Back in Feb we had a little chin wag about the mad dash of annual graphics hardware launches slowing to a saunter. We can add a little more flesh to the bones of that story this week, with some pretty plausible looking details of Nvidia’s upcoming plans – and further confirmation of nothing new from AMD. It’s worth a quick dip into the mucky waters of rumour for anyone pondering a GPU upgrade or a generally a new rig as some new kit – of sorts – is imminent. Read the rest of this entry »
Also, wow. NVIDIA aren’t the only ones doing remarkable things with videogame faces – Activision have their own take on a very similar real-time rendering concept – and indeed using the same bald, parfait-obsessed character. This is apparently all done on current hardare – a GeForce 680 can muster it at 120FPS, they say, although obviously that’s without anything else being rendered. More impressively, Activision R&D are demonstrating this face-sim at GDC, using a two-year-old laptop, whereas NVIDIA talked about their own tech needing a GeForce Titan. I don’t own a GeForce Titan. I might have mentioned that once or twice.
If you aren’t at the show, you can watch this surprising video. I should warn you that the phrase ‘frozen fruit’ may take on faintly nightmarish associations for the rest of your natural life. Read the rest of this entry »
Bit late with this installment due to a near-death experience with pharyngitis. But that’s actually allowed a few things shake out into the public domain. And the overall upshot is that PC hardware took an odd turn this week. The launch of a new high end GPU from NVIDIA really only served to confirm 2013 looks odds on for slim to no progress in graphics technology. More than that, it’s basically the end of the graphics refresh cycle as we know it. Sounds grim, but actually means now is a great time to buy a new pixel pumper. Meanwhile, Dell wheels out a crazy 21:9 aspect ultra-wide display and ye olde graphics benchmarks get an update.Read the rest of this entry »
Hey, you there. Yes, you! Do you have eyes? Do you enjoy looking at things? Well then, your precious peepers might’ve crossed paths with Epic’s Unreal Engine – for instance, in every game ever. Eyes, though, are perhaps the most treacherous of all face real estate tenants. They sight a new object of affection, cause your heart to palpitate and your mouth to transform into a sloppy stew of saliva, and then – five minutes later – it’s all old hat. Fortunately, then, there are always new graphics, as Epic explained…
Shhh. Deep breaths. In, hold it, HOLD IT, and out. Ah. Now you’ll feel like me. It might be because it’s Friday and I’m a bit tired, but I felt myself relaxing watching Crytek’s CryEngine 3 demonstration. I love graphics, because without them games are all words and stuff and you can’t shoot a word in the face, so I’m predisposed to start drooling over meaningless advances in tech and their associated sizzle videos. But this one, with the waves and the bizarre music, was like a tessellated pillow. I drifted away, barely noticing the noble fish thing until I realised the video has stopped playing half an hour ago. When I rewatched it: WTF? So: what the hell is that fish thing? Read the rest of this entry »
You might remember that a year ago we posted about the Unlimited Detail graphics engine, which is apparently based on a system called “point cloud data”, which is a step beyond polygon rendering into a miraculous world of infinite geometry. The claims caused quite a stir, but then the technology promptly vanished. The claims that it was vapourware all along are being addressed by a new video from the company behind the idea, Euclideon, in which they claim to be back, Back, BACK! And demonstrate it with a new video.
I’m a nightmare on holidays and press trips. Beforehand I’m plunged into panic – what if I get bored? However shall I cope with an idle moment? I suspect it’s a side-effect of that curiously modern condition Jim comments on – I spend so much of my every day so connected to this constant flow of information and entertainment that the idea of going without it for even a few hours is distressing.
So, on any trip, my hand-luggage is stuffed with more entertainment than I could possibly require – thee or four books, a magazine, an iPod heavy with music and video, a DS, a PSP and a laptop. Just barely enough to survive the flight – but what if it doesn’t get me through a week in a fascinating foreign city? For Chrissakes Meer, just go outside. What’s really ludicrous is that I don’t need this sack of technology. I just need the laptop. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s worth taking a few minutes to watch this art-design trailer for Team Fortress 2. It references influences such as the phenomenon of increased recognition through caricatured silhouettes, as pioneered by early 20th century commercial illustration, and the background plates from Hayao Miyazaki animations. It gets a bit technical towards them end, but it gives you some idea about the layers of technology that are being artistically smoothed on to games like this. In videogames like TF2 art and science really do meet to give us the best of both worlds.
Team Fortress 2, like World Of Warcraft, isn’t going to age particularly quickly. Unlike games that reach for realistic visuals, these more abstract, stylised graphical themes do not lose much to the ongoing race for visual fidelity. The understand their visual systems, and are just fine with them, thankyouverymuch. Perhaps TF2 could even be a turning point for art design in PC gaming – proving that the tech developed in the last few years does not have to be put to use creating increasingly realistic people and worlds – because what really matters is character, personality, and easily comprehensible environments, and not a really life-like space-soldier.