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Some news, and some olds.

  • HPG has a CFP. In slow motion,  this means the High Performance Graphics conference, June 25-27 in Saarbrucken, Germany, has a call for participation. Naty talked about this conference in his post two months ago; now the HPG website and CFP are up. In case you don’t recognize the conference’s name, this is the combination of the Graphics Hardware and Interactive Ray Tracing symposia. HPG was fantastic last year, with more useful (to me) papers than SIGGRAPH (where it was co-located). Potential submitters please note: because HPG 2010 is co-located with EGSR this year, the deadlines are very tight after SIGGRAPH notification and quite rigid. In other words, if your SIGGRAPH submission is rejected, you will have a very short time to revise and submit to HPG (i.e., by April 2nd).
  • NVIDIA has put up a list of talks at GDC in which it is participating, which will undoubtedly appear soon after on the web. In other NVIDIA news, there’s an interesting press release about NVIDIA and Avatar and how GPUs were used in precomputation of occlusion using ray tracing, for scenes with billions of polygons.
  • A handy tool for showing frame rate and capturing screenshots and video that is worth a mention again (it’s buried on the Resources page): FRAPS. It’s been around forever, continues to improve, and the basic version is free.
  • Crytek made an updated version of the famous Sponza model (used in many global illumination papers) available in OBJ and 3DS Max formats, along with textures. If you have the time, in theory 99 lines of code will make a picture for you.
  • Stefan Gustavson has a nice little demo of using distance fields for “perfect” text rendering. This type of technique has been used for a number of years in various games, such as Valve’s Team Fortress 2. The demo unfortunately falls apart when you rotate the scene off-axis, but otherwise is lovely.
  • SUBSTANCE is an application for making 3D evolutionary art. I really need more time on my hands to check this sort of tool out…
  • Theory for the day: we don’t have fur because our skin can show our emotions, which we pick up with our improved color perception.

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There’s been some great stuff lately:

  • Gustavo Oliveira has an article in Gamasutra about writing an efficient cross-platform SIMD vector library and the tradeoffs involved. The last page was of particular interest, as I had wondered how effective the Intel C++ Compiler (ICC) was vs. Microsoft’s. He also provides downloadable source code and in-depth statistics.
  • NVIDIA has given some information abour Fermi, their next GPU. Warning: their page will automatically start some audio – annoying. You could just skip to the white paper. One big deal about Fermi is its support of doubles, which means it can be used for more science & engineering number-crunching. The Tech Report has a good overview article of other interesting features, and also presents benchmarking results.
  • Tests of OpenCL, the platform-independent parallel programming standard, have started to appear for AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.
  • Speaking of NVIDIA, their PhysX engine is getting some attention. The first video clip in this article gives a sense of the sorts of effects it can add. Pretty stuff, but the funny thing about PhysX is that it must accelerate computations that do not actually affect gameplay (i.e. it should not move around any objects in the scene differently than non-PhysX machines). This limits its use to particle systems and other eye candy. Not a diss—heck, most game graphics are about eye candy—but something to keep in mind.
  • Naty pointed out an article about how increasing the number of megapixels in a camera is just salesmanship and gains no actual benefit. The author later gives more explanation of his argument, which is that diffraction puts a physical limit on the useful size of a pixel for a given camera size.
  • Sony Pictures Imageworks has released a draft describing their Open Shading Language (OSL). While aimed at high-end rendering for films, it’s interesting to see what is built-in (e.g. deferred ray tracing) and what they consider important. Read the introduction for more information, or the draft itself.
  • My favorite infographic of the week: Avatar vs. Modern Warfare 2. Ignore the weird chartjunk concentric circles, focus on the numbers. The most amazing stat to me is the $200M advertising budget for MW2.

… and that’s seven; more later.

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