John Carmack: 'Something Like Mega-Texture Will Win In The End'

"During the Q&A session at QuakeCon 2013, John Carmack was asked whether he plans to use mega-textures in future games developed by id Software, to which he gave a pretty long explanation, detailing the benefits of using mega textures."

Read Full Story >>
The story is too old to be commented.
xYLeinen1757d ago

Would so like to see Carmack and Cerney on stage together...

1757d ago
1757d ago Replies(7)
BenRage31756d ago

I have an intermediate understanding of computer tech at best, so with respect, would one of you tech guru's out there help me understand this statement.

"We have no downsides to dynamic lights, where right now we have to approximate them but you can also have the full glory of the completely baked world view."

What does he mean specifically when he says fully baked world view?

I am still a nerd in training, thank you.

MidnytRain1756d ago

I think he's talking about fake lighting. Coloring/shading textures so they LOOK like their being lit/shaded when they're really not.

rainslacker1756d ago

Baking generally refers to taking the texture data and pre-applying mesh/material effects to it. This affects how the light is reflected off the actual object in a game engine.

When done procedurally(real-time) it can cause performance to slow down. However, in many cases, textures can have these effects applied ahead of time because the difference wouldn't be noticeable, or the difference wouldn't have enough gain over performance. This can greatly improve performance on complex scenes.

For instance. A brick wall has quite a bit of depth texture to it. By baking, you can take how it would look with the light hitting it and put that image on the wall instead of applying many meshes that have to figure out the depth as an individual light ray hits the wall. In this way you get the textured look, and the wall only has to reflect(process) a simple light ray instead of complex depth/light information.

Actual description is a bit more in depth, and involves talking about vectors and RGB's and stuff of that nature.

mochachino1757d ago

I know Carmack is highly respected but the guy didn't come close to top graphics this gen nor did he release a single great game.

You only as relevant as you games imo.

N7Lukas1757d ago

I agree he didn't release a "great" game but RAGE (especially on pc) was one of the best looking.

Khronikos1757d ago (Edited 1757d ago )

RAGE was okay on PC and nothing more really.

CrimsonStar1757d ago

even on consoles rage looked really good .

aliengmr1757d ago

as long as you didn't get too close, the textures looked fine, but once you did they looked horrible.

RyuX191757d ago

Since when has RAGE been touted as this amazing looking game? The game has great art direction, but with horrible textures like these http://cloud.steampowered.c...

I can't see it as being touted as something that is a amazing.

ABizzel11757d ago

Stop with the BS. Rage may not have been a great game (it was decent), but graphically it was easily one of the top 10 on consoles, especially considering it was running at 60fps open environment.

windblowsagain1756d ago

I ran rage maxed on PC, but one of the best.


Best thing was you could drive.

But graphically, it was ok. Some area's better then others. Hopefully. They have improved the engine a big amount for the next game.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 1756d ago
Mariusmssj1757d ago

Would be be cool if you could name a single game that looked as good as Rage and ran at 60FPS on both PS3 and 360.

LeoDDestroyer1757d ago

Rage suffer from the same thing cod does on console. There nothing going on in the environment so it feel stale and lifeless to me because all the work is being used for the framerate.

cyborg471757d ago


Name one developer who's got the balls to create something like Rage's tech on 7 year old hardware running at 60fps.

sincitysir11756d ago

My only problem was the pop in

JsonHenry1757d ago

I think that RAGE was one of the best looking console games. Seriously looked better than 99% of the other games out there. The game, I thought, was horrible. But the looks were great.

But when it comes to making game engines I trust this guy. Megatextures/hardware tiling are the future. But how far into the future is the question.

nirwanda1757d ago

And there is only one console that can do hardware tiling, I may wait and see what happens at gamescon before I reconsider my ps4 preorder.

JsonHenry1757d ago

^^ OpenGL can, in theory, do everything that DirectX can do. It is called "open" for a reason. I wouldn't doubt the process is cloned in some form or fashion for an OpenGL environment whether that be on the PC or on the PS4.

But yes, for the foreseeable future the only console that can accomplish this particular feature is the Xbox1.

RandomDude6551757d ago (Edited 1757d ago )

Ummmm.....hardware tiling is in both consoles.................prt is a standard feature of the gcn architecture.

Guys........this was on OpenGL first aka IDTech 5/Rage is an OpenGL game engine.

