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# Software Rendering is not dead (or is it...)

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Dance with me......

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Feminine gamers.... hmmmm... You got the RPG bit right, but don't forget adventure games. Anyway, Ultima 9 requires a 3D accelerator. It will become standard (if not already) so whatever PC you next buy in the future will do 3D. Also, if there is such a large market, they would have bought more of the 2D stuff (Baldur's Gate anyone?) that is just as good. However, they aren't and 3D has boomed because of (and only of) FPS games.

How do you program without 3D asks CJ? Look at Baldur's Gate. No 3D whatsoever and sold very well. Starcraft ditto. 2D is not dead. Besides, I prefer the isometric to the first person view, so I'm biased. :P

Oh wait, you mean software rendering of 3D worlds... uhmmm, it pretty much is, I'm afraid, or at least, it's a last resort. Why? Sloooooow... Unless of course you're making a game for the mid-90's... If it's an RPG, umm, it might work, but nowadays, I don't think it can. It needs to be fantastically good on all other levels for it to compensate in an increasingly eye candy hungry world.

[This message has been edited by Jeranon (edited November 10, 1999).]

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The funny things is, that 3D accelerators are built to solve the problems that yesterdays software 3D engines had.

Take "outcast" as an example: This is a 3D game that takes a different approach to 3D rendering. Because of this, the renderer is largely (entirely?) software.

I don't think SW rendering is dead per-se, new features will appear first in SW, only to be included in next generation HW. I DO believe, however, that 3D cards are a lot more mainstream than you suggest - Even the lamest gfx card today have some degree of 3D support, and even the most hardcore 3D accelerators (TNT2, VoodooIII, Geeforce) cost way less than a new processor).

/Niels

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Personally I don't think that software rendering is dead, or even going. Sure many people are using such libraries as DirectX and OpenGl for use in their games. And that's perfectly reasonable and understandable because they may have a deadline for their game and so they would want to create the graphics in the fastest possible way.

But for others it doesn't have to be so, other people especially hoby programmers who are programming for the thrill of the "journey" as much as the end product (Like me would much rather take it slower and actually code software rendering into their programs, and when they do it well the effects can be quite worthwhile, especially that they know that almost every joe can ??download?? their game from the internet and play it without the need to buy an expensive piece of hardware.

Another reason for coding software rendering into a game is so that the programmer learns a lot about what they are actually programming about and so when they finally get a "real" programming job they will know how the concepts work and so they will be better for it. I know that it isn't so easy to program in 3d, matrices aren't that easy as well, but when you get the 3d theory into your head, remember it, and use it in programming then you will retain that knowledge for later and thus it will help you out when you are stuck on something about which no tutorials exist.

But still, do we really need all these fancy 3d graphics? I mean from what I have seen 3d graphics have not gone far since quake , or quake 2, they have improved in quake3 a bit but still there have been no overwhelming technologies or new ideas into the sea of 3d programming for quite some time...

We will need some innovation soon!

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-Dom:)
Visit - http://www.eisa.net.au/~sdgrab/index.html

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Yup! There is a reason why id is still setting the standards - John Carmack knows the details of software rendering better than most, which is probably why he is capable of utilizing the HW to the extend he is.

/Niels

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A quick point, I agree that we need innovation but I disagree as to the expense of the hardware.
You can pick up a voodoo I for under $50, if that and all new computers come with better than that as minimum. There's still a lot of craft in software renders and many unaccelerated effects but people like 3dfx seem to take criticism and comments seriously and try to help developers (John Carmack being one such developer) by designing their next gen board with them in mind. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Since the orignal post brought up the 'market' I'd like to talk about that. Back when I didn't have the money to upgrade my out of date 386, I sure as hell didn't have the money to spend$50 dollars on a game. I was more than happy to go to the cut-up bin and buy 2-3 year old games for $15-20 dollars. All those hunting games that are targeted at people who arn't computer enthusiasts cost$20. They'd never sell to their target audience at $50. If someone is going to buy 5+ fifty dollar games a year, it's hard to believe that they won't invest less than$100 for a decent videocard.

That being said, you take a pretty big performance hit just developing a Windows native game (opposed to DOS) with or without hardware acceleration. For most people it's worth it to avoid dealing with the hardware in general. It's concievable someone could write all kinds of 3-D hardware drivers in DOS and port OpenGL and get a game that'll run faster on less memory, but it's not worth it to most people. It's up to you to decide where you want to take performance hits, whether its a higher Benchmark machine, or sticking to 256 color display.

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Whoa! hot topic...
Ok I'll start from the top:
1) No I am not using DIB's- at least not at this point in time (I am programming for both Linux and Win32)

2) It is true that alot of new computers come with standard 3d acceleration, but alot of people out there can't afford an new computer.

3) Sure they will take John Carmack's opinion seriously- but we're not all as 'important' to the game industry as he is are we? ;-)

[This message has been edited by Eternity (edited November 10, 1999).]

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I hope one or two people remember when they first bought in Maths co-processors. What was that with? The second half of the 386 range. More expensive, only available on the newer motherboards and yet, stop me if I'm wrong, but they caught on pretty sharpish.
I admit, I'm lucky enough to be able to afford to upgrade my system now and again, a lot of people aren't, but the hardware accelerator cards first started getting serious around two years ago and that's a pretty long time in the world of computer hardware.
I'm not saying software acceleration is in any way dead. I remember writing my first 3D system with some vague lecture notes and a bad knowledge of matrix multiplication but unless your aiming for the markets of developing countries then hardware is here to stay

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I just saw some screenshots of Outcast. I stand corrected. Software rendering of 3D is still quite viable, just requires a bit more work (when I say work, I mean more code, rather than more improvement). And as Outcast shows, apparently feasible. Where the mentality of "let the hardware do it" is king, it's good to see developers do it the hard way and bring good looking 3D to those with "low end" machines.

[This message has been edited by Jeranon (edited November 10, 1999).]

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