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GeForce FX And More From AGDC 2002 191

Posted by timothy
from the smoother-and-pricier dept.
Mr.Tweak writes "We have posted some coverage from the Australian Game Developers Conference which was held over this past weekend at the Melbourne Convention Center. There you will find information on Sony's PS2 online gaming plans, Sony's PS2 Linux Development Kits, and videos and pictures of nVidia's GeForce FX in action as well as shots of the graphics card and other juicy details."
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GeForce FX And More From AGDC 2002

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  • Drool... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hi_2k (567317) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @10:49PM (#4841406) Journal
    So much gaming, so little time before the slashdot effect kicks in!
    • nVidia (Score:2, Interesting)

      by EggplantMan (549708)
      Personally I don't understand why nVidia is not going to be releasing Linux drivers with their GeForce FX. Granted, nobody who runs Linux buys games that could make use of their card, but it still seems like they're shooting themselves in the foot with this.
  • I prefer Nvidia (Score:3, Redundant)

    by packeteer (566398) <packeteer@subdim ... ion.com minus pi> on Sunday December 08, 2002 @10:52PM (#4841417)
    The drivers for linux are along with Matrox the best you can get. Everything is wonderful with my Geforce 4 under Mandrake 9 and i love it.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Just though you might like to know you have an extra "n" in your sig - its umount, not unmount.
      • by packeteer (566398)
        I know im going to be modded down but i got plenty of karma... How is this funny? I have got at least 50 offtopic replies to my posts since i started using this sig. I know it says "unmount"... why cant you assume im not using bash? There are shells and systems out there that use "unmount". I would change it but i think sometimes its funny when people flame me for not knowing whats going on becuase of my sig.
  • This isn't meant to be a troll, but I've never heard of any game development going on in Australia. Maybe I'm forgetting something here, but I try to keep reasonably up-to-date with these things.

    As a major first-world country, I'm sure they must have produced something noteworthy in the gaming arena. Could someone spare a link or two?
  • by salvius (631820) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:01PM (#4841461)
    While I think that the new GeForce card is constantly showing just how good it is, there is not reason to completely over-exaggerate its capabilities. I hate videos showing one model in a very simplistic scene and being hailed as 'most realistic 3D ever.' For these demos to be realistic, they need to have REAL scenes, with real moving objects. I wish marketing was more honest.
    • i dont think that it is hurting sales though. when it does youll see a change.
    • by Blaede (266638) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:38PM (#4841619)
      Every company that deals in graphics has done it. I've seen this on screens for SNES games, Sega consoles, 3Dfx cards, Intel CPUs, ad nauseum. nVidia didn't create this practice, they merely became the latest in a long series of companies to engage in marketing puffery.
    • Since there trying to appeal to cinematic effects, its a valid demonstration, I presume that they work on individual characters like this to great detail.
    • by Tyreth (523822) on Monday December 09, 2002 @01:33AM (#4842102)
      I was there and saw the demo, and the fairy model was very impressive for computer graphics. The Ogre also.

      However, as for REAL scenes, they also ran the game Stalker with the geforce FX. It looked VERY nice, ran slightly jerky at some parts - something gamers would shudder at - but on the whole very impressive speed for the detail available. Of course, not as realistic as the fairy model, but still very nice.

      So look at the screenshots for that game and imagine it running at perhaps 40-60 fps at a guess, and thats what we saw there. The nVidia guy there said he tried it with a Geforce 4 MX 200 and it ran at around 2-3 fps. Still, that's an MX so not much surprise there.
    • I hate videos showing one model in a very simplistic scene and being hailed as 'most realistic 3D ever.'

      Most of those videos are technology demos and are designed to show off specific aspects of the GPU. Placing the effects in the context of a realistic scene is the duty of those who develop the 3D apps. I'd rather see that a card can do some thing new and see how well it can do it rather than watch a video chock full of polygons and nothing else.

    • It's a completely honest demo. Just because you write something about their honesty doesn't make it fact. That single character model was very impressive and extremely realistic, the shader model had several parameters being computed in a very complex per pixel skin shader. It is what it is, there was no deception about what you were looking at, a picture speaks a thousand words. Unless you object to what you see what's the point of your complaint? Why is the parent +5 insightful? It's not even fair never mind insightful.
  • PS2 Linux Dev Kits? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stevarooski (121971) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:09PM (#4841500) Homepage
    The real ps2 dev kits already run a linux kernel. Are these like 'lite' versions of the real thing? Are they really aimed at young people? If so, then they better come with some good debugging software, since the machine is only half the battle! The program I've used is made by a company called ProDG, and is prohibitively expensive. However, its an indispensable tool.

