ATI's Charisma Engine

ATI's Charisma Engine - Page 1



Introducing ATI's Next Generation Technology

The ATI Charisma Engine and Pixel Tapestry Architecture

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 show. 

Hot 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.

More 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.


What 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. 

We will get more into these specifics a little later but the Charisma Engine will support the following...

  • Transform and Lighting,
  • Clipping
  • 4 Matrix Vertex Blending/Skinning
  • Key Frame Interpolation
  • Pixel Tapestry Architecture - Three independent texture units per pipeline and three textures per pixel.

These 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 realistic interactivity.

The 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.


Vertex Skinning and other tricks of the trade...


Tags:  ATI, engine, AR

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