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John Carmack Discuss Mega Texturing 313

An anonymous readers writes in to say that "id Software has introduced a new technology dubbed Mega Texturing that will allow graphic engines to render large textures and terrains in a more optomized way while also making them look better. Gamer Within has Q & A with John Carmack on Mega Texturing."
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John Carmack Discuss Mega Texturing

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  • by Walter Carver (973233) on Monday May 15, 2006 @10:49AM (#15334472) Homepage
    It may be insignificant, but I accidently saw two relative commands in Doom3, r_showMegaTexture and r_megaTextureLevel.
  • Re:Ah, but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tx (96709) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:01AM (#15334565) Journal
    The graphics are good enough already.

    Speak for yourself. When I can't tell the difference between a rendered character and a live one, then I'll start wondering if graphics are approaching "good enough". Of course better physics and AI is also necessary to improve immersiveness, but there's no way I'd say graphics need no further improvements anytime soon.
  • Genius (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GmAz (916505) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:06AM (#15334606) Journal
    John Carmack is a Genius in the gaming industry. Quake 3 was by far the best game of its time. Unreal Tournament was fun, but it just wasn't Quake 3. I hope he continues to be innovative and keep the gaming industry steaming forward, and maybe create a few more games thats never been done before.
  • by EvanED (569694) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `denave'> on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:07AM (#15334608)
    Mega and mega are not the same thing

    Really? What's the difference?

    keep the spelling the same if you mean to refer to the same thing

    Camel casing is an exception to this rule. Making it so that the M at the "beginning" of the identifier was caps would break consistency with other identifiers. And unless there really is a distinction between Mega and mega, and both had meanings within the code, I think the latter is more important.
  • So how long ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yeremein (678037) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:14AM (#15334668)
    ... before Creative Labs asserts a patent over this?
  • On Carmack (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:14AM (#15334670)
    Carmack is really good as a person who pushes teh technology.

    As a game developer, though, it's just not there. anytime I hear about an id game now, I just wait until someone brings out a truly great game using the engine that Carmack has developed.

    Seriously - let's review teh last few: Doom3? Enter room. Kill. Lights go out. Kill more. Repeat. Q3A? See also: UT Q2? See Q1. then the origin Doom games. Then Wolfenstein.

    id software make great tech demos. Not great games. Beyond the engine, id's games do nothing that hasn't been seen in all the other clones. They get a pass on gameplay though, strictly on name.
  • Re:Ah, but (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Neoprofin (871029) <neoprofinNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:17AM (#15334695)
    I played TFC and CS for years with a 1000+ ping until they introduced the 1.6 netcode which basically ended my ability to play period.

    It's funny to see how far connections have come since then, and what people now deam as unacceptable.
  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:25AM (#15334760) Homepage Journal
    High quality graphics are great, unless in the process the quality of the game ( story, environment, gameplay, etc) is forgotten. I would rather average graphics and great game-play, over average game-play and great graphics.
  • Re:Genius (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Neoprofin (871029) <neoprofinNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:26AM (#15334769)
    That's right, why would you want to buy UT which had 7 gameplay modes out of the box and bots that weren't either retarded or cheating, not to mention the easiest mod switching system of seen to date in mutators; when I could have the "innovative" perfection of Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch?

    The modding community filled the gap eventually, but that's not points for Q3, that's points for all of the dedicated people who were upset by the lack of options in that fanboy love-fest.

    Sorry if I sound bitter about it, but I can recount back to the days when PC Gamer stated, more or less in its review that UT was vastly superior to Q3 in every imaginable way, and then gave it a lower score and handed the editors choice to Q3 instead. They were flooded with mail but never really could explian whose bathwater they were drinking when they either wrote a review that was too good or a score that was too low. I suspect a rolled up wad of hundreds under the table and nothing more.
  • Re:Genius (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ekarderif (941116) <benjamin...feng@@@gmail...com> on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:26AM (#15334772)
    Okay first of all, let's examine the FPSs that came out in '99:
    • Quake 3 Arena
    • Unreal Tournament
    • System Shock 2
    Clearly, System Shock 2 is the best of its time. Wait, what about adjacent years?
    • Blood 2
    • Half-Life
    • Sin
    • Shogo: Mobile Armor Division
    • Thief: The Dark Project
    • Unreal
    • No One Lives Forever
    • Deus Ex
    Oh crap, a huge list of games, most of which are better than Quake 3.

    Now second, Quake 3 was a brilliant engine. However, there was very little game on top of such a beauty. Looking past the aesthetics, it was the same damn thing as Quake 2. We have a gauntlet, a machinegun, a shotgun, a grenade launcher, a rocket launcher, a railgun, and an uber weapon. And everybody used rocket launchers so it didn't really matter anyways. Tack on deathmatch and CTF and you have yourself a rehashed multiplayer FPS.

