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John Carmack Discuss Mega Texturing 313

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-mean-we-don't-do-that-already dept.
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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  • Re:Ah, but (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Distinguished Hero (618385) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:09AM (#15334631) Homepage
    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".

    Yeah, but would you really want to shoot or hack and slash a photo-realistic character for fun? That's pretty sick (IMO).
  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:14AM (#15334669)
    This is a very interesting technique for realistic terrain, but I wonder what advantage this approach would have over procedurally rendered textures? I very much like the idea of being able to (effectively) zoom infinitely into a texture being 'generated' as opposed to 'drawn'... and the strengths of modern consoles play to this procedural generation quite well (PowerPC chips, Cell chips). Maybe thats why Carmack isn't so interested?
  • Re:Article Text (Score:2, Interesting)

    by joebooty (967881) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:24AM (#15334744)
    This sounds like the least user friendly option available to this problem.

    So if a mod team wants to make their own map you either need to reuse one of these behemoth textures or find an artist that can wrap their head around the technology and create one themselves.

    Procedurally generated textures are a hog and can be very hard to pull off but they still seem like a superior solution to this.

    On the other side I am certain that level designers and artists working together can make some really great looking maps with this system. Modders will have a lot of trouble though.
  • Variation on a theme (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ford Prefect (8777) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:24AM (#15334752) Homepage
    Uniquely texturing entire terrains sounds pretty cool, but the concept isn't entirely new - just an evolution on an already-existing idea.

    I think the Myth RTS games from Bungie used very large textures for the terrain, and this moved on to Halo - terrain there is drawn using a large, low-resolution texture - the red, green and blue channels are used for the colour, while the alpha channel is used to determine which of two detail textures should be used - e.g. grass or sand. It works quite well [halomaps.org]. I think Far Cry does something similar, but more advanced still.

    The former are still low-resolution, though - but the not-a-game Celestia [shatters.net] has 'virtual texture' support, for rendering silly levels of detail on planet surfaces. Like, up to 128k by 64k pixels [celestiamotherlode.net]. The textures are split into many, many files for each level of detail, which are streamed in from the hard disk when required. Works fairly well.

    Combining the two approaches, though, seems very new - the 'Mega Texturing' from John Carmack is probably dramatically different from an implementation point of view, and sounds rather interesting at any rate - the description of the upgraded, non-Quake-Wars version makes it sound like it could uniquely texture a whole world beyond just terrain, so could work for simulating real cities, as opposed to smoke-and-mirrors game cities.

    I'm sure he talked about this in a .plan thing some years ago - anyone want to find it?
  • Re:Article Text (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Otto (17870) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:46AM (#15334964) Homepage Journal
    So if a mod team wants to make their own map you either need to reuse one of these behemoth textures or find an artist that can wrap their head around the technology and create one themselves.

    Nah, you just need good tools. Use the game itself as a tool and let people run around the level spraying the texture with spray paint cans (or the digital equivalent). Then spit the MegaTexture out after they're done.
  • Re:On Carmack (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kimvette (919543) on Monday May 15, 2006 @11:57AM (#15335056) Homepage Journal
    One game I'd love to see is Hexen III. For the time, the graphics in Hexen II were incredible and the gameplay was great - there was more focus on solving the puzzles (how the heck do I get out of this level) than there was on killing. Sure, there were plenty of monsters to kill but the, er, mazes seemed more intricate in Hexen. I don't recall whether that was just due to the different visuals or if it actually was the case. I've actually been playing the old Id games again in order (Doom, Doom II, Final Doom, Heretic, Hexen, etc) and find Heretic and Hexen more entertaining than Doom.
  • by uberwidow (895522) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:23PM (#15335757) Homepage
    Something not mentioned is what video cards support the mega texturing technique. The new NVIDIA 7900 hardware (a card aimed specifically at gaming computers [widowpc.com] enthusiasts) supposedly supports it. However, the only real way to test that is to get a copy of the new Doom.
  • Re:Enough is enough (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ichigo 2.0 (900288) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:49PM (#15335980)
    Now they look and act pretty real. The creepiness factor kicks in for me after a certain amount of realism. When do we stop with the terrain and model/skin realism, when we can no longer tell the difference between games and live-action movies? I hope for my grandchildrens' sake that FPS violence doesn't come to that.

    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? Presumably one would not need to commit crime for financial reasons, as it would be hard to afford a computer otherwise. Personally I enjoy computer games because I can do things otherwise impossible/too dangerous, unless someone invents a real life load/save (or I get insanely rich). :P
  • Re:patent? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Paralizer (792155) on Monday May 15, 2006 @07:37PM (#15338942) Homepage
    There are movements out there (first that comes to mind is one dealing with OSS) that seeks to patent as much software techniques as they can. The motivation behind this is to patent some new technology before anyone else can, then freely allow everyone to use it without limitation. This seems to me to be a great idea, effectively nullifying software patents, and I think I would look into this if I came up with something equally as impressive as John has.

    I'd hate to see John get into another pickle where he comes up with a great new method (Carmack's Reverse), only to find some other company (Creative in this case) holding a patent wanting to negotiated some ridiculous deal to allow him to use a method he independently discovered. Where's the logic in that?

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich

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