AMD wants to push the envelope of realism in interactive games with its new "Cinema 2.0 experience." Using its upcoming RV770 GPU as the engine driving the demonstration, AMD showed off "the fusion of dynamic real-time interactivity with convincing cinematic digital effects that appear to be real places and things captured on video."
"With Cinema 2.0 you won't just play movies, you'll play in them. Imagine the ability to look around the environments in a sci-fi movie, put yourself in the driver's seat in a race scene, duck behind things and pop up to see what's going on in an intense firefight -- all of these things are possible with Cinema 2.0," said Charlie Boswell, director, Digital Media & Entertainment, AMD. "The challenge for any director has always been taking a wonderful vision in the canvas of the mind and translating that to film for the audience to see. Cinema 2.0 breaks down the time and cost barriers of getting a scene or shot that's 'just right', and what's better, allows audiences to dive deeper into the experience to explore every part of that director's vision."
AMD's demonstration of the Cinema 2.0 technology was done on a system with an AMD Phenom X4 quad-core processor, AMD 790 FX chipset, and two RV770 graphics cards--indicating that the beginnings of this "interactive cinema" are now possible with the generation of hardware that is about to be released. AMD has yet to announce an official release date for the RV770, but it has stated that it "will soon be available as ATI Radeon HD branded graphics cards."
No one is actually saying that photo-realistic, real-time, movie-quality rendering is here today. Most industry pundits see that benchmark being reached somewhere in the next five to ten years. But, AMD is positioning the Cinema 2.0 technology as a platform from which this milestone can be reached. Of course, other than the supporting hardware, there need to be development tools and game titles that will take advantage of the technology; AMD has stated that it "is collaborating with movie directors and game developers, as well as software developers who make tools needed to harness many teraFLOPS of real-time visual computing power."
Yes, teraflops. AMD claims that its RV770 CPU is capable of over one trillion floating-point operations per second. AMD has also just announced its AMD FireStream 9250 General-Purpose computing on Graphics Processing Units (GP-GPU), which is also capable of a teraflops of processing power, and due out later this year. The rumor mill is buzzing that the two AMD teraflops chips are actually based on the same chip design.
AMD isn't alone in looking to drive graphics advances with new GPUs. Nvidia also just announced its teraflops Tesla 10 series GP-GPUs, which is based its new GT200 line of GPUs. Expect to see the boundaries of realism breached in many ways from a number of different sources in the not so distant future.