    Unreal Tournament had a flurry of guns (I really don't want to list them all), but most importantly, it had unique features. Get tired of domination? There's CTF. Oh wait, CTF is really boring. We have assault. And boy, we have assault.

    Don't get me wrong. Quake 3 was technically superior. Better? Debatable. I'm obviously siding with UT here (I love me assault). But Quake 3... innovative? What the hell?

  • Re:Ah, but (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZeroConcept (196261) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:27AM (#15334775)
    Depends on how ugly the alien is.
  • Yep (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:27AM (#15334778)
    Yeah, but would you really want to shoot or hack and slash a photo-realistic character for fun? That's pretty sick (IMO).

    I want the option. Not specifically for the gore, but to know that level of detail is possible.

  • Re:Ah, but (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xenoandroid (696729) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:30AM (#15334815) Homepage
    Not all games are shoot/hack and slash.

    Just because we become capable of photorealism doesn't mean the technology is going to be applyed that way.

    At the very least, developers might be able to abuse the new tech in a way that lets them spend more time on the other parts of the game.
  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:36AM (#15334871)
    This is neat. It's been a shortcoming I've noticed in most games, where landscape textures tend to be lacking.

    However, what we really need is gameplay innovation. Actually, what we really need is for developers to stop making every last first person game a damn shooter. Can't they do anything else with a first person perspective. The potential here is enormous and yet it looks like developers have a fetish with gunplay.

    There have been games with potentially strong storylines that get mired down by this nonsense. There's little discovery and certainly no problem-solving. These games come down to who has more firepower and occassionally discerning some basic pattern in enemy movement.

    Maybe the problem is that these developers invest so much energy in graphics that there's little room to refine the other aspects of the game. Or they just think that the consumer doesn't want to do anything other than destroy things and kill people.
  • Re:Genius (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bung-foo (634132) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:44AM (#15334946)
    What makes Q3 great is its incredibly simple laser-beam focus. There is almost nothing extraneous in the game. It's like a bonzai tree or a zen rock garden.

    I've played almost every game you listed. Many of them four or five times (some even more) and they all have more story than Q3, a lot of them have more weapons or more game play modes. Some even look better.

    But, Q3 was installed and played almost daily on my computer from the day I bought it (a few weeks after it became available) until about three months ago.

    Q3 is deathmatch and maybe capture the flag if you swing that way. It is nothing else and it never claimed to be anything else.

  • Re:Genius (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 15, 2006 @12:02PM (#15335092)
    What makes Q3 great is its incredibly simple laser-beam focus. There is almost nothing extraneous in the game. It's like a bonzai tree or a zen rock garden.

    Nothing extraneous? There's almost nothing at all in the game. Every level looks virtually the same. The weapons all work the same, some of them just hurt more. The visuals were newer and shinier, but that's about it. There's only so many times you can run down the same hall, with the same weapon, and kill someone.

    That's fine if you don't want a story cluttering up your deathmatch...but how about some variety to the gameplay? Some interesting levels with varied geography, unique weapons that are a challenge to use effectively, or simply messing with the physics from time to time... Anything to break up the monotony that was Q3A.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 15, 2006 @12:14PM (#15335185)
    Even if they have a procedural texture, you still need the technology to display it, which is what Carmack is working on.
    It doesn't matter where the texture comes from, once it is generated it is too large to be displayed by current hardware.
    Unless of course you are talking about contantly rendering the terrain, which I know I don't have the processing power to do.
  • by TrekkieGod (627867) on Monday May 15, 2006 @12:27PM (#15335292) Homepage Journal
    Watch "Saving Private Ryan" over and over and see if the opening scene gives you the same reaction it did before.

    I think that's more because you know exactly what's going to happen than because you're being desensitized to violence. The first time, things that are happening catch you by surprise. Now, I don't care how many times you've seen Saving Private Ryan, if you get placed in a real battle situation, you're going to freak out (unless you've had other training, of course).

    The same thing is much more easily seen with comedies. The first time I see a good comedy, I spend most of the time laughing. I'll never laugh as much in subsequent viewings. It doesn't mean I'm getting desensitized to comedy. It means I've seen that scene before.

  • Re:On Carmack (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 15, 2006 @12:33PM (#15335348)
    id's future looks bleak to me as well. But the problem isn't with Carmack. Carmack is to a game what a camera manufacturer is to a movie. A better camera will open up more options to a director or cinematographer, but it's still up to the director to make compelling art or entertainment.

    The problem is, id seems to be lacking in the art/entertainment talent space. Doom3 almost ignored any gameplay innovations and improvements made in the past 10 years, even if you limit the comparisons to just FPSs. I guess that's ok if Doom3 is a remake of Doom, but it didn't make it a compelling game for me. In fact, if there weren't such hardcore id fans out there, Doom3 probably would've been a financial disaster.