    Incidently, PS2 dev kits are *very* cool to work with--much better than the NGC dev kits, and they lock up less than the XBOX dev kits (by this, I mean its harder to freeze them so that they can't be rebooted remotely). All in all a good experience to work with. However, they are also very expensive. By trying to make them more accessible, Sony will definitely lengthen the lifespan of the PS2.
    • These Linux kits are the hobbyist kits that turn any PS2 into a Linux workstation. Their primary purpose is amateur game development, but you can do other things with them. The hardware consists of an ethernet only version of the Network adapter, 40GB HD, monitor cable (for SOG monitor, though you don't have to have one. you can use the kit with a TV), PS2 branded USB keyboard and mouse. It's a Red Hat based distro, 2.2.1 kernel (with some backported USB support), though you can download a 2.2.21 kernel for the kit. It really is a typical (older) distro, you've got your console, X, KDE, Gnome, Windowmaker, GIMP, plus some PS2 specific stuff for game development. You can also attempt to compile standard Linux apps, which may or may not work. Mozilla doesn't work, but Abiword, Gaim, and Xchat do. For more info, visit http://playstation2-linux.com
    • I'm not sure if the Linux for PlayStation 2 that they were advertising at the AGDC is the dev kit.

      I have the brochure here...
      The Kit Includes...
      * 40GB internal Hard Disk Drive
      * 10/100 Base-T Network Adaptor (Ethernet) - allows connection of Playstation 2 to the internet or home network
      * Computer moniter cable with audio connectors
      * USB keyboard and mouse
      * Linux (for Playstation 2) version 1.0 software on 2 DVD rom discs - The Linux operating system Kernel version 2.2.1 and run time environment, technical documentation, compilers, and software installation manual.

      Basicly it turns a PS2 into a linux box. Which would be nice to run those game servers off at LANs

      www.playstation2-linux.com for more info
    • by strags (209606)
      No - the PS2 Linux kit is basically a keyboard, hard-drive and ethernet adapatr, plus a version of Linux on DVD. It runs on a standard PS2.

      The official devkits (TOOLs) consist of a PC and a PS2 in the same box. The PC runs Linux, and handles code download/debugging between the PS2 and the developer's PC. The PS2 doesn't run Linux.

      The Linux kit is cool to start developing on, provided you're not a novice - Sony provides 90% of the official PS2 docs, as well as a bunch of sample code. If you want to learn how to throw DMA chains at the vector units, it's a good start. Unfortunately, gdb is about as sophisticated a debugger as you're going to get. Also, there's no mechanism provided for debugging the vector units. Bear in mind we're talking about relatively low-level code here.

      Another big problem is that since Linux is a virtual memory environment, your DMA chains have to be pre-processed by the kernel in order to translate all the virtual memory addresses to physical ones, which basically means your code will never be as fast as it would be on a TOOL, or a PS2 without Linux.

      Oh yes - one other thing - the TOOLs have 128MB of RAM, the real PS2's only have 32MB.
      • Another big problem is that since Linux is a virtual memory environment, your DMA chains have to be pre-processed by the kernel in order to translate all the virtual memory addresses to physical ones, which basically means your code will never be as fast as it would be on a TOOL, or a PS2 without Linux.

        As a side note, I managed to get some 5-10% speedup from just converting a fairly DMA active graphics application from PS2 Linux to the real thing. My application had quite large DMA lists and when "benchmarking" I prebuilt them, just to see how much effect the kernel really has. Looking from the sources, it's kinda sad; the libs first breaks down the packets to a custom kernel format, then the kernel builds them up again.

        But I hear there's coming a patch to the PS2 that will update the DMA speed near to the real thing (as I understand it, it overrides the kernel).
        • This kernel patch (or is it a module? I'm not sure, haven't played with it yet) is already out, released within the past week. I've been doing most of my development on the RTE via redboot so as to avoid the restrictions placed by the Linux kernel (DMA chain packet rebuilding, primarily), but this I may have to look into.

          What I'd really like to see is a slimmed-down version of the real PS2 kernel, including a network stack, file I/O, and basic threading, but without things like virtual memory and filesystem caching to get in the way.
    • If you wish to find out a bit more and couldn't make AGDC for whatever reason you can still catch them in Melbourne if you're quick. Read on for details taken from the Linux Users of Victoria webpage [luv.asn.au]

      On Tuesday 10th of December at 7pm, LUV will be holding a
      meeting on programming for linux on Playstation 2 hardware.
      It will be presented by Sarah Ewen, from Sony.

      This talk should be similar to the one given on Sunday at
      11 am at the Australian Game Developers Conference
      http://www.agdc.com.au/sched.php [agdc.com.au].

      The address is the same as where the programmers SIG normally
      hold their meetings.

      myinternet
      Level 8, Blackwood House
      14-20 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
      Melway reference: 2B 9A

      All welcome.
  • Argh!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:11PM (#4841508)
    I'm just getting over my gaming addiction, you insensitive clod!
  • Linking to forums (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mage Powers (607708) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:12PM (#4841522) Homepage
    I thought we had realised that linking to forums is a bad idea... ahh well.
  • Whoa! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ekrout (139379) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:20PM (#4841544) Journal
    People, this is a big card. I mean, wow. Seriously.

    I heard from NVIDIA folks that the requirements for powering this monster were originally reported to be within AGP power budget but that's simply not true anymore. It was just confirmed that GeForce FX requires an auxiliary power supply such as ATI's 9700 Pro.

    As if that's not enough, the GeForce FX also requires an extra slot.

