Monday, September 15, 2008

Tim Sweeney on the Twilight of the GPU

Ars Technica published an excellent interview with Tim Sweeney on the Twilight of the GPU. As the architect of the Unreal Engine series of game engines, Tim has almost certainly been disclosed on all the upcoming GPUs. Curiously he only talks about NVIDIA and Larrabee. Is ATI out of the race?

Anyway, Tim says a lot of sensible things:

  • Graphics APIs at the DX/OpenGL level are much less important than they were in the fixed-function-GPU era.
  • DX9 was the last graphics API that really mattered. Now it's time to go back to software rasterization.
  • It's OK if NVIDIA's next-gen GPU still has fixed-function hardware, as long as it doesn't get in the way of pure-software rendering. (ff hardware will be useful for getting high performance on legacy games and benchmarks.)
  • Next-gen NVIDIA will be more Larrabee-like than current-gen NVIDIA.
  • Next Gen programming language ought-to-be vectorized C++ for both CPU and GPU.
  • Possibly the GPU and CPU will be the same chip on next-gen consoles.