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Math

Mandelbrot Zooms Now Surpass the Scale of the Observable Universe 145

Posted by timothy
from the from-here-you-can-see-forever dept.
StartsWithABang writes You're used to real numbers: that is, numbers that can be expressed as a decimal, even if it's an arbitrarily long, non-repeating decimal. There are also complex numbers, which are numbers that have a real part and also an imaginary part. The imaginary part is just like the real part, but is also multiplied by i, or the square root of -1. It's a simple definition: the Mandelbrot set consists of every possible complex number, n, where the sequence n, n^2 + n, (n^2 + n)^2 + n, etc.—where each new term is the prior term, squared, plus n—does not go to either positive or negative infinity. The scale of zoom visualizations now goes well past the limits of the observable Universe, with no signs of loss of complexity at all.
Star Wars Prequels

Star Wars Battlefront Game Trailer Is So Realistic It Looks Like Movie Footage 149

Posted by timothy
from the cgi-is-cheaper-than-actors dept.
MojoKid writes It has been a tremendous week for Star Wars fans. First we got to see Han Solo and Chewbacca make an emotional reappearance in the newest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer (the second official trailer Disney has put out). Now, Electronic Arts is treating us to a visual smorgasbord of cinema-quality footage showing the forthcoming Star Wars Battlefront game. Battlefront will support to up 40 players divided between the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire, all shooting it out and playing with some of the coolest Star Wars vehicles and weapons around. We're talking jetpacks, AT-AT war machines, AT-STs, TIE Fighters, X-wings, and more. Though the trailer allegedly shows actually "game engine footage," it's questionable whether or not it's actual gameplay or just pre-rendered cut scenes from the game engine. Either way, it's still pretty impressive.
Graphics

NVIDIA's New GPUs Are Very Open-Source Unfriendly 309

Posted by Soulskill
from the returning-to-par dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Nouveau driver developers working on open-source support for the GeForce 900 Maxwell graphics cards have found this new generation to be "very open-source unfriendly" and restricting. NVIDIA began requiring signed firmware images, which they have yet to provide to Nouveau developers, contrary to their earlier statements. The open-source developers have also found their firmware signing to go beyond just simple security precautions. For now the open-source NVIDIA driver can only enable displays with the GTX 900 series without any hardware acceleration.
The Military

How the Pentagon Wasted $10 Billion On Military Projects 370

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-not-a-single-lightsaber-to-show-for-it dept.
schwit1 writes: In the past decade, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency has wasted $10 billion on defense projects that were either impractical and impossible. It's hard to choose a single quote showing the absurd stupidity of these projects — the article is filled with too many to choose from. Read it all and weep. However, here's one quote that typifies the attitude:

"Henry A. Obering III, a retired director of the Missile Defense Agency, said any unfulfilled expectations for SBX and the other projects were the fault of the Obama administration and Congress — for not doubling down with more spending. 'If we can stop one missile from destroying one American city,' said Obering, a former Air Force lieutenant general, 'we have justified the entire program many times over from its initiation in terms of cost.'"

We get the government we deserve. Until we stop electing candidates (from either party) who promise pork, we will continue to get pork, and waste, and a society that is steadily going bankrupt.
Microsoft

Microsoft Celebrates 40th Anniversary 142

Posted by timothy
from the 14,609-days-ought-to-be-enough-for-anybody dept.
HughPickens.com writes Alyssa Newcomb reports at ABC News that the software company started by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975 is 40 and fabulous and highlights products and moments that helped define Microsoft's first four decades including: Microsoft's first product — software for the Altair 8800; Getting a deal to provide a DOS Operating System for IBM's computers in 1980; Shipping Windows 1.0 in 1985; Microsoft Office for Mac released in 1989; Windows 3.0 ships in 1990, ushering in the era of graphics on computers; Windows 95 launches in 1995, selling an astounding 7 million copies in the first five weeks, and the first time the start menu, task bar, minimize, maximize and close buttons are introduced on each window.