    But trust me, my friends/fans/foes -- I've played the latest games on this thing at a few private screenings with friends I have in the industry, and I assure you that this FX card simply will not dissappoint!
    • Re:Whoa! (Score:1, Funny)

      by cribb (632424)
      next thing nVidia will think of is connecting your freezer and your vacuum cleaner to the intake/exhaust vents respectively. but hey, its not that bad, its only that when you power Quake up, the lights in the whole street go dim...
  • Another video (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MagPulse (316) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:21PM (#4841545)
    Here's a video [www.giga.de] where an NVidia engineer has a GF FX running two demos. It crashes twice, once taking the whole system down for a reboot.
    • Stupid mozilla, downloaded this as a web page. Wonder if i should cut 'n' paste or just start again?

      Bugger it, i'll just start again...
  • MMORGASM (Score:5, Funny)

    by xigxag (167441) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:24PM (#4841562)
    The day that these cards can realistically render the naked human body in real-time motion is fast approaching. At which point, judging by the history of cable TV, the VCR and the DVD, these $500 videocard monstrosities will go flying off the shelves.
    • Yeah, and life will be all like Weird Science, when you can alter the porno flick on the fly for breast or other sizes just by pressing a button.

      When you can have all the porn you want, what's the challenge gonna be? Actually go out the front door? :-)
  • Lag Lag Lag Lag LAG! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by coloth (630330) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:24PM (#4841563)
    I recently replaced my GeForce2 MX with a GeForce4 Ti 4200. I have a P3-1000.

    Of course, the first thing I did was to download some of the NVidia demos, so I could witness the awesome power of my new card. I was especially interested in the wolfman demo.

    Well, it was spectacular. You could drive him around, make his hair longer or shorter, change the lighting, etc... And the characterization was lightyears beyond anything in Dungeon Siege, Warcraft III, or any other current game.

    Then, I hit escape, and I was back to reality.

    That was three or four months ago. Realistically, I imagine I'll have to wait until Doom III, maybe 5 or 6 months more, before I can actually play a game which will take advantage of a non-trivial part of my new GPU's power.

    How long will it be before an FX board will be taxed by a new game?

    If people will pay $399 for a state of the art card, I suggest that some game publisher consider developing a game at the $199 or $249 price point which will really take advantage of these cards.

    Otherwise, the best we can hope for is a few more frames of the same ugly polygons.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday December 09, 2002 @12:25AM (#4841803)
      That's actually one of the idea behing nVidia's whole CG thing. Allow developers to easily develop a game that can take advantage of teh latest features, but still runs just fine on older hardware. Now how well it will work and catch on is another matter, but it gives hope for quicker support of new technology.
      • That's actually one of the idea behing nVidia's whole CG thing.

        Yeah, that is a very cool technology. As I understand it, it maps to an equivalent pixel shader language in DirectX 9 (but I think it goes further than DirectX).

        Well, what I've heard is that it will make it much easier for developers to take advantage of the GPU's features, and I guess those elements just wouldn't run on an older card.

        It's good in the long run, but after spending $200 on my new card, I guess I won't get the benefits until sometime down the road.

    • Realistically, I imagine I'll have to wait until Doom III, maybe 5 or 6 months more, before I can actually play a game which will take advantage of a non-trivial part of my new GPU's power.

      So? Now the question is, how long before most gamers realize this? Right now, he's correct, and it's probably Doom III (or some unknown game) will make this thing a requirement. But, it'll still need to play on older hardware. And either way, by the time that the game comes out, your Geforce will have dropped $100. I'll wait, personally.

      I suggest that some game publisher consider developing a game at the $199 or $249 price point which will really take advantage of these cards.

      Please. Just. Don't. Go. There.

      However, here's a cool idea - pay one of the current "hot" developers to make a small game, something not too terribly difficult, not too terribly deep, but terribly pretty, and bundle it with the card. Make a version available online so people can play and see what their current system shows, along with pics from the Geforce X version. Big potential here, as well as a big potential for cheating - let's make every other non-NV card render it slow. But it could be cool, especially if it's a cool game.
      • Please. Just. Don't. Go. There.

        Bill? Bill Shatner??

        OK, all kidding aside, compared to $50 + $10/mo like most mmorpgs, the numbers aren't that different.

        Just charging $50+$20/mo for a dazzling mmorpg could be one solution: Build a pretty but smallish world at first, then expand it quarterly on the revenue stream. Something like that could limit risk.

        What you're suggesting is interesting, but just basically a toy, I think? Maybe just include some unbelievable screensavers or something, since gamers might blow back at you hard for an "extended demo," unless you were really clear about it.

    • I think this is part of the idea behind nVidia's new Cg. It allows developers to easily scale their games to take advantage of the power of new cards not yet developed.

      I could easily be mistaken though, my understanding of Cg is very, very rudimentry.
    • That was three or four months ago. Realistically, I imagine I'll have to wait until Doom III, maybe 5 or 6 months more, before I can actually play a game which will take advantage of a non-trivial part of my new GPU's power.

      Well how does it work with UT2003 and all the settings up in an intense CTF?

      Really though software follows the same fate it has for a long time. The programmers, cannot program fast enough to keep up with the ever changing hardware. That is just a plain fact, as some one said some posts ago that "It took thousands of years to perfect bridge building and we have only been programming for 50 or so years." We have just touched to beginning of programming and computer use.
      • Well how does it work with UT2003 and all the settings up in an intense CTF?

