Thursday, July 12, 2007
3d acceleration sucks.
i remember when i used to play half-life 1 on a 233 MHz PC with no hardware 3d acceleration and no fancy software interfaces with ridiculously high version numbers. i remember when i used to play duke nukem 3d under dos on a 386. moreover, i have an old logitech camera that takes pictures at 640x480 and compresses them heavily. when i bought it, it cost something like 150 bucks, and only because it was both a webcam and a picture camera. btw, no graphical display, just the classical viewfinder. so my point is that, even with a camera that now costs maybe a beer, i can take a 30-kilobyte jpeg picture that looks like a picture. it looks like reality, eventhough it's just numbers and fourier transforms and filters and bidimensional. hell, i can even take a 320x240 jpeg and compress it to something like 4 kilobytes and stick three hundred of them on a floppy disk. wait, no one uses floppy disks anymore cause they suck, so i could just stick 60 thousand of them on a small flash drive. well, sure, they would look like crap, but they'd still look more real than the best computer-generated game graphics rendered on a state-of-the-art graphics card that eats as much power as the rest of the computer. and this just plain sucks. i mean, what's so hard? if a technology that's crap by today's standards can digitize reality to a 4 kilobyte file and allow it to still look real, why the hell can't we just generate that file in software?! it's stupid. i mean, it's just a few KB of information, it's not the human genome! why pay hundreds of bucks for the latest acceleration hardware when it can only render artificial effects? i want a game that looks like the street i live on, or the park i usually walk in, the school where i go or the bar where i drink. is it so hard? yeah, it is. i don't claim to know how it's done, because i'm not an expert in the field, though i might have some ideas. but there are people who claim to be experts. and there are people who write the software (badly) and people who design the hardware based on the concepts of the software people (again, badly) and people who market games and gaming hardware, and people who pay big bucks for those. and then there are those people who wrote those early games whose aim was never to create something real-looking, because they knew they couldn't. but they created something that's good enough to be exciting to play, intellectually challenging, and plain cool. and it could run on cheap hardware! now the games look just as artificial, though in higher resolution and with a lot more effects, but can't run on a 3GHz dual-core, or on a future 5GHz quad core for that matter, no, they need 3d hardware acceleration to go with that.