JsonHenry1757d ago

@cchum - you couldn't possibly be more wrong if you tried. As of right now hardware tiling is NEW, never been done before, and only available on Windows 8 and Xbox1. The ability to do this on opengl in a future update is currently being considered however.

RandomDude6551757d ago (Edited 1757d ago )

Nope you guys are wrong.


now with AMD doing a hardware implementation of a Carmack inspired technology.

"Among the features added to Graphics Core Next that were explicitly for gaming, the final feature was Partially Resident Textures, which many of you are probably more familiar with in concept as Carmack’s MegaTexture technology."

I didn't say that megatexture is hardware tiling, but Partially resident textures are.

JsonHenry1757d ago (Edited 1757d ago )

Megatextures are NOT hardware tiling. There is a huge difference.

nirwanda1757d ago

@cchum no its not hardware tiling your getting confused with software tiling which requires alot more processing power and can't switch as many tiles and to do it properly requires very low latency and very high bandwidth which is why the xbone has EDram.

nirwanda1757d ago

@jsonhenry tiled rendering isn't new both the dreamcast and ps vita can do it.
But hardware tiling is.
I don't think GDDR5 will be as good as DDR3 for tiled rendering as it relies on out of order memory access to quickly change between different tile sets.
Unless this could be got around with clever programming queuing textures in order.

Ju1756d ago (Edited 1756d ago )

OpenGL Sparse textures:

By AMD since 4.2.

There is no real benefit of doing tile based rendering with GDDR5 memory. It is used to overcome bandwidth limitation transferring smaller chunks of memory to in fact reach or exceed GDDR bandwidth - and will still be limited by buffer (eSRAM or physical GDDR) bandwidth.

But with GDDR5 you simply do not need to swap/transfer anything - the GPU has access to the whole texture with full bandwidth - and since e.g. the PS4 does not have any other type of memory, this is irrelevant there. XBox needs to fill ESRAM from the "slow" DDR3. So, yes, it'll work great there. Streaming from disk will not benefit from tiled "acceleration" because fetching a block from disk will be far to slow anyhow. This must be done by the engine, not the "gpu-pager".

It would be a different story if your eSRAM has 1000MB/s bandwidth. But it doesn't and GDDR5 bandwidth is in fact faster.

1756d ago
Ju1756d ago

^^ Interesting. Make sure MS knows that. Because in this demo, they facilitate the GDDR as a cache for "tiled" textures from system memory:

to over come the memory limits of the graphics card and the bandwith limits of PCIe.

It's a "memory mapping" for the GPU but like paging it will never be faster than no swapping at all.

1756d ago
Ju1755d ago (Edited 1755d ago )

I think you should read up a little on that subject.

The whole point of "resident" textures is, that (GDDR) VRAM is simply too small to store large amount of textures. We are talking about the average 1-2GB GDDR based graphics cards.

Now, you have two choices:

a) increase GDDR to 8-12GB (expensive - and the most you can get today is 6) or

b) find a way to use system memory (and in that regard also stream textures from disk).

Partial resident textures, or tiled based rendering or mega textures (which includes streaming) now does the later and is cheaper to build.

It uses the 1-2GB (or even less - MS demonstrated 16MB buffers!) to "cache" close to GPU high detail textures while the HW does paging to "out of buffer" areas - where ever that is. The tests show, that 16MB is sufficient to reach the same effect as no paging with GDDR5!

So, you'll see, this fits perfectly into the XBone's design: instead of GDDR they use eSRAM. And with 32MB it is big enough to function as a buffer.

But it has no (!) advantage over GDDR5 other than the idea to be cheaper to make.

This is irrelevant for the PS4 because it has one bank of GDDR5 - which is solution a) to the problem.

Neither one will solve the problem that you'll run out of memory for massive open world games. Neither one can page textures to disk (well, PS4 support VMEM, not sure about the XBone). But even if the OS would support it, this must be software driven because the game must have full control when and what parts to swap to disk or load from there.

The "MoveEngines" are far too slow to do all that. With "only" 20GB/s bandwidth you can't swap tiles with those. This is integrated into the GPU which does "mmu" like memory addressing for texture tiles and most likely runs it's own memory controller. Or not. Who knows. Also, what makes you think that MoveEngines are low latency?

What Rage does is, using the whole amount of console RAM as cache and actually stream from disk. But if you have 4-5GB of fast texture memory, this only makes sense if your game actually requires more than that - and even then, more than that at the very same time. Otherwise you'd simply create a streaming buffer and stream those while you move through your world.