        I don't play shooters, so I don't have a good idea of how it would do.

        What I was more getting at, though, that, aside from sheer polygons per second, cards are gaining exponentially in the ability to approach true realism by other means (pixel shaders, bump mapping, texture mapping, etc...) which require special code.

        I agree with what you're saying about the complexity of software. New generations of GPUs come out every 6 or 8 months, while a major game can take two years.

        Oh well--I can wait!
    • How long will it be before an FX board will be taxed by a new game?

      This [anandtech.com] is one of the reasons why you need a faster card. 4200 is already overtaxed by UT2003 at 1024x768 with AA enabled.

      The fact that AA can be disabled, and resolutions lowered, doesn't mean that a game can't make use of a faster card!
    • Wow, it would be nice if GeForce 4's could play Doom III when it is finally released. From everything I read about the alpha version, it's barely playable with any current video card (except ATIs 9700 (I think)) unless you reduce all the pretty features. Of course, by the time Doom III comes out, a GFFX shouldn't cost much more than $250.
  • by koko775 (617640) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:31PM (#4841592)
    damn slashdot effect already taking place, so w/o further ado --
    ---

    Introduction - More Hardware Next Year Please

    To be deadly honest with you, the Australian Game Developers Conference which was held over this past weekend at the Melbourne Convention Center was not all that exciting for a strictly hardware junkie like myself.

    However... for an Australian conference, it was very good to see large companies such as Intel, AMD, nVidia, Microsoft, Sony and Creative in your backyard all putting some dollars back into the industry for the benefit of future game development in our good country down under.

    While we did not see it necessary to post any formal coverage, throughout the weekend we did learn a few things of interest for us hardware folks, obviously though much of it was focused toward the gaming industry with no ground-breaking new juicy hardware news to feed you folk with.

    So without further ado, here is some of the interesting bit and pieces I found @ ADGC 2002.

    Please note throughout this thread you can click on each image for a larger version.

    Sony on PS2 - Still Pushing Hard

    - PS2 Online Gaming Service

    First off, at their Delegate Cocktail Party, Sony let a noisy, mostly student dominated crowd of 300 or more know that they will launch their very own online gaming service for the PS2 in Australia sometime during our winter season next year - no in-depth details were given by the speaker battling to sound himself above the crowd.

    This service will compete with Microsoft's Xbox Live online gaming service which should go live in Australia around the same time, we think.

    - PS2 Linux Dev Kit

    Sony were also showing off their PS2 Linux Development kit with the aim of getting more up and coming game developers to learn the art behind programming PS2 games under the Linux OS.

    These kits sell for around $1000 Australian (roughly $500 US).

    nVidia bring beautiful Dawn to our shores!
    (Image: http://www.tweaktown.com/popImg.php?img=agdc02_01l .jpg)
    One of the company stands I thought I would stop by was nVidia where the friendly Steve Burke, Art Director and co from the Santa Clare office in the US of A were showing off their GeForce FX graphics card (to my delight) and CG Graphics engine and development software.

    - The Videos
    (Image: http://www.tweaktown.com/popImg.php?img=agdc02_02l .jpg)
    Now most of us have seen the stunning NV30 videos floating around the Internet over the past month or so. I remember when I first saw these videos and how amazed I was. Seeing the NV30 in action personally impressed me a whole lot more with what the technology is truly capable of - somewhat refreshing my excitement over the new product.
    (Image: http://www.tweaktown.com/popImg.php?img=agdc02_03l .jpg)
    We shot 3 or 4 minutes of our own new video footage of both the Dawn and Ogre demos for your viewing pleasure. To view these AVI files, you will need to download the latest DivX codec from the DivX website.

    You can download both videos here from our servers:
    - Video #1 (Dawn) (10.1mb) (Link: http://www.tweaktown.com/files/nv30dawn.avi)

    - Video #2 (Ogre) (6.7mb) (Link: http://www.tweaktown.com/files/nv30ogre.avi)

    - The Card

    After we shot the videos, I asked if we could get a closer look at the NV30 graphics card. While nVidia refused to power down their systems (fair enough - we cannot take Dawn away from fellow jaw dropped perverts) they did offer to take the sides off one of their three ASUS nForce2 Athlon XP 2700+ powered systems they were demonstrating...

    (Image: http://www.tweaktown.com/popImg.php?img=agdc02_04l .jpg)
    (Image: http://www.tweaktown.com/popImg.php?img=agdc02_05l .jpg)
    (Image: http://www.tweaktown.com/popImg.php?img=agdc02_06l .jpg)

    These shots give us a good idea of just how much space these monsters are going to take up inside our cases. As you can see, the heat pipe cooling technology is going to cover two of your first PCI slots - whether you like it or not, start to get used to the fact guys.

    - Cooling

    While we couldn't see it, the fan cooling the heat pipes was very loud - we are talking almost Delta-like volume levels. Possibly, as we get closer to seeing these cards in retail, nVidia may tweak the cooling systems to a more noise tolerable level - at least I hope so.

