More DOOM III action

E3 coverage has been thick this past week, but most of it has centered on consoles and kiddie games, so I've only been marginally interested. DOOM III seems to be the only title on the PC that has gotten much attention, but boy, does it look good—better than anything on any console. Essentially, the new DOOM engine looks to bring movie-quality CG animation to real-time PC gaming. Lighting and shadows are interactive, and they look real. Very high-polygon models are converted to lower-poly models and bump maps. Vertex shader programs make the baddies move and flex like real. An accurate physics engine makes the whole world interactive. Full 5.1 surround audio support with real positional 3D sound is built-in.

GameSpy managed to corner a big chunk of the id Software team for interviews. Their interview with John Carmack has the latest dirt on graphics cards for DOOM:

Based on the feature set, the Radeon 8500 should be a faster card for Doom than the GF4, because it can do the seven texture accesses that I need in a single pass, while it takes two or three passes (depending on details) on the GF4. However, in practice, the GF4 consistently runs faster due to a highly efficient implementation. For programmers, the 8500 has a much nicer fragment path than the GF4, with more general features and increased precision, but the driver quality is still quite a ways from Nvidia's, so I would be a little hesitant to use it as a primary research platform.
So the Radeon 8500's pixel shaders ("fragment path") are superior, but NVIDIA's drivers win the day. However, ATI's next-gen hardware powered the E3 DOOM demonstrations.

You'll find more from The Carmack in this interview at GameSpy's inteviews with the rest of the id crew are here and here. Also, GameSpy has "hands-on" impressions of DOOM III. Thanks to the Shack for all the linkage.

Oh yeah, and a demo of Unreal Tournament 2003 is due in a few weeks. Time to pick a new video card?

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