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Tuesday, May 29, 2001
ATI Unveils TRUFORM Technology
9:34 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Today, ATI revealed their exciting new TRUFORM technology, which will included in all their future products. The TRUFORM technology will use the graphic chip's transform and lighting engine to smooth out and improve the lighting effects on objects. Because all of the work is done by the T&L engine, the visual improvement will not cause your frame rates to suffer. In fact, ATI claims that there will be no performance penalty. Another exciting characteristic of TRUFORM is that it will work with all games: past, present, and future. Older and current games will require updates, but according to ATI, only one line of code needs to be added for the game to take advantage of TRUFORM technology. ATI's innovative new feature is not proprietary, but a part of OpenGL and Microsoft's DirectX 8. Here is a quote from ATI's Senior Product Manager, taken from the press release sent to us this morning:

"TRUFORM also allows for a higher level of scalability, meaning the number
of triangles or polygons in a 3D image can be varied according to the
capabilities of the installed graphics hardware," explained Mr. Okumura.
"Software developers usually create low triangle count models so that their
games can run well on low-end PCs, which make up the vast majority of
products used today by consumers.

"TRUFORM can take these 3D models with low polygon counts and generate
smooth, highly detailed images, affording most users a greatly enhanced
visual experience with no compromise in performance or compatibility."

AnandTech has published an excellent article detailing the TRUFORM technology. It does get a bit technical, but the process is broken down step by step and explained thoroughly. Here are AnandTech's thoughts on ATI's breakthrough:
The best thing that TRUFORM has going for it is the fact that enabling the technology in future ATI products will not hinder performance at all. In fact, it will finally allow the T&L engine to do what it is good at: transform, light, and clip triangles. Add to this the obvious visual quality improvements that come with TRUFORM technology and it seems that we may have something to get excited about. Although the calculations are complex, and understanding the technology is a bit confusing, TRUFORM boils down to better image quality without a sacrifice in speed. And isn't that all that really matters?
As mentioned in the article, it seems that NVIDIA and ATI are moving away from pure performance. Graphics cards have gotten sufficiently powerful that they can now focus on other aspects of 3D games besides raw frame rate, specifically visual quality and effects. ATI seems to have taken a different approach to eliminating the jagged edges in a scene. Instead of sampling the given frame multiple times, which eats up fill rate and memory bandwidth, ATI is using the T&L engine to increase the polygon count of objects which are supposed to have curved surfaces. The popping and shimmering seen in games might not be eliminated, but for a zero frame rate hit, it is very impressive.

By now, you are probably wondering when we will see this technology. ATI has indicated that TRUFORM will be in their future products, so it is logical to assume that their next-generation chip will have it. Rumors have it that the Radeon 2, code named R200, is close to being completed and should be ready in the fall.

In related news, our colleagues at MacGamer have produced a hands-on report on this new technology, which involved an actual visit to ATI headquarters in Canada. Be sure to read this report and check out the screen shots for more details on this technology and its possible impact on present and future games.

TruForm: The Next Great Thing? at MacGamer
Inside ATI's TRUFORM Technology at AnandTech
ATI TRUFORM Press Release

Other Mac Games News for Tuesday, May 29, 2001

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Tales of the Sword Coast Ships11:42 AM
Volition Confirms No Mac Red Faction Level Editor11:25 AM
Mac Myst III: Exile Patch Coming "Soon"11:06 AM
'Cipher' Cross-Platform Game Engine Complete10:35 AM
Master of Orion III Down to 16 Races9:40 AM
• ATI Unveils TRUFORM Technology9:34 AM
IMG Previews Summoner9:29 AM
Civilization III Preview, Status9:26 AM
New Mac Gaming Site - FragMac8:29 AM
Custer's Latest - Max Payne Desktop8:15 AM
More Max Payne Previews, Screen Shots8:09 AM
Applelinks Moofie Winners Announced7:58 AM
ClanLord Tune Helper 1.0 Released6:00 AM
New Heroes of Might and Magic IV Images6:00 AM
Red Faction Q&A6:00 AM
Return to Dark Castle Beta 4 / Cow Catcher 1.6.16:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, May 29, 2001 on one page

Mac Games News for Friday, May 25, 2001

'MudPie' Technology Q&A2:54 PM
Myth III Interview, Demo Caught on Tape11:21 AM
Expansion Pack for Rogue Spear Planned9:35 AM
First Images of Warcraft III on OS X9:25 AM
New Master of Orion III Details9:10 AM
Max Payne Interview, Gameplay Details8:39 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, May 25, 2001 on one page

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