    When quizzed by a gamer at the sound levels coming from the back of the card, an nVidia rep was quick to suggest that it wouldn't matter much because gamers would be using headphones during their gaming. Unless the cooling technology has thermal throttling (which it very well may, mind you) I would have to disagree with this notion.

    Say you are listening to music or fragging away with your desktop speakers, the hum of the cooling fan will still be audible since we do not all use headphones.

    - Retail Release Dates

    I ended my discussions with Steve Burke asking when we could except to see the GeForce FX on store shelves.

    He made it clear he was not 100% certain but said we may possibly see a limited supply in stores in the United States toward the very end of this year with supply coming in quantity late January / early February next year.

    Please remember these dates were given to us as ESTIMATES and should be treated as such.

    Conclusion

    Like I said in the introduction, I didn't have a great detail of information to report here. I hope you enjoy the brief coverage I provided in this forum thread.

    Feel free to post your thoughts and comments on anything discussed here.

    Cheers!
  • From the trenches (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smallstepforman (121366) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:41PM (#4841630)
    I attended the conference as a 3 day delegate, so here are some behind the scenes impressions:

    - sessions based on Sony's PS2 were about getting the most out of the hardware - Performace Analysers, better occulsion and culling techniques, utilising the vector processors in parallel etc. Sony were honest enough to admit that the effeciency of their compilers weren't that good when it came to parallelisation, and offered suggestions for workarounds - thats what you get from a company supporting a 3 year old product.

    - Microsoft on the other hand, had an excellent promotional team advocating the Xbox. Lets face it, they have newer and better hardware, so they kept on advocating its superiority compared to other consoles. Better development tools, a simpler architecture for developers, better graphics, familiar API's, documentation written in English first, hard drive, 5.1 sound, Unified memory etc. The speakers were very convincing, and made Microsoft seem like your best friend.
    - international speakers included Lars Gustavsson (sp), producer of Battlefield 1942 (he had excellent videos of the lifestyle of DICE developers), Doug Church (ex Ion Storm), Ray Muzyka (BioWare and NeverWinter Nights) and others.
    - exhibitors included nVidia and their new GeForce FX (Hi Brian!! - apparently, saying that you're from nVidia isn't as great a pick up line as geeks might expect), Metrowerks, Intel, Alias, Auran, Sony etc.

    Ofcourse, everyone attends these conferences for the social events afterwards - cocktail, dinner and nerf gun parties. Conferences are a great place to share a beer or two with fellow collegues. Sony handed out condoms shaped like PS2 buttons, Microforte organised an excellent outdoor party on a historic sail ship (though it was very cold and windy for a Melbourne summer night). Everyone had fun, and noone fell over drunk from the ship into the cold water.

    The most striking fact from the conference was examining the behaviour of different programming houses. Infogrammes (Melbourne House) were so big, that they didn't care about anyone else, so they always clustered together. It took a bit of effort to isolate a few of their developers to have a serious 1-1 talk. Ratbag developers seemed like the most compotent of the lot - they know their stuff, and are hungry for success. Watch out for these guys. MicroForte were the loudest at the party, they know how to have a good time. I felt sorry for one of the houses (who I will not name), they were like 'we will code games for food, give us a project, any project'.

    All in all, a very exciting 3 days. Hope to see you all next year in Melbourne.
    • Obviously you missed the comedy that was the "Introducing the X-Box live" session. Which was basicaly a session telling developers that you could trust MS' pre-built libraries for all your X-Box online security needs.
      One valuable tid bid I did get from it though, was that modded X-Boxes won't get blacklisted if they try connecting, just denied until the chip is removed/deactivated. I guess that shoots down that MS conspiricy theory over at The Register [theregister.co.uk].
    • WTF (Score:5, Funny)

      by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Monday December 09, 2002 @02:43AM (#4842320)
      Sony handed out condoms shaped like PS2 buttons

      Okay, I've heard some weird things about Australians, but I had no idea they had dicks shaped like triangles, squares and Xs.

      • by Kris_J (10111)
        Okay, I've heard some weird things about Australians, but I had no idea they had dicks shaped like triangles, squares and Xs.
        Hey, once you've gone down-under you'll never go back.
    • Re:From the trenches (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Troed (102527) on Monday December 09, 2002 @03:21AM (#4842427) Homepage Journal
      Did they mention that most Xbox games do NOT have 5.1 sound?


      Yes I'm serious. Take Halo as an example - the sound effects etc are in 4.1 .. some voice stuff is in the center, that's why it sounds muffled.


      Now try Sega GT .. Splinter Cell .. Morrowind ..


      The center channel is silent.


      It seems that pre-made AC3 streams are sent out ok, but when the Xbox is supposed to create 5.1 from discrete channels produced by the game, it fails.


      (Do NOT answer and say I'm wrong until you've TRIED this .. 5.1 on your receiver, disconnect the fronts if you like .. play some games.)

      • some voice stuff is in the center, that's why it sounds muffled

        That's pure speculation on your part -- I've never noticed it sounding muffled.

        but when the Xbox is supposed to create 5.1 from discrete channels produced by the game, it fails

        This is a known limitation of the HRTF algorithm they're using. I'm pretty sure devs can change so that it'll mix the L/R channels into the front speaker too, but you have to be careful with volume balance issues.
        • It's not specualtion - it's a common complaint from Halo-players that the voices sound muffled and that it's hard to hear the words sometimes.


