Carmack Rage: either console could look superiorTuesday 22nd June 2010, 01:29:00 AM, written by Richard Connery
There are a few questions regarding Rage, the next game by id Software, that are left to answer. Ever since the game was announced for XBOX 360, PS3, PC and Mac (though at E3 2010 id wasn't sure if a Mac version will come out), one of the more frequent ones has been which of the two consoles will offer the best experience, either feature-wise or framerate. Our very own Rangers shot that question over to John Carmack and here's what id's Technical Director and part time rocket scientist had to say:
They are close enough that I could fairly easily design a workload that would make either system look superior. For Rage, we have to expend more effort on the PS3 to maintain 60 hz than we do on the 360, but the PS3 is able to transcode more texture pages in a frame, which helps in some cases.
So relax Rage fans, both consoles will feature 60fps. Especially interesting is the last part which corroborates what id's J.M.P. Waveren put forth in his SIGGRAPH 2009 presentation "id Tech 5 Challenges" (download the presentation here), starting on slide 20.
Put simply, id Tech 5, the engine that powers Rage and the new DOOM game, uses a form of virtual texturing with the name MegaTexture which allows unique textures over the environment. This requires large datasets which are stored in a heavily compressed format on the hard drive or optical media. As pieces of this megatexture are needed for the current scene being rendered the engine will fetch the pages from disk and then decompress and then recompress them to a format more optimal for the GPU. This two-step procedure is done at run-time though various caching mechanisms come into play. It appears id Tech 5 is offloading this work to the PS3's SPUs to help parallelise the ~8 msec workload.
If you wish to partake in the discussion, Rangers' original post is here.
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