ATI whipped the lid off its next-generation 3D graphics technology today, Truform.
And rather clever it sounds too. Truform essentially allows the look of 3D models to be improved with the addition of some extra data. A traditional approach to making a 3D model look more realistic would be to add more polygons to make the model's surface mesh more complex and thus smoother and more detailed.
The downside is that this requires more data to be processed and passed along the graphics bus.
ATI's solution is to allow 3D modellers to add what it calls "N-Patches - a new type of higher order surface composed of curved rather than flat triangles" to existing 3D models.
"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." The addition of the extra detail to the model is handled solely by the graphics accelerator, so there's little or no impact on system performance, ATI claimed.
The upshot of all this is that the 3D models can be used with hardware that doesn't support Truform - they will be rendered in the usual way.
ATI's N-Patches are compatible with DirectX 8 and OpenGL.
The company didn't say what hardware will offer Truform, but the upcoming Radeon 2 has to be the obvious choice. ATI likes to introduce new technologies a couple of months or so ahead of announcing the chip that will provide them - it's a handy way of minimising leaked info.
Radeon 2 is believed to be sampling this month before going into volume production in September, a schedule that's consistent with the timing of the Truform announcement. ®