          Many thanks for the explanation for the mixing though - are you a developer?

    • Sony handed out condoms shaped like PS2 buttons

      When I saw them I grabbed a handfull (thinking of the laughs I'd get back home), although the picture on the front has them looking like the button shapes, they're all just regular rubbers. Maybe it was just the luck of the draw, still a really cool idea though =]

      Microforte organised an excellent outdoor party on a historic sail ship (though it was very cold and windy for a Melbourne summer night). Everyone had fun, and noone fell over drunk from the ship into the cold water.

      It was excellent? Well, props to Micro Forte for putting on the do, but I wouldn't really call it excellent... I mean, 4 hours long... only 5 tins of cat piss plus a vodka slurpee that was more water than ice - no wonder no-one fell overboard whilst drunk! How can you get pissed off just that teensy amount of booze?

      Well, overall I was glad that I went. I learnt some new stuff, met some new people, was brainwashed into wanting a PS2 Linux kit, loved those choc-chip macadamia nut biscuits and free Maya t-shirts. =]

      It's a cool event and I'm looking forward to going again next year. I think I'll fly though, I got a $200 speeding ticket on the way home today for doing 120 in a 100 zone. Damn Victoria to hell for having 100 instead of 110 on loooong, straight, smooth roads like here in SA!
  • by TooTrueTroubs (630665) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:44PM (#4841641)
    I was exhibiting at the AGDC over the weekend. The nVidia stuff was incredible - the most spectacular part of their 3D demo was the trees. First time I've seen real-time rendered trees that looked real and had substance (and lack of substance where necessary!), rather than being a some strange 2D/3D hybrid.

    the Lanfest was just scary. 1000 guys in sleeping bags locked in a room for 48 hours. Day 2 they were bouncing off the walls, mugging old ladies for Jolt cola and trying to make off with my 23" Cinema Display.

    Either that or they were trying to make out with it. Sometimes I wasn't sure.

    • I was one of those lanfest guys :)

      Just a few facts to kill the humor in your post (please forgive me!).
      We weren't locked in. There were only 400 or so of us. The walls weren't very bouncy (we tended to smack into them). And we also wanted to make off with the GeForce FX :) Posters turned out to be the most successful targets to make off with.
  • What? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Locky (608008) on Sunday December 08, 2002 @11:46PM (#4841651) Homepage
    What? No coverage on Romero's talk about project management?
    • nope... (Score:2, Funny)

      by nebenfun (530284)
      Everyone was at 3D Realms project management seminar.

      nbfn
    • From what I hear, that would be because Romero decided not to turn up at the last minute.

      I guess there's only so much shampoo over here, and we didn't have enough for his hair or something

      Regardless, I believe Doug Church took over his spot, and I'd imagine any speech he gave would have been much better than Romero could have given.
      • I guess there's only so much shampoo over here, and we didn't have enough for his hair or something

        Well, looking at the pictures and dates on his server (rome.ro), on Jan 2002 he went from this [www.rome.ro] to this [www.rome.ro]. And I guess one year does not make you grow hair that much :).
  • by brc007 (603602)
    Here's the text of the article [tweaktown.com] 'cause the server seems to be on the vearge of being slashdotted.

    --Informative not off topic! :)


    Introduction - More Hardware Next Year Please

    To be deadly honest with you, the Australian Game Developers Conference which was held over this past weekend at the Melbourne Convention Center was not all that exciting for a strictly hardware junkie like myself.

    However... for an Australian conference, it was very good to see large companies such as Intel, AMD, nVidia, Microsoft, Sony and Creative in your backyard all putting some dollars back into the industry for the benefit of future game development in our good country down under.

    While we did not see it necessary to post any formal coverage, throughout the weekend we did learn a few things of interest for us hardware folks, obviously though much of it was focused toward the gaming industry with no ground-breaking new juicy hardware news to feed you folk with.

    So without further ado, here is some of the interesting bit and pieces I found @ ADGC 2002.

    Sony on PS2 - Still Pushing Hard

    - PS2 Online Gaming Service

    First off, at their Delegate Cocktail Party, Sony let a noisy, mostly student dominated crowd of 300 or more know that they will launch their very own online gaming service for the PS2 in Australia sometime during our winter season next year - no in-depth details were given by the speaker battling to sound himself above the crowd.

    This service will compete with Microsoft's Xbox Live online gaming service which should go live in Australia around the same time, we think.

    - PS2 Linux Dev Kit

    Sony were also showing off their PS2 Linux Development kit with the aim of getting more up and coming game developers to learn the art behind programming PS2 games under the Linux OS.

    These kits sell for around $1000 Australian (roughly $500 US).

    nVidia bring beautiful Dawn to our shores!

    One of the company stands I thought I would stop by was nVidia where the friendly Steve Burke, Art Director and co from the Santa Clare office in the US of A were showing off their GeForce FX graphics card (to my delight) and CG Graphics engine and development software.