For his part, Bill Gates sent a letter to employees celebrating Microsoft's anniversary, and how far computing has come since he and Paul Allen set the goal of a computer on every desk and in every home, and predicting that computing will evolve faster in the next 10 years than it ever has before.
Graphics

Developer of 'Banished' Develops His Own Shading Language 31

Posted by timothy
from the copious-free-time dept.
jones_supa writes Luke Hodorowicz, the hard-working developer behind the townbuilding strategy computer game Banished, has
designed a novel GPU shading language and written a compiler for it. The language has been christened 'Shining Rock Shading Language' (SRSL) and it outputs the program in several other shading languages. The first goal for the language was to treat the vertex, fragment and geometry shader as a single program. The language sees the graphics pipeline as a stream of data, followed by some code, which outputs a stream of data, and then more code runs, and another stream of data is output. Body text of the shaders is very C-like and should be understood easily coming from other shading languages. SRSL has all the intrinsic functions you would expect from HLSL or GLSL. All types are HLSL-style. Loops and conditionals are available, but switch statements and global variables are seen redundant and not implemented. Luke's blog post tells more about the details of the language, complemented with examples.
Classic Games (Games)

SuperMario 64 Coming To a Browser Near You! 97

Posted by samzenpus
from the play-time dept.
Billly Gates writes Since Unity has been given a liberal license and free for non commercial developers it has become popular. A computer science student Erik Roystan Ross used the tool to remake SuperMario 64 with a modern Unity 5 engine. There is a video here and if you want to play the link is here. You will need Firefox or Chrome which has HTML 5 for gamepad support if you do not want to use the keyboard. "I currently do not have any plans to develop this any further or to resolve any bugs, unless they're horrendously game-breaking and horrendously simple to fix," says Ross.
Space

SpaceX's New Combustion Technologies 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-this-one dept.
An anonymous reader shares this story that takes a look at some of the advances SpaceX is working on. "Getting a small group of human beings to Mars and back is no easy task, we learned at the recent GPU Technology Conference in San Jose hosted graphics chip and accelerator maker Nvidia. One of the problems with such a mission is that you need a very large and efficient rocket engine to get the amount of material into orbit for the mission, explained Adam Lichtl, who is director of research at SpaceX and who with a team of a few dozen programmers is try to crack the particularly difficult task of better simulating the combustion inside of a rocket engine. You need a large engine to shorten the trip to Mars, too....Not only do you need a lot of stuff to get to Mars and sustain a colony there, but you also need a way to generate fuel on Mars to come back to Earth. All of these factors affect the design of the rocket engine....As if these were not problems enough, there is another really big issue. The computational fluid dynamics, or CFD, software that is used to simulate the movement of fluids and gases and their ignition inside of all kinds of engines is particularly bad at assisting in rocket engine design. 'Methane is a fairly simple hydrocarbon that is perfectly good as a fuel,' Lichtl said. 'The challenge here is to design an engine that works efficiently with such a compound. But rocket engine CFD is hard. Really hard.'"
Graphics

Another Patent Pool Forms For HEVC 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the money-to-be-squeezed dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A new patent pool, dubbed HEVC Advance, has formed for the HEVC video codec. This pool offers separate licensing from the existing MPEG LA HEVC patent pool. In an article for CNET, Stephen Shankland writes, "HEVC Advance promises a 'transparent' licensing process, but so far it isn't sharing details except to say it's got 500 patents it describes as essential for using HEVC, that it plans to unveil its license in the third quarter, and that expected licensors include General Electric, Technicolor, Dolby, Philips and Mitsubishi Electric. The group's statement suggested that some patent holders weren't satisfied with the money they'd make through MPEG LA's license. One of HEVC Advance's goals is 'delivering a balanced business model that supports HEVC commercialization.' ... HEVC Advance and MPEG LA aren't detailing what led to two patent pools, an outcome that undermines MPEG LA's attempt to offer a convenient 'one-stop shop' for companies needing a license." Perhaps this will lead to increased adoption of royalty-free video codecs such as VP9. Monty Montgomery of Xiph has some further commentary.
GNOME

GNOME 3.16 Released 196

Posted by timothy
from the gnome-3:16-signs-for-every-sporting-event dept.
kthreadd writes Version 3.16 of GNOME, the primary desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems has been released. Some major new features in this release include a overhauled notification system, an updated design of the calendar drop down and support for overlay scrollbars. Also, the grid view in Files has been improved with bigger thumbnail icons, making the appearance more attractive and the rows easier to read. A video is available which demonstrates the new version.
Graphics

