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Gaming Definitions for the Masses: Part 1

August 5, 2008 Written by Anthony Severino

Written by LinuxGuru
We all love dictionaries and encyclopedias

We all love dictionaries and encyclopedias

Ever wonder what any of that lingo developers use regarding their game development is? Well, help has arrived! (Wikipedia is a godsend!)

Let’s start with some basic terms:

Without HDR ----------------------------------With HDR

Without HDR ------ | ---------- With HDR

The Force Unleashed

Havok Physics will power a lot of the action in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Ageia PhysX in Unreal Tournament 3 'Torn' map

Ageia PhysX in Unreal Tournament 3 'Torn' map

Some objects let a little light through...that glow is light being reflected around inside the object

Some objects let a little light through...that glow is light being reflected around inside the object

  • Subsurface Scattering – a mechanism of light transport in which light penetrates the surface of a translucent object, is scattered by interacting with the material, and exits the surface at a different point. The light will generally penetrate the surface and be reflected a number of times at irregular angles inside the material, before passing back out of the material at an angle other than the angle it would reflect at had it reflected directly off the surface. Subsurface scattering is important in 3D computer graphics, being necessary for the realistic rendering of materials such as marble, skin, and milk.
With DMM, a wall stands no chance against something the likes of a tank

With DMM, a wall stands no chance against something the likes of a tank

  • DMM – (Digital Molecular Matter) A middleware physics engine developed by Pixelux. It is designed for computer, video games, and other simulation needs by attempting to simulate physical real-world systems. Unlike traditional realtime simulation engines which tend to be based on rigid body kinematics, the novel use of FEA allows for DMM to simulate a more general set of properties. Developers assign physical properties to a given object (or portion of an object) and then at runtime they behave as they would in the real world (e.g. ice, gummy bear, etc.) In addition the properties of objects (or even just parts of objects) can be changed at runtime allowing for additional interesting effects.
Euphoria simulates a character's nervous system, skeletal system, and muscular system

Euphoria simulates a character's nervous system, skeletal system, and muscular system, as well as collision.

  • Euphoria – A game animation engine created by NaturalMotion based on Dynamic Motion Synthesis, NaturalMotion’s proprietary technology for animating 3D characters on-the-fly “based on a full simulation of the 3D character, including body, muscles and motor nervous system“.[2] Instead of using predefined animations, the characters’ actions and reactions are synthesized in real-time; they are different every time, even when replaying the same scene.

HDMI in all its glory

  • HDMI – The High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is a compact audio/video connector interface for transmitting uncompressed digital streams. HDMI supports, on a single cable, any TV or PC video format including standard, enhanced, and high-definition video along with up to 8┬áchannels of digital audio.
Top Bottom

Top ------------- | ------------- Bottom

That's a special GPU. It's got the ability to have work offloaded from it onto the cell, freeing up precious power for other eyecandy

That's a special GPU. It's got the ability to render 128-bit HDR, and have work offloaded from it onto the cell, freeing up precious power for other eye candy

Specifications

  • 550 MHz on 90 nm process [1]
    • 300+ million transistors (600 million with Cell CPU) [2]
    • Multi-way programmable parallel floating-point shader pipelines[3]
      • Independent pixel/vertex shader architecture
      • 24 parallel pixel-shader ALU pipes
        • 5 ALU operations per pipeline, per cycle (2 vector4 , 2 scalar/dual/co-issue and fog ALU, 1 Texture ALU)
        • 27 FLOPS per pipeline, per cycle
      • 8 parallel vertex pipelines
        • 2 ALU operations per pipeline, per cycle (1 vector4 and 1 scalar, dual issue)
        • 10 FLOPS per pipeline, per cycle
      • Maximum vertex count: 1.6 billion vertices per second
      • Minimum (worst case) polygon count: 366.66 million polygons per second ( 1 billion vertices per second / 3 vertices per triangle)
      • Maximum (theory case) polygon count: 533.33 million polygons per second( 1.6 billion vertices per second / 3 vertices per triangle)
      • Maximum (optimistic case) polygon count: 886 million and more depending on how many triangle strips are used in a game.
      • Maximum shader operations: 136 billion shader operations per second
      • Floating Point Operations per Second: 1.8 TFLOPs (1.8 trillion Floating Point Operations per Second)[4]
    • 24 texture filtering units (TF) and 8 vertex texture addressing units (TA)
      • 24 filtered samples per clock
        • Maximum texel fillrate: 12.0 GigaTexels per second (24 textures * 550 MHz)
      • 32 unfiltered texture samples per clock, ( 8 TA x 4 texture samples )
    • 8 Render Output units / pixel rendering pipelines
      • Peak pixel fillrate (theoretical): 4.4 Gigapixel per second
      • Maximum Z sample rate: 8.0 GigaSamples per second (2 Z-samples * 8 ROPs * 550 MHz)
      • Maximum anti-aliasing sample rate: 8.0 GigaSamples per second (2 AA samples * 8 ROPs * 550 MHz)
    • Maximum Dot product operations: 54 billion per second [5]
    • 128-bit pixel precision offers rendering of scenes with high dynamic range rendering (HDR)
    • 256 MB GDDR3 RAM at 700 MHz[6] [7]
      • 128-bit memory bus width
      • 22.4 GB/s read and write bandwidth
    • Cell FlexIO bus interface
      • 20 GB/s read to the Cell and XDR memory
      • 15 GB/s write to the Cell and XDR memory
    • Support for OpenGL ES 2.0
    • Support for S3TC texture compression [1]

    The award-winning interface...gracing PS3s worldwide

    The award-winning interface...gracing PS3s worldwide

  • XMB – The XrossMediaBar (pronounced CrossMediaBar and officially abbreviated as XMB) is the Emmy award-winning graphical user interface developed by Sony.[1] The interface features icons that are spread horizontally across the screen. Navigation moves the icons, instead of a cursor. These icons are used as categories to organize the options available to the user. When an icon is selected on the horizontal bar, several more appear vertically, above and below it (selectable by the up and down directions on a directional pad). Originally used on the PSX, the XrossMediaBar is used as the default interface on both the PlayStation Portable and the PlayStation 3. Since 2006, it has also been used in high-end WEGA TVs,[2] the BRAVIA starting with the 3000 (only in S-series and above), some Sony Cyber-shot cameras and the high-end STR-DA 5200ES AV receiver. The Sony Ericsson K850’s and W910’s media menu is also a version of XMB, indicating that the next implementation of XMB is in Sony Ericsson mobile phones. The XMB has also been confirmed as the menu system in the next generation of Sony’s BRAVIA TVs.[3] Sony has also added the XMB to its latest range of VAIO laptops.[4]