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Crysis 2 Update a Perfect Case of Wasted Polygons 159

crookedvulture writes "Crytek made news earlier this summer by releasing a big DirectX 11 update for the PC version of its latest game, Crysis 2. Among other things, the update added extensive tessellation to render in-game elements with a much higher number of polygons. Unfortunately, it looks like most of those extra polygons have been wasted on flat objects that don't require more detail or on invisible layers of water that are rendered even in scenes made up entirely of dry land. Screenshots showing the tessellated polygon meshes for various items make the issue pretty obvious, and developer tools confirm graphics cards are wasting substantial resources rendering these useless or unseen polygons. Interestingly, Nvidia had a hand in getting the DirectX 11 update rolled out, and its GeForce graphic cards just happen to perform better with heavy tessellation than AMD's competing Radeons."

Transparent Aluminum Is "New State of Matter" 406

Professor_Quail writes with this interesting excerpt: "Oxford scientists have created a transparent form of aluminum by bombarding the metal with the world's most powerful soft X-ray laser. 'Transparent aluminum' previously only existed in science fiction, featuring in the movie Star Trek IV, but the real material is an exotic new state of matter with implications for planetary science and nuclear fusion."

SoftMaker Office 2008 vs. 3.1 214

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy examines would-be Microsoft Office competitors SoftMaker Office and and finds the results surprising. — frequently cited as the most viable Office competitor — has pushed for Office interoperability in version 3.1, adding import support for files in Office 2007's native Open XML format. But, as Kennedy found in Office-compatibility testing, that support remains mostly skin deep. 'Factor in OpenOffice's other well-documented warts — buggy Java implementation, CPU-hogging auto-update system, quirky font rendering — and it's easy to see why the vast majority of IT shops continue to reject this pretender to the Microsoft Office throne,' Kennedy writes. SoftMaker Office, however, 'shows that good things often still come in small packages.' Geared more toward mobile computing, the suite's 'compact footprint and low overhead make it ideal for underpowered systems, and its excellent compatibility with Office 2003 file formats means it's a safe choice for heterogeneous environments where external data access isn't a priority.'" Note that SoftMaker Office is not free software — it costs $79.95 — and there is no version for Macintosh.

"Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown!" -- The Ghostbusters