Pixar Releases Free Version of RenderMan 198

Posted by Soulskill
from the free-as-in-beer dept.
jones_supa writes: A year ago, animation studio Pixar promised its RenderMan animation and rendering suite would eventually become free for non-commercial use. This was originally scheduled to happen in the SIGGRAPH 2014 computer graphics conference, but things got delayed. Nevertheless, today Pixar is releasing the free version into the wild. Free, non-commercial RenderMan can be used for research, education, evaluation, plug-in development, and any personal projects that do not generate commercial profits. This version is fully featured, without a watermark or any kind of artificial limits. Featuring Pixar's new RIS technology, RenderMan delivers extremely fast global illumination and interactive shading and lighting for artists. The software is available for Mac, Linux, and Windows. In conjunction with the release, Pixar has also launched a new RenderMan Community site where users can exchange knowledge and resources, showcase their own work, share assets such as shaders and scripts, and learn about RenderMan from tutorials.
AMD

Gaming On Linux With Newest AMD Catalyst Driver Remains Slow 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the molasses-in-the-winter dept.
An anonymous reader writes The AMD Catalyst binary graphics driver has made a lot of improvements over the years, but it seems that NVIDIA is still leading in the Linux game with their shared cross-platform driver. Tests done by Phoronix of the Catalyst 15.3 Linux Beta found on Ubuntu 15.04 shows that NVIDIA continues leading over AMD Catalyst with several different GPUs on BioShock Infinite, a game finally released for Linux last week. With BioShock Infinite on Linux, years old mid-range GeForce GPUs were clobbering the high-end Radeon R9 290 and other recent AMD GPUs tested. The poor showing wasn't limited to BS:I though as the Metro Redux games were re-tested too on the new drivers and found the NVIDIA graphics still ran significantly faster and certainly a different story than under Windows.
Graphics

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX TITAN X Becomes First 12GB Consumer Graphics Card 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the impractically-powerful dept.
Deathspawner writes: When NVIDIA announced its GeForce GTX TITAN X at GTC, no one was surprised that it'd be faster than the company's previous top-end card, the GTX 980. But what did impress many is that the company said the card would sport a staggering 12GB of VRAM. As Techgage found, pushing that 12GB is an exercise in patience — you really have to go out of your way to come even close. Additional reviews available at PC Perspective and AnandTech. The latter notes, "...from a technical perspective, the GTX Titan X and GM200 GPU represent an interesting shift in high-end GPU design goals for NVIDIA, one whose ramifications I’m not sure we fully understand yet. By building what’s essentially a bigger version of GM204, heavy on graphics and light on FP64 compute, NVIDIA has been able to drive up performance without a GM204-like increase in die size. At 601mm2 GM200 is still NVIDIA’s largest GPU to date, but by producing their purist graphics GPU in quite some time, it has allowed NVIDIA to pack more graphics horsepower than ever before into a 28nm GPU. What remains to be seen then is whether this graphics/FP32-centric design is a one-off occurrence for 28nm, or if this is the start of a permanent shift in NVIDIA GPU design."
Programming

Rendering a Frame of Deus Ex: Human Revolution 81

Posted by samzenpus
from the break-it-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Video games are among the most computationally intensive applications. The amount of calculation achieved in a few milliseconds can sometimes be mind-blowing. This post about the breakdown of a frame rendering in Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes us through the different steps of the process. It explains in detail the rendering passes involved, the techniques as well as the algorithms processed by a computer — 60 times per second."
Graphics

Another Upscaled Console Game: Battlefield Hardline 225

Posted by timothy
from the just-extrapolate dept.
jones_supa writes Video game developer Visceral Games has confirmed the actual resolution that the coming Battlefield Hardline will run on when it is launched on the Xbox One and on the PlayStation 4. An official message from the Twitter account of the studio explains that gamers will get a 720p resolution on the Microsoft console and Sony platform gamers will get the game running in 900p. 60 frames per second is promised for both consoles, but many fans are still expressing their disappointment that neither of the two versions will be able to properly deliver the native 1080p resolution of the consoles. When development started, Visceral Games and publisher Electronic Arts said they were aiming to use the power of the modern consoles to push the game engine as far as it would go, but they clearly couldn't fit that target without cutting corners. This is similar to what happened with Titanfall, which renders into an 1408x792 framebuffer on Xbox One.
Graphics