    The lack of artistic talent would be ok if all id did was sell their engine, but even in this space, they're getting beat by the Unreal, and Source engines, not to mention more general middleware like Renderware.
  • by Cee (22717) on Monday May 15, 2006 @12:59PM (#15335562)
    Carmack says:
    And one of my early suggestions to them was that they consider looking at an approach where you just use one monumentally large texture, and that turned out to be 32,000 by 32,000. And I - rather then doing it by the conventional way that you would approach something like this (i.e. - chopping up the geometry into different pieces and mapping different textures on to there and incrementally swapping them for low res versus high res versions), just let them treat one uniform geometry mesh and have this effectively unbounded texture side on there, and use a more complicated fragment program to go ahead and pick out exactly what should be on there, just as if the graphics hardware and the system really did support such a huge texture.

    What does it mean? Unless I missed something, the closest approach to describe how MegaTexturing works is "a more complicated fragment program to go ahead and pick out exactly what should be on there". So? Carmack talks about how awsome the technique is but he won't tell us how it works in reality. Of course, he has no obligation to tell the world his trade secrets, but the article itself seems mostly just to be there to hype this technology.
  • by TomorrowPlusX (571956) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:19PM (#15335724)
    Artists.

    Procedural is great, when you're talking about certain types of things ( say, fractally generating displacement maps for terrain ), but isn't going to help when you want, for example, foot prints, blood spatters, graffiti, cigarette butts, candy bar wrappers, etc etc. Artists can do all this, and can do it well. Who cares how far you can zoom into, say, a ceramic tile texture if it's just a ceramic tile texture? With this mega texture, artists can make each tile slightly different and can put in indivudal scratches, bloody handprints, and so on.

    You'll never eliminate the role of artists in this work. Technology is acting, here, to make it easier for them to do a really good job. And really, isn't that what tech's about?
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:37PM (#15335885) Journal
    Indeed. I'll disagree with every single reply so far, and say procedural textures can look very good, especially when used in combination with bitmaps. Perlin noise can be used to make all sorts of textures, such as the usual marble, or more interestingly, granite, woven fabric, fur, rust, wood. Anything rough and irregular. Modern graphics hardware can do a lot of work on a per pixel basis, although at the moment, perlin noise generation is a bit slow. These things really need to have decent noise generation built in. The other bonus is that you get a third dimension thrown in for free.
  • by logicnazi (169418) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {izancigol}> on Monday May 15, 2006 @02:34PM (#15336380) Homepage
    I've seen bits on mega texture for awhile but I have yet to be able to divine how the hell it is suppose to work.

    My best guess is that one starts with a tiled texture like you would in any other game but that some engine allows artists to add modifications to the texture in different areas. Thus you take up less memory than actually having a full texture of that size but each area has it's own unique touchups.

    Is this really what it does? I'm getting really frustrated at these stupid little gaming articles that never really explain the tech.
  • Re:Genius (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 15, 2006 @02:47PM (#15336513)
    UT doesn't hold a candle when we are talking of skill playing. There is no tricks in UT99 and UT2K3 used its photocopier to copy the gameplay of Quake 3 for teh deathmatchs.

    Quake 3 "physics" are just far more subtle than the stupid mods like Assault. Assault is pretty useless and unskilled. It is fun, but there's no real challenge or skill required to play UT99. Everyone but a retard can get a good score at UT99. Only a good player can get a good score at Quake 3.

    Duh, and bots ? WHO FUCKING CARES OF BOT ? The goal of the multiplayers FPS is to be better than your peers. It's about the competition, stupid.
  • by Dirtside (91468) on Monday May 15, 2006 @04:39PM (#15337562) Journal
    When games become indistinguishable from reality, why would someone waste time killing somebody in reality when you could do the same in a virtual setting without fear of getting thrown in jail?
    Murder is not primarily committed so that people can have the experience of having murdered someone. Murder is usually a means to an end, not an end in itself.
    Presumably one would not need to commit crime for financial reasons, as it would be hard to afford a computer otherwise.
    I hope you're not saying that anyone who could afford a computer would have no financial incentive to commit a crime, because that would be retarded. But I'm sure that's not what you're saying.
  • by shmlco (594907) on Monday May 15, 2006 @06:14PM (#15338449) Homepage
    Depends entirely on what you mean when you say "the same experience". In a multiplayer game, we could both be running down the same corridor, the walls of which on your high-end machine looks like procedurally dented brushed aluminum and on my lower-end machine looks a flat gray.

    As such, we can both be chasing the same demon down the same hallway, having the same experience, without having to see the same exact thing, just as your running at 1024x768 doesn't impact my running at 800x600.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 15, 2006 @06:54PM (#15338689)
    So basically your complaint is that gamers standards have evolved higher. There's really nothing stopping a modder from using low-poly models, simplistic levels, and two-note sound.

    "The days of the lone, all-around game map designer are long gone."

    Same with OS kernels. I don't see anyone wanting to go back.

    Maybe modders need to take the same steps that kernel developers and enterprise programmers have and develop better tools, instead of wishing for the good old days.

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