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RobertoOrtiz
05-16-2006, 01:25 PM
Quote:
"One of the most respected and well-known game developers in the world, John Carmack hardly needs any introduction. Having mastered the skill of game programming, Carmack co-founded developer id Software, and has also worked on such classic series as Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein 3D.

In this Question & Answer with Carmack, he discusses the new MegaTexture technology, which will be used in the upcoming Enemy Territory: Quake Wars for PC. Definitely a worthy read for any programming, designing or general development enthusiast, as well as any gamer slightly interested in the development process behind games.


Q1: What is MegaTexturing technology?

Answer: MegaTexture technology is something that addresses resource limitations in one particular aspect of graphics. The core idea of it is that when you start looking at outdoor rendering and how you want to do terrain and things in general, people almost always wind up with some kind of cross-fade blended approach where you tile your textures over and blend between them and add little bits of detail here and there. A really important thing to realize about just generally tiling textures, that weíre so used to accepting it in games, is that when you have one repeated pattern over a bunch of geometry, the texture tiling and repeating is really just a very, very specialized form of data compression where itís allowing you to take a smaller amount of data and have it replicated over multiple surfaces, or multiple parts of the same surface in a game since you generally donít have enough memory to be able to have the exact texture that youíd like everywhere."

>>LINK<< (http://www.gamerwithin.com/?view=article&article=1319&cat=2)

-R

mummey
05-16-2006, 01:38 PM
Just yet another use for fragment programs. Lucky for us, Carmack isn't the type of guy that patents any thought that pops into his head.

PyRoT
05-16-2006, 03:15 PM
I wonder why procedural textures aren't used. They have simple variables that can be adjusted to output X level of quality at Y dstance (I think). Then instead of these 32000*32000 textures, you could have a bunch of algorythms do a better job.
Spore has beatiful landscapes using procedural technology. In any case, you could still have room for artists by simply blending textures with precedural maps.

Tomek

SaucyJack
05-16-2006, 07:43 PM
Thats an interesting point raised by Tomek. I always thought some kind of procedural solution would be the way fowrard for landscape texturing. Certainly in the future when we are rendering individual blades of grass rather than a grass texture. I certainly wouldn't fancy having to create a 32,000x32,000 texture. My 1024's take long enough.

inneractive
05-16-2006, 08:00 PM
I wonder why procedural textures aren't used.

The method you mentioned still limits the artist to texture sizes (blending texture maps over procedurally generated textures). It also limits the artist by taking away some of the control and putting it into the hands of the CPU. Plus it does not seem to be a competeting technology, but one that could complement the procedural approach if needed.

With Carmack's method artists could even use procedural techniques to generate the initial texture map, then go in and detail specific areas of interest by hand. I like how he says the latest iteration of the technology goes beyond just landscapes and can be used on buildings, objects, and characters as well.

chadtheartist
05-16-2006, 11:28 PM
Hmmm... really interesting stuff. I'm interested in seeing how this actually works, and why it's so much better.

Simon
05-16-2006, 11:43 PM
the more and more detail the engines can handle... the more and more work for the artists. Soon enough people are going to be wanting miles of gameworld detailed down to each little peble. I think studio time is going to become the new bottleneck for Gd's.

..And I though going into environment building was going to be easy. :/

BillSpradlin
05-16-2006, 11:54 PM
Hmmm... really interesting stuff. I'm interested in seeing how this actually works, and why it's so much better.

"Q4: How is the MegaTexture a major step forward for game graphics?

Answer: My core comment here is that any repeating use of a texture is just very specialized data compression. Any time you have one set of texture data, and itís present in more than one place on the screen, itís really an approximation to what an ideal infinite resource video game would provide. Because in the real world, there arenít any repeatsóeven things that look like they repeat, like bricks or dry wall, are uniquely different. The subtle differences that you get are the things that distinguish a rendering, especially a game rendering, from something thatís very realistic.

The MegaTexture allows us to have terrain in QUAKE Wars that does not require any repeated textures for resource limitation reasons. There may still be some areas where a texture is repeated just because they didnít feel like doing anything better, but there was no resource limitation that encouraged them or required them to do that. They are perfectly capable of having an artist go in and add 10 million little tiny touches to the level if they chose to do so. Itís taken it from being a resource constraint to something that becomes a design trade off.

Q5: Does MegaTexturing technology bring any specific limitations with it?

Answer: No. Thereís no limit to dynamically changing it. Thatís one of the neat things about it Ė to the graphics engine, it looks like youíre just texturing on top of arbitrary geometry. You can move it around and all of that. With the technology in Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars, there are some issues with deforming the texture coordinates too much. Youíll get areas that are blurred more than you would expect with a conventional texturing, and thatís something thatís fixed in my newer rev of technology.

There are some minor things you have to worry a little bit about. If you stretched up too steep a cliff slide, there would be some blurring involved there, even if you adjusted the texture coordinate somewhat. And you can crutch around that a little bit. Thatís also a problem thatís been fixed by a newer rev of technology that weíve got right now."

That pretty well sums it up =)

chadtheartist
05-17-2006, 12:17 AM
HAHA! I literally meant seeing how it works first hand. Not just reading about it. But that was definitely funny! lol

CGmonkey
05-17-2006, 12:56 AM
I wonder why procedural textures aren't used. They have simple variables that can be adjusted to output X level of quality at Y dstance (I think). Then instead of these 32000*32000 textures, you could have a bunch of algorythms do a better job.
Spore has beatiful landscapes using procedural technology. In any case, you could still have room for artists by simply blending textures with precedural maps.

Tomek

Procedural textures can't just exist out of nothng, it still generate alot of memory. So in a way, it's even more expensive than "hand made" textures because you need to waste precious processor power and still get the same texturememory.

PyRoT
05-17-2006, 02:51 AM
Procedural textures can't just exist out of nothng, it still generate alot of memory. So in a way, it's even more expensive than "hand made" textures because you need to waste precious processor power and still get the same texturememory.

Are you sure? Wouldn't the procedural map simply generate a texture based on distance / pixels? This would mean tehre's not as much loading to do. I know it takes more proccessing power but I doubt large texture maps are the way of the future. It seems even in some current games, the ground is often very low quality (Check those quake wars screens in teh interview - I hope they don't represent this MegaTexture revolution). The amount of proccessing power and memory reuired to generate procedural maps of that kind of quality would be very small so you could increase the quality a lot and get really nice terrain.

Tomek

darkjedi1929
05-17-2006, 08:30 AM
Are you sure? Wouldn't the procedural map simply generate a texture based on distance / pixels? This would mean tehre's not as much loading to do. I know it takes more proccessing power but I doubt large texture maps are the way of the future. It seems even in some current games, the ground is often very low quality (Check those quake wars screens in teh interview - I hope they don't represent this MegaTexture revolution). The amount of proccessing power and memory reuired to generate procedural maps of that kind of quality would be very small so you could increase the quality a lot and get really nice terrain.

Tomek

dude... all that you said is fine, but you have ignored the one main aspect: generating that procedural texture of 32000 * 32000 would require an insane amount of processing power. Just try that out in Maya/Max whatever you use and render it with all those cute little GI effects which by the way you have available in the Next-Gen games.

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