Google Introduces Freon, a Replacement For X11 On Chrome OS 166

Posted by timothy
from the low-level-churn-at-a-high-level dept.
An anonymous reader writes With this week's release of Chrome OS M41, there is the new Freon graphics stack to replace X11 on some platforms. Freon is a very limited graphics stack to replace Chrome OS usage of X11/X.Org by having the Chrome browser communicate directly with the Linux kernel's KMS/DRM API and OpenGL ES interfaces for drawing. This design is much simpler and yields various power and performance improvements though it's not based on Wayland nor Mir (though Chrome plans to support these display server models).
Graphics

In the Age of Free AAA Game Engines, Where Does Our Open Source Engine Stand? 184

Posted by timothy
from the loyal-opposition dept.
New submitter erlend_sh writes The game development industry just got hit by a tidalwave of free: Unity 5, Unreal Engine 4 and Source 2 all give away their flagship product for free now. They're all different brands of 'free,' but who cares? The average game developer certainly won't. Which left us wondering: Are hobbyist-run open source game engines like jMonkeyEngine still relevant? From the linked article: This just in: Physically Based Rendering isn’t dark magic, cross platform publishing is not the thing of fairy tales, and a solid asset pipeline is not exclusive to a million dollar budget. They’re not easy; faaar from it. But as long as we can show that these things can be accomplished by a part-time hobbyist just for the heck of it, the end user gets a fair price (i.e. free!), and our fellow hardcore misfits will continue trying to solve the most difficult problems the industry has to offer. ... If this exciting new thing called “free” keeps going in the right direction, everyone still in the race gets a leg up.
Desktops (Apple)

Classic Mac Icons Archive Bought By MOMA 61

Posted by timothy
from the I-already-thought-of-them-that-way dept.
mikejuk writes Susan Kare is the artist responsible for many of the classic Mac icons that are universally recognized. Now her impact as a pioneering and influential computer iconographer has been recognized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She designed all of her early icons on graph paper, with one square representing each pixel. Now this archive of sketches has been acquired by MoMA, jointly with San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art, and has gone on show as part of a new exhibition, This is for Everyone: Design Experiments For The Common Good. So now you can think of the smiling Mac, the pointing finger and scissors as high art.
Portables

Ultralight Convertibles Approaching Desktop Performance 161

Posted by timothy
from the lots-of-moving-parts-to-break dept.
MojoKid writes Laptops with fully articulating hinges are starting to show up from more vendors than just Lenovo, though the company certainly got some mileage out of their Yoga brand of machines. Now it appears HP is getting in on the action as well, with the new HP Spectre X360 that's powered by Intel's new Core i5-5200U Broadwell-based processor with integrated Intel HD 5500 series graphics, along with 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory, a 256GB Solid State Drive (a Samsung M.2 PCIe SSD), 802.11ac WiFi, and a 13.3" Full HD (1920x1080) multi-touch screen. The Spectre X360 has a geared and spring-assisted hinges. The hinges swing open easily, and then offer more resistance as the screen is moved into an upright position, or swung around into tent, stand, or tablet modes. What's also interesting about this new breed of convertibles, beyond just its ability to contort into tablet mode and various other angles, is that performance for these ultralight platforms is scaling up nicely, with faster, low-power processors and M.2 PCIe Solid State Drives offering up a very responsive experience and under 10 second boot times. It has gotten to the point that 3 pound and under notebooks feel every bit as nimble as desktop machines, at least for mainstream productivity and media consumption usage models.
Graphics

Mesa 10.5 Updates Open-Source Graphics Drivers 24

Posted by timothy
from the pushing-pixels dept.
An anonymous reader writes Mesa 10.5 has been released to update the open-source Linux graphics driver stack. This quarterly update to Mesa has initial support for Intel's next-generation Skylake graphics, Qualcomm Adreno A4xx support, EGL support on the BeOS-inspired Haiku, the new NIR intermediate representation, and other changes. While new GL4 extensions were implemented, the Intel/Radeon/Nouveau drivers only have enough support right now to expose OpenGL 3.3, but GL4.2 is expected out of the open-source drivers by the end of the year.