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Graphics Software

Intel Researchers Consider Ray-Tracing for Mobile Devices 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the smaller-pretty-pictures dept.
An anonymous reader points out an Intel blog discussing the feasibility of Ray-Tracing on mobile hardware. The required processing power is reduced enough by the lower resolution on these devices that they could realistically run Ray-Traced games. We've discussed the basics of Ray-Tracing in the past. Quoting: "Moore's Law works in favor of Ray-Tracing, because it assures us that computers will get faster - much faster - while monitor resolutions will grow at a much slower pace. As computational capabilities outgrow computational requirements, the quality of rendering Ray-Tracing in real time will improve, and developers will have an opportunity to do more than ever before. We believe that with Ray-Tracing, developers will have an opportunity to deliver more content in less time, because when you render things in a physically correct environment, you can achieve high levels of quality very quickly, and with an engine that is scalable from the Ultra-Mobile to the Ultra-Powerful, Ray-Tracing may become a very popular technology in the upcoming years."
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Intel Researchers Consider Ray-Tracing for Mobile Devices

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  • by click2005 (921437) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @09:42AM (#22615114)
    Moore's Law works in favor of Ray-Tracing, because it assures us that computers will get faster - much faster - while monitor resolutions will grow at a much slower pace.

    Inverse Moore's Law states that the more time that developers spend on making games look 'pretty', the less time they spend on playability.
  • by jcnnghm (538570) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @10:01AM (#22615176)
    You could probably argue that is why the Wii is selling so well.
  • by farkus888 (1103903) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @10:07AM (#22615200)
    I would agree with that argument. The wii got me back into gaming after a few year break. I had quit because I was annoyed with games being all about graphics and not being fun enough to actually draw me in.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @10:45AM (#22615288) Homepage Journal
    "As computational capabilities outgrow computational requirements, the quality of rendering Ray-Tracing in real time will improve, and developers will have an opportunity to do more than ever before."

    This attitude is why even tho our computers are 1000x faster then we had 20 years ago, they actually perform worse overall.
  • by binaryspiral (784263) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @10:58AM (#22615348)
    This is kind of stupid actually. Why would I want a game on my mobile to be thrashing the cpu when it could be doing some basic sprites and other not-so-cpu-intensive methods to produce my game?

    Ray-tracing may be possible on my 500Mhz smartphone's processor - but damn, I don't want to have to be plugged in to play them.
  • by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @11:15AM (#22615428) Journal

    This attitude is why even tho our computers are 1000x faster then we had 20 years ago, they actually perform worse overall.


    I would say yes and no. Its one thing to have the computer do something simply becase it can; I agree that is very wasteful. Raytracing is not needed on a 300x200 screen; especically while plaing a game and things are moving.

    On the otherhand 20 years ago like today we compormised and dispensed with things or found was to "fake it" in cases where the computer's conuld not deliver. Its really not critical shadows are rendered perfectly on my mobile phone while I am playing Doom57 Mobile Edition. An architecture program on my desktop though It would be nice to see how objects will turely look when lit.

    Its silly to continue living with the compromises of the past, when we no longer need to, its equally silly and wasteful to do manything being done on production(research is always good) computers today just because we can.
  • by mpeskett (1221084) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @12:51PM (#22615918)
    Sooner or later graphics that are completely indistinguishable from real life will be available on low-end hardware, then they'll have to start competing by making good games instead of just pretty games.
  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @01:23PM (#22616096)
    The normal way things work in computing, things tricke down from high-performance platforms to lower ones. So, where are the desktop games using raytracing?

    If they want a phone to do 256 x 192 raytracing in real time, then a desktop with 1000x the compute power should easily be able to do 720x480 (full res television) in real time. But, oddly enough, there are no such titles out there....
  • by typicallyterrific (934202) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @02:14PM (#22616374)
    I hate "the old days were so much better!" comments, especially when it comes to computing.

    20 years ago, no one was connected to a 3mbps line, listening to music, with a mail and an IM client constantly pinging back, watching a video on youtube in one of twenty tabs in my firefox, with vim/emacs/eclipse open, azureus plugging away at some torrents as fast as it could, on two 1280x1024 screens in real colour, all simultaneously, on a single core I bought years ago. I still don't notice significant slowdowns.

    Remember when emacs used to be slow? I don't, I wasn't computer literate back when 8 megs of swap was a huge deal.
    Does anyone seriously miss the days when 512 × 384 pixels were an improvement and you couldn't run more than one app at once?
  • by smallfries (601545) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:13PM (#22616716) Homepage
    You are assuming that there is only one variable (resolution) that can be adjusted. Actually the quality of the scene is a function of two variables: resolution and scene complexity. When the complexity of scenes was low, rasterization produced much better results than raytracing for the same effort. Now that scene geometry has increased so much we are reaching the point where raytracing will produce the same (or better quality) for less effort. The main issue is that rasterization is O(n) in scene complexity while raytracing is O(log n). Of course there are lots of other issues and tradeoffs otherwise we would be using raytracing in games already.

    If you're interested there is a detailed comparison available here [utexas.edu].

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