurate transcription.
Mar 12, 2008, 15:33
6.
Re: Inaccurate transcription. Mar 12, 2008, 15:33
Mar 12, 2008, 15:33
 
Sorry hamster, I'm with nin on this one. Bad form, man.

7.
 
Re: Inaccurate transcription.
Mar 12, 2008, 15:34
7.
Re: Inaccurate transcription. Mar 12, 2008, 15:34
Mar 12, 2008, 15:34
 
Thousand dollar graphics cards? Is he talking about like...2 8800 Ultras in SLI mode or something? I can't think of a single card that costs over $1000 with the exception of maybe this one PNY card I saw, but I don't think it was for gaming. Could be wrong though. *shrug*

Yeah, he was specifically referring to SLI type solutions of "More Money = More Performance" with the same generation of hardware.

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.

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.

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?




------------------------------------------------
http://ghosts.nin.com/
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.

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.

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
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
------------
Reading: Nothing yet, planning on reading Isaac Asimov's "The Robots of Dawn" shortly
PZ
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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. >:<

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
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!

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
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?

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

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