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We’ve been reworking our books page to take longer to download, I mean, to be more visually interesting and readable. Honestly, the old one was a dense, hard to view pile of book titles. Just adding whitespace between titles is a plus. We’ve also added one book to the recommended list, Eric Lengyel’s math book. Anyway, go check it out. On our main resources page we’ve put all the free books online into one section.

There are some new books coming out that look interesting. For those of you going to GDC, there should be some worthwhile offerings to check out on the floor.

The Programming Massively Parallel Processors book by Kirk (Chief Scientist at NVIDIA) and Hwu (professor at U. of Illinois) is out by now, as of 3 days ago, and is currently sold out on Amazon. It’s undoubtedly derived from the course they co-taught at Illinois. CUDA and Tesla are the keywords here. Hwu’s current course lectures are here and here; I don’t know how they compare to the book, but these newer (non-Kirk) lectures seem more general. I look forward to learning more about this volume—if you have it, please do leave a comment (or better yet, a review on Amazon).

Wolfgang Engel and all have a new book out, GPU Pro. He’s using a new publisher, so it does not have the ShaderX name, but effectively is ShaderX 8. Finally, the book is color throughout vs. previous ShaderX’s. I’ve skimmed some of the articles, and it’s in the same vein as others in the series: a range from practical advice to wild ideas. I can just about guarantee that professional interactive graphics programmers will find something of interest—I found about 5 articles off the bat I want to read through, and plenty of others I should at least skim. More info at the blog for this book.

Game Programming Gems 8 adds to this long-lived series. I haven’t seen it yet, so no comments; Adam Lake’s blog may give updates on status, contents, etc. This series has slowly drifted to including much more non-graphical material over the years. Understandable, but Adam’s someone I think as a graphics guy, so I’m selfishly hoping for more graphics and less the other stuff. My view on collection books like ShaderX and this is simple: an hour of a programmer’s time is about the same as the cost of a book, so if the book saves an hour, it’s paid for itself. Of course, there’s the time cost of reading the articles of interest, but still…

Second editions have been announced for Physically Based Rendering Techniques and High Dynamic Range Imaging. PBRT is more offline rendering oriented, but is a great book because it takes a stand; the authors say what they do for a real system and why they made that choice, vs. listing all possible techniques. It also presents about the longest literate programming presentation published. I have a short review of the first edition. The HDRI book is nice in that it pulls together the various research articles out there into one place, with a coherent thread to it all. The second edition’s new material is described on its Amazon page.

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In January, AMD and OToy announced Fusion Render Cloud, a centralized rendering server system which would perform rendering tasks for film and even games, compressing the resulting video and sending it over the internet.  In March, OnLive announced a similar system, but for the entire game, not just rendering.  Now NVIDIA has announced another cloud rendering system, called RealityServer, running on racks of Tesla GPUs (presumably using Fermi in future iterations).  This utilizes the iray ray tracing system developed by mental images, who also make mental ray (mental images has been owned by NVIDIA since 2007).

The compression is going to be key, since it has to be incredibly fast, extremely low bit rate and very high quality for this to work well.  I’m a bit skeptical of cloud rendering at the moment but maybe all these companies (and investors) know something I don’t…

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