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Delta Force and Commanche were among games that drew me to alternative engines. Doing a CPU-based renderer gives you lots of new tricks and abilities, things you can't do with simplified massively parallel architecture like GPUs. Many games have a far view distance now (see Uncharted or Just Cause) - but doing it in a dynamic world that is procedurally generated in realtime with solid geometry is a whole other bag of cats. :)



Hear ye! I lost interest in games right around time time 3D graphics cards started coming out. I figured, that scene is pats its prime now; it's going to just be generations of the same thing over again, but rendered slightly better. Programmers no longer in control over the details, just pushing some triangle meshes into some hardware blackbox.

All software Doom, Quake, Wolf 3D, Rise of The Triad and such: that was still cool stuff.

The game programmer should control every pixel going into the frame buffer.


That used to be true, but right now you not only can, but have to control every pixel. The fixed pipeline is dead, now you have to write your own shaders and those can do literally anything. Or use CUDA/OpenCL for even more power.


Shