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Thursday, June 7, 2001
More Details on ATI's TruForm Tech
1:21 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A link at Stomped pointed us towards a nifty (and quite well done) Shockwave Flash presentation put together by graphics card and chipmaker ATI, that explains by visual examples their TruForm technology. This new feature, to be introduced with their next line of chips (due this Fall), takes the next logical step beyond merely anti-aliasing a scene by actually increasing the level of detail on all the 3D surfaces in the game to add more precise texturing, lighting and other effects. This ability to add more polygons to existing models on-the-fly will theoretically not only result in a dramatic increase in visual quality for older games, it will also take place with very little performance penalty as all the calculations are done within the GPU of the graphics card itself.

This detailed presentation defines all the terms surrounding this technology and gives interactive examples of TruForm in action. One of the elements brought to light which may have been neglected in the initial discussions of the new tech is its ability to greatly relieve the burden on the AGP bus, by moving much of the polygon calculation from the CPU of your computer to the GPU of the graphics card. Unlike "Transform, Clipping and Lighting," another method of calculating visual data on the card to avoid bus bandwidth issues, the polygon density increase that TruForm can accomplish does not require the game or its data to be set up a particular way to take advantage of it -- as with FSAA, it should be "backwards compatible" with any OpenGL or DirectX (a PC graphics API) game on the market.

The TruForm technology might even make it somewhat easier for developers to design games, as they would be able to leave aspects of engine design such as Level of Detail calculations to the card and drivers, and just build models that conserve RAM usage and CPU time instead.

As this technology is based on known features of OpenGL, we should expect it to be available on the Mac OS as well once ATI debuts their next line of cards. You can either view this presentation at the ATI web site or download the Shockwave file in .zip format -- just unzip it and drag the .htm file onto the icon of your web browser.

News: ATI Unveils TruForm Technology
Download TruForm Shockwave Presentation (768k .zip)
TruForm Shockwave Presentation at ATI's Web Site

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