Things are beginning to heat up for this years Game
Developer's Conference. With only a day to go
before the event, manufacturers are releasing the
news on their latest technology in what seems like
flood level proportion. Today, ATI
Technologies contacted us with information on
what will be their "bomb dropping" arsenal
that will most likely cause quite a stir at the
Hardware will not be able to attend this event so we
had a teleconference call set up with Niles
Burbank, Group Product Manager at ATI, to discuss
the buzz, hype and cold hard facts about their next
generation product code named the "R6"
that supports their new "Charisma Engine"
and "Pixel Tapestry" architecture.
Here's what we found out.
Dedicated Hardware Geometry Support
ATI has been spending time with Game Developers
lately. The company has been picking the brains of
many 3D modelers, designers and programmers in an
effort to find out what tools they need to truly
unleash their creative talents and allow their
imaginations to be their only boundary instead of
the current frame rate/versus realism trade-offs
that are made today. What ATI came up with was
a list of features and capabilities that goes far
beyond accelerating certain areas of the 3D pipeline
but instead accelerates nearly the entire 3D
Pipeline in hardware.
you see above is a representation of the 3D Pipeline
from Geometry Setup right down to final
rendering. In the past, 3D accelerators have
targeted the rendering aspects of the equation and
there was only support for a few of the Geometry
requirements that you see in the top half of this
diagram. Other chipsets like the NVidia
GeForce support Transform and Lighting as well as
some level of Vertex Skinning.
will get more into these specifics a little later
but the Charisma Engine will support the
Matrix Vertex Blending/Skinning
Tapestry Architecture - Three independent
texture units per pipeline and three textures
features, they feel, will allow Game Developers to
run free and take 3D Graphics to the next
level. In addition, they also feel this will
allow the Game Developer more time to commit to
story line, character and environment and over all
product creation. ATI is targeting 3D Graphics with
characters that look natural and detailed with out
that "polygon built" look and objects and
environments that have complexity, detail and
above picture is an example of what can be
accomplished with a Graphics Engine that can support
more features in hardware and as a result, allow the
game developer to design in more intricate detail
since almost all of the Geometry set up is being
offloaded from the CPU.