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Tuesday, May 05, 2009


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Ann Otoole

Make a reminder for 2 years from now when Linden lab raises the entry point of hardware to nVidea 9800 GPU.

"Everyone" in SL will have great shadows at that pint. Except non profits and educational efforts that is.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Opting out of dynamic shadows is far from enough to support current netbooks, which use Intel integrated graphics hardware that is inadequate for anything past compiz special effects--and before long we'll see netbooks using the nVidia Ion chipset, so it won't matter.

Arahan Claveau

Nice, but it is useless until they fix the anti-aliasing bug, SL looks damn ugly without AA.


"From a hardware perspective, in other words, the market is shifting away from shadows"

That's not exactly true - netbook sales are going to plateau slightly in the west because China is keeping more and more for themselves and this will push our prices up. When you can get a basic notebook for $50 more than a netbook why would you bother?

There are a few major initiatives about to hit the mainstream that will make the graphics chip in your choice of computer more important than it's ever been - OpenCL for one. Over the next few years the real battleground of PC performance won't be the CPU speed it will be the GPU performance. We're about to enter an era where it's ALL about graphics.

In this area netbooks are an irrelevance - they're for portable net access (the clue's in the name!) and no-one buys one for games.

Kelly Annton

Totally disagree, the market is shifting towards this technology. This era of technology will be focused on GPU and the market will continue the shift to upscale in this sector.

SL without shadows, come 12 months, will look like black and white tv period. With CryEngine loaded virtual worlds becoming more visible in the four quarter (e.g. Blue Mars) Linden Lab are doing the right thing introducing this.

Optional I think will be key for a lower grade viewer for edu and business use that may not require the gamer experience.

Hamlet Au

@Jovin, Kelly: Interesting points, but I just haven't seen any data to suggest next gen 3D graphics are a major selling point either for PCs or games/virtual worlds. The biggest MMO is running 2004 graphics and the bestselling PC series is 2.5D. Yes, GPU power is improving exponentially, but where's the proof that a mass audience actually wants it?

Loki Eliot

im a mac user


"the bestselling PC series is 2.5D."

That's false. I assume you're referring to the Sims series - while the original Sims was what you call "2.5D", The Sims 2 has a fully 3D world. Furthermore, the upcoming Sims 3 is also fully 3D, and the system requirements for that are significantly higher than those of Second Life.

Hamlet Au

Yes, the original 2.5D Sims and its many expansion packs is the biggest seller of all time. Sims 2 does have full 3D as an option, but my understanding is the default gameplay is constrained to look 2.5D, i.e. top down god's eye view.


@ Hamlet - The reason GPU's are about to become so important isn't because they let you play the most demanding games it's because they're about to be harnessed to aid in ALL areas of computing (at least many more than they currently do).

Initiatives like OpenCL and NVIDIA’s CUDA™ allow the operating system to tap into the incredible power of today's GPU's and use that to accelerate all sorts of other, more mundane, tasks.

There are other reasons it will go this way - currently we're stuffing more and more CPU cores into our computers to gain extra power. This method has 2 problems - it only works if coders know how to code for multiple cores (most don't) and the OS allows you to tap into them efficiently (most don't). The benefit of multiple cores also hits the wall at about 8 cores - at this point you can't shift information around inside the CPU fast enough to see any benefit of the all that processing - it actually starts to get slower!

Both the next version of OSX and of Windows have systems onboard which tap into the GPU to boost overall performance (with minimal coding required from dev's) and so that's why we're about to see GPU's as the new battleground.

Netbooks will continue to sell and probably grow in share - but they'll be bought by people who would never have bought the latest and greatest notebooks anyway. The rest of us are going to be examining GPU spec's more and more closely...


I have no expertise in this tech talk. But I do want shadows, I am tired of prim space for them. I am waiting for the fixes. If u want beauty and reality, why play with this version that renders avas quite....F*d?


Sims 1 is 2d, Sims 2 is fully 3d.

jenny fallopias

Where NPIRL goes, NWN surely copies...I mean follows.

Harper Ganesvoort

Can you imagine the lag in popular areas once the server has to start tracking all those shadows? I think this had better stay an optional thing. Yes, we may all appear as if we had trafficked with demons here (thanks, Harlan Ellison), but it'll be easier on the platform in the long run.

We don't have to be so absolutely photorealistic that we pass the Turing test. What we have right now is quite sufficient for all present needs.


"Can you imagine the lag in popular areas once the server has to start tracking all those shadows?"

I'm not really sure where you're coming from saying that because the server has nothing to do with shadows - which is why this pre-alpha code functions. The server doesn't render graphics. Just like anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, it's all client-side.

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