John Carmack on Ideal Graphics

April 24th, 2001 by Crusader

Voodoo Extreme contactedid Software’s John Carmack to askwhat he hopes to see in future 3D graphics chipsets:

My critical issue list has stayed constant for a while:

Higher precision color formats.Solving the temporary problem.Flexible dependent texture reads.Virtualized graphics address space.

I am confident that we will be getting 64 bit color formats in some cards next year.

It doesn’t seem like there is a wonderful solution to the temporary problem, but next gen cards are going to have enough temporaries that dropping back to full screen buffers (possibly with software tiling or striping) for the overflow cases may be reasonable.

The dependent texture reads are there in GF3 if you degenerate to simple rendering. I expect next generation hardware to have completely flexible implementations.

Virtualizing the graphics address space seems to be gated on Microsoft’s unwillingness to properly fix the AGP interface and management. I think they should go ahead and do it even if they can only use 66mhz PCI reads for it, but that is clearly suboptimal.

Carmack made a large .plan update a year ago in which he explains the rationale for 64 color bits in detail.

5 Responses to “John Carmack on Ideal Graphics”

  1. crazney Says:

    and to think im happy in 16bit to get a nice 150-200 fps in linux (q3a, non time-demo).. i think ill stick with that :-)

  2. WCLPeter Says:

    Ummm, I seem to remember reading way back in high-school biology classes that the human eye can’t distinguish any colour changes beyond 24 Bit colour.
    So, what would be the use of having a card that can 64 bits worth of colour. Seems a waste to me.
    Petey Pete…

  3. Anonymous Says:

    from what I understand, this is needed for doing scenes where you are making ALOT of passes over the scene to render it. Especially it you have shaders on top of shaders on top of shaders. Every time you pass over it with another shader, the color quality goes down a bit, to to point where a 32bit texture will come out looking like a grainy 8bit texture after being passed over so many times. Doom3 is supposed to do what 30 passes per frame? 10x more then quake3? So starting at 64 bits means you can have it look like 32 bits when its done, instead of starting at 32 and ending at 8.

    Thats my understanding. Feel free to totally disagree and set me straight. My Carmack to English translation skills are not what they used to be.


  4. dash Says:

    Anyone remember “This is Spinal Tap” ? Carmack says he
    hacked it so instead of his colors going from 0.0 to
    1.0, they go from 0.0 to 2.0. I guess he needs that
    extra boost beyond 1.0 :^).

  5. Anonymous Says:

    That from the man whose games just use shades
    of brown anyway? Come on ;)

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