Ken Dyke on OS X 2D Acceleration
9:44 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story
Ken Dyke, a former programmer with 3dfx and currently working for Apple as an OpenGL engineer, has posted some comments in xlr8yourmac's forum regarding graphics card acceleration for OS X's Quartz API. The article is laced with technical jargon, but does sum it up simply for those that just want to know what it means. Those of you who have complained about the speed of the Finder of OS X and slow window redraw will find his comments both enlightening and depressing. While this isn't game related, the underlying mechanics of the OS are pretty fascinating, we think you'll agree.
Here's a clip for the techies:
The Quartz/CoreGraphics imaging model is essentially the same as PDF/PostScript, and makes heavy use of Bezier curves. There are no GPUs out there that can rasterize PostScript/PDF paths, so the CPU is at the very least stuck with the burden of rasterizing an alpha mask that represents the anti-aliased shape of the path you are trying to draw. Given such an alpha mask you might be able to use it as a texture to then render a character glyph or whatever else you're trying to draw.Here's the summation of it all, for casual and expert gamers alike:
With Quartz, a huge leap in 2D image quality was raised (for better or worse), and we've once again surpassed what the current generation of graphics hardware is capable of dealing with. Interesting news, to be sure. It's nice that Apple managed to raise the bar substantially in terms of 2D graphics, but it's a shame that current GPUs (the processors of graphics cards) can't fully support it. As Dyke so accurately puts it, it's "for better or worse." Be sure to check out the link below for the full post.
xlr8yourmac.com - Ken Dyke's Thoughts on OSX 2D
Over time I suspect we'll see GPUs that do more of what Quartz needs, but right now they simply don't exist.
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