    - The Videos

    Now most of us have seen the stunning NV30 videos floating around the Internet over the past month or so. I remember when I first saw these videos and how amazed I was. Seeing the NV30 in action personally impressed me a whole lot more with what the technology is truly capable of - somewhat refreshing my excitement over the new product.

    We shot 3 or 4 minutes of our own new video footage of both the Dawn and Ogre demos for your viewing pleasure. To view these AVI files, you will need to download the latest DivX codec from the DivX website.

    You can download both videos here from our servers:

    - Video #1 (Dawn) (10.1mb) [tweaktown.com]

    - Video #2 (Ogre) (6.7mb) [tweaktown.com]

    UPDATE - New Download Mirrors

    Overclockers Australia were kind enough to mirror both of these videos...

    - Video #1 (Dawn) from OCAU (10.1mb) [overclockers.com.au]

    - Video #2 (Ogre) from OCAU (6.7mb) [overclockers.com.au]

    - The Card

    After we shot the videos, I asked if we could get a closer look at the NV30 graphics card. While nVidia refused to power down their systems (fair enough - we cannot take Dawn away from fellow jaw dropped perverts) they did offer to take the sides off one of their three ASUS nForce2 Athlon XP 2700+ powered systems they were demonstrating...

    [pictures here]

    These shots give us a good idea of just how much space these monsters are going to take up inside our cases. As you can see, the heat pipe cooling technology is going to cover two of your first PCI slots - whether you like it or not, start to get used to the fact guys.

    - Cooling

    While we couldn't see it, the fan cooling the heat pipes was very loud - we are talking almost Delta-like volume levels. Possibly, as we get closer to seeing these cards in retail, nVidia may tweak the cooling systems to a more noise tolerable level - at least I hope so.

    When quizzed by a gamer at the sound levels coming from the back of the card, an nVidia rep was quick to suggest that it wouldn't matter much because gamers would be using headphones during their gaming. Unless the cooling technology has thermal throttling (which it very well may, mind you) I would have to disagree with this notion.

    Say you are listening to music or fragging away with your desktop speakers, the hum of the cooling fan will still be audible since we do not all use headphones.

    - Retail Release Dates

    I ended my discussions with Steve Burke asking when we could except to see the GeForce FX on store shelves.

    He made it clear he was not 100% certain but said we may possibly see a limited supply in stores in the United States toward the very end of this year with supply coming in quantity late January / early February next year.

    Please remember these dates were given to us as ESTIMATES and should be treated as such.

    Conclusion

    Like I said in the introduction, I didn't have a great detail of information to report here. I hope you enjoy the brief coverage I provided in this forum thread.

    Feel free to post your thoughts and comments on anything discussed here.

  • Mirror (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I am trying to mirror the images and videos here:

    http://magnus.infidyne.com/nvidia/

    If you do not find everything there now, it will be there ASAP.. ;)
  • Noise and Slots (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chunkwhite86 (593696) on Monday December 09, 2002 @12:29AM (#4841818)
    I'm not sure I like the noise level the fan on this card makes. I like a Quiet PC. Or at least one that doesnt sound like a vacuum cleaner.

    And I definitely don't like the fact that it occupies two PCI slots. I knew this was coming sooner or later as most SGI video adapters are about as thick as two PCI slots. I'm talking about the video adapters in the MIPS workstations (Octane and such). I simply don't have room in my case for this card if it takes two PCI slots.

    Hopefully someone will come up with an aftermarket watercooling solution for this card that would get rid of the noise and hopefully fit in one PCI slot.

    Just my two cents.
    • Re:Noise and Slots (Score:4, Informative)

      by Max von H. (19283) on Monday December 09, 2002 @06:04AM (#4842827) Homepage
      Whilst I admit to this thing being a monster, both in performances and in sheer cubic space, I don't think the size of the beast will matter much.

      I believe most of these cards will go in new (or very recent) systems which already have lan/sound/USB/1394 on the motherboard, reducing or even eliminating the need for extra PCI cards. Heck, even if the GeForce FX car eats up one PCI slot, you still got at least 4 of them left free, more than enough to host a better soundcard, a scsi controller, a video capture card...

      Recent cards like the GF4Ti600 already have huge heatsinks with fans that make it a risky decision to plug a card in the PCI slot next to them, unless you want to cut the air from flowing to your GPU. I haven't heard any complaints about it so far, eh. I guess the gamers who invest in such cards don't fill-up their cases by populating all of their PCI slots...

      Anyway, I'm pretty sure we'll see a smaller/cooler version of the card within 6 months or so that will make this whole conversation obsolete...

      Cheers,
      max
  • Here's a list of links to the award winners from AGDC (for games from Australian Game Developers only)

    I'm pretty sure this list is correct, there's no official list at the AGDC Awards site [agdc.com.au] yet:

    Award for Outstanding Innovation:
    Micro Forte Big World Technology [microforte.com.au]

    Best New Start-Up:
    Evolution Games [evolutiongames.com]

    Best Game of 2002
    + Best Game for Next Generation Consoles
    + Award for Outstanding Visual Arts
    + Best Game Audio
    + Award for Programming Excellence
    Grand Prix Challenge [infogrames.com.au]

    Best Game for PC
    + Best Game Design
    Freedom Force [myfreedomforce.com]

    Best Game for Game Boy Advance:
    Duke Nukem Advance [3drealms.com]

    Best Character Design:
    Ty the Tasmanian Tiger [kromestudios.com]

    Best Level Design:
    Hotwheels Bash Arena (don't know a link for this)

    Best Unsigned Game:
    Wicked Witch Software [wicked-witch.com.au] I don't know the game name, but it wasn't their Mary-Kate & Ashley game [wicked-witch.com.au] :-)

  • Pon Chaleune
    Conference Manager
    Pon is a Bachelor of Arts in Tourism graduate from the University of Canberra and brings
    to this role over six years experience in the meetings industry.


    The "meetings industry"?
    That is SO Monty Python-esque its funny.

    "We're having a meeting"
    "No we're not"
    "Yes we are"
    "No we're not"
  • Why post news of your own content if your site can't handle the Slashdotting?

    There should be a formal Slashdot guideline that if the server has not handled the slashdot effect in the past posting of your own content should not be permitted. Of course that wouldn't keep out the punters but it's certainly no fun to see "valuable" Slashdot comments on content that you can't visit.

    This is the second time in the last few weeks that Tweaktown has done this. First with the system tweaking post and now with this. Neither could be visited for 24 hours after the Slashdot news story was posted. Sad, just sad.
  • ...videos and pictures of nVidia's GeForce FX in action...

    Wow. Pictures and video. It's a printed circuit board. I suppose that the video will show all kinds of hot fan action.

  • by zardie (111478) on Monday December 09, 2002 @01:52AM (#4842173) Homepage
    Alongside the AGDC, there was an event called the AGDC LANfest.

    It was interesting to see the reaction of the developers as they walked through the LANning area, the main response being "What on earth is this?". Maybe that's why some games have rather lame LAN netcode. As for sleeping arrangements, there wasn't any sleeping permitted in the venue. Some of the LAN admins got no sleep at all (I just woke up from a 13 hour sleep).

    The cocktail party was cool - all over 18 attendees of the LAN event could attend, too, and enjoy the merits of free beer and mingle with the developers.

    I did have a look at the nVidia stand, in fact, I saw the tweaktown guys pass through while I was there, taking their snaps. Yes, the GeforceFX takes up two slots and the fan isn't exactly quiet either.

    The LANfest is our last event before the Big Day In.
  • http://www.datacomm.ch/hardyearbook/tweaktown_nv30 dawn.avi mirrored for your enjoyment
  • Whoever said the nvidia linux drivers are "about the best you can get" is smoking crack.

    I'm using the latest drivers from their web site, and X server crashes are a daily occurance for me.

    I've tried their redhat RPM's, I've tried building the source RPM's, I've tried using older versions of the driver.... Nada.

    My system is rock solid stable and will run for months w/o a reboot with a load average of 6. However, graphic apps like movie players and 3d games will crash my Xserver. My case ambient temps are just a few degrees above room temp with all the fans I have installed. I've even tried returning my Ti4200 and trying a different card just in case something was wrong with it.

    Never used to happen EVER with my MAtrox G400. Don't get me wrong - I love the performance of my Ti4200 - I just hate the crap drivers.

    Nvidia, if your listening: Thanks for supporting Linux, my favorite OS, but please improve the stability of your drivers!!!
    • Re:nvidia drivers (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tim C (15259)
      I'm sorry to hear of the problems you've had, but my experience is almost exactly the opposite. I run NVidia's drivers on Mandrake 9 on my Linux box at work, and it's rock steady.

      I don't do a great deal of graphics-intensive stuff, but do generally play a few rounds of either Unreal Tournament or RtCW each working day (after hours, of course). I've not once had a crash, although occasionally KDE's screen locking button stops working after playing...
    • Stab in the dark here, but it could be a power thing. Ever since the Geforce1 Nvidia cards have had a tendency to suck down copious amounts of electricity. If your power supply is less than 300 watts (especially if you are also running an Athlon cpu), it could be the culprit.

      That isn't meant as a flame. I am very happy with the Geforce3 Ti200 in my system and my next cpu will be AMD.

  • heyhey...i've check your photos of the GeforceFX and can see 2 PCI slots occupied by the pipe cooling under the card/agp slot !!! Anyway to have more infos about the cooling system ??? Are all videocards going to get such solution facing the ever increasing power ?!! Can't wait to have one of these in my hands...whoua !
  • The don't play on Linux with Xine, with whatever codecs come with it.

    On my XP system, WMP 8 gets an error trying to download the necessary codecs. I downloaded the latest codec package from MS and installed them all, and they still won't play.

    The media player on Win98 also doesn't come with the right codec.

    When making a video to show off your stuff, wouldn't it be a good idea to actually use a widely available format?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I for one, and getting tired of seeing Mr_Tweak posting news that points to his own web site.

    I have no doubt that there are quite a few other sites whose articles are just as worthy as Tweak's, but the webmasters of those sites are not allowed to repeatedly pimp their own sites.

    If Tweak is so much better than other sites like it, why doesn't Slashdot just add them to the headlines box in the lower right side and be done with it?

    Smells like a tuna boat that's been on the beach for a week.

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