BTW: the eSRAM idea is very much interesting for notebooks which usually do not have dedicated VRAM. Now those could simply use a small eSRAM buffer and run tiled textures. Will make mobile chips as fast as desktop parts and can run standard DDR memory.

+ Show (10) more repliesLast reply 1755d ago
elhebbo161757d ago

I think pretty graphics wasn't never his intention. If he wanted to make another PC exclusive- power hogging game like crysis he could've done it. but he didn't, he decided to show of his mega-texture tech which was never done before.

"You only as relevant as you games imo"

funny you say that. going by his game portfolio carmack would be considered the father of FPS.

F4sterTh4nFTL1757d ago

LOL, the top selling game in the world COD is still using his engine that he created in 1999.

trafalger1757d ago

i dont think carmack is a game developer per say any longer, i think hes a programmer who provides tools for coding.

the pc is his background and he is pleasantly surprised at how close the xbone and ps4 are and how much alike they are to working on the pc now. memory will not be a problem any longer it seems and its highly unlikely we will ever see a wii u game from them.

Fireseed1756d ago

So then why do we listen to Cerny?

NarooN1756d ago

"You only as relevant as you games imo."

Yeah, let's just pretend he's not one of the literal fathers of FPS as we know it.

Seriously, do people even do research or anything anymore before spouting BS like this?

mochachino1756d ago (Edited 1756d ago )

I really wish I read that over, not because of I don't fully stand behind what I said but because the "you" instead of "you're" and "your" makes me cringe at an otherwise accurate statement imo.

Nolan Bushnell and Ralph H. Baer may be the father of video games and consoles but people wouldn't take their opinions on success in the next-gen very seriously.

Is Carmack a legend? Yes. Does he know how to make great games and the best graphics? Until he release another great AAA game, no.

+ Show (6) more repliesLast reply 1755d ago
Jreca1757d ago

Something like MegaTextures is already entering with DX11.2 and tiled resources. So yes, they're here.

imt5581757d ago

But MegaTextures Carmack use with Rage a few years ago. Carmack knew that will be very useful in the near future.:) I hope we will see Doom 4.

Ju1757d ago (Edited 1757d ago )

He was one of the architects of using relative slow system ram with a fast on chip buffer to overcome bandwidth limitations.

But this is really only relevant if you have slow memory - or even worse, PCIe. It is what MS adopted and implemented in the XB1 but really, is useless if you have a full pool of GDDR memory which will always beat this.

It's a "paging" mechanism to "swap" tiles from fast "cache" (usually VRAM) to system RAM (or over PCIe). To slow for streaming. The main reason is PCs are VRAM limited - still. And there is a huge bottleneck "swapping" textures to system memory. His research was based on the finding, that a lot of high detailed textures use only a small portion of a actual texture and instead of swapping the whole texture this could be optimized by swapping "tiles" instead. This can be software driven (e.g. PS360) or HW (with some sort of GPU-mmu). And DX11.2 supports this on an API level.

The whole idea goes so far back like it was used by Permedia2 chips, or how PowerVR uses tile based rendering in HW.

nirwanda1756d ago

@ju it's as relevant to next gen texturing as scalable tessellation is to high polygon pushing.
If you think every texture this gen will several layers of textures and translucency at a high resolution you can see how important high to low texture swapping will be.

Ju1755d ago

We'll see. More relevant if you don't have the bandwidth using standard mip maps to begin with. But, sure, whatever reduces bandwidth requirements. I doubt we'll see tiled renderers within GDDR, though - at least not with the current gen of HW.

FrigidDARKNESS1757d ago

We may see a more advanced version of tile resources in the upcoming Dx11.5/12

ForgivenZombie1757d ago

It's true graphics only go so far, it's gameplay that matters, because if the game sucks it sucks no matter how good it looks.

kewlkat0071757d ago

Agreed, except those tend to twist that statement depending on the game to favor their opinions.

NewsForge1757d ago

Crysis 3 for example all eye candy, but no substance.

1756d ago
shivvy241756d ago

actually killzone 2 was damn great

elhebbo161757d ago

hopefully the next Bethesda studio games would use something similar to the mega texture tech since Id software is part of Bethesda.. to many times the texture in Skyrim and Fallout would seem so repetitive and boring.