Friday, November 26, 2010

Enter the singularity blog

This is just an awesome blog: (originally located at and moved since June 2010).

The author currently has a job at OnLive, the cloud-gaming service, but before working there he used to write about voxel raytracing, sparse voxel octrees and the like. I assume he's working on some super-secret game graphics technology involving voxels and ray tracing, targeted to run on the cloud. Another main theme of the blog is how the brain works and how and when artificial intelligence could match and even surpass the capacity of the human brain (something which I find even more interesting than real-time path tracing). To achieve this dream (or nightmare, depending on your view), you would need a gigantic amount of computing power and cloud servers will probably first to fulfill that requirement. Could it be that one day OnLive will turn into SkyNet? ;-)

Such a suprahuman intelligence could help scientists think about cures for cancer, stem cell research, nanotechnology, the Palestine-Israelian conflict and could help them understand their wives ;-).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The OnLive MicroConsole, a prelude to the death of the classic console?

OnLive is launching its MicroConsole on Dec 2, and the few reviews that are out are all raving about the little thing.

Lag is apparently not an issue at all and unnoticeable. Compression artefacts are there, but no dealbreaker and image quality will steadily improve in the coming years with better network speeds.

It's easy to see the huge possibilities that cloud gaming could offer: when it becomes successful, big publishers like EA and Activision could completely by-pass the classic consoles from money sucking Microsoft and Sony by hosting their own cloud game servers and stream their Battlefield and Call of Duty (2014 edition) directly to consumers, saving a shitload of dollars in the process. They could even host their games exclusively in the cloud, effectively rendering the Xbox and PlayStation obsolete.

And when everything has moved to the cloud, path traced games could finally make a breakthrough and become mainstream, due to the greater efficiency and "unlimited" rendering power of the cloud architecture.

Good times ahead!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New interview with Jules Urbach (in German)

Link to an interview with Jules Urbach from October:

Google translation from German

There's an interesting part about latency:

For encoding and decoding of 1080p we just need a millisecond, which is negligible. A data packet travels the nearly 4,000 miles between New York and Los Angeles in 85 milliseconds, in addition there are about eight milliseconds input delay. So we are below our targeted 100 milliseconds which doesn't matter for a 3D shooter like Crysis. If we distribute our hosting offerings to five strategically placed data centers in the U.S., the total latency drops to around 30 milliseconds. Our biggest concern is therefor not so much the connection speed, but server-scaling. After all, it costs a lot of money to provide one GPU per user. This is where virtualization comes into play: for example, on a modern graphics card we can run eight instances of the CryEngine. We also do not stream games 24 hours a day. Only five to ten minutes go by, until enough data is present in the local cache (on the client side) to run it from there. A title such as Lego Batman is streamed in the background in a single minute on the client computer, which again frees up resources on the server. This works on both the Mac and the PC - and we are working on a special mini-hardware that does the job without a local computer.

So one of OTOY's goals is to stream the game data to your local PC or Mac, but you can instantly start playing the game remotely, while it's streaming to your local system until it can run locally.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A GPU friendly Metropolis algorithm

Just came across this paper on parallelizing the Independent Metropolis Hastings (IMH) algorithm:
The fundamental idea in the current paper is that one can take advantage of the parallel abilities of arbitrary computing machinery, from cloud computing to graphical cards (GPU), in the case of the generic IMH algorithm, producing an output that corresponds to a much improved Monte Carlo approximation machine at the same computational cost.
This could be very interesting for all the GPU renderers out there.

Nvidia GTX 580 to launch on Nov 9!

It looks like this card came out of nowhere, I hadn't heard much about it until a few weeks ago. Hopefully this launch event will include a new and exciting ray tracing tech demo à la Design Garage (after the rather disappointing launch of the Radeon HD 6800 cards with no tech demo's whatsoever). Maybe something OTOY/voxel ray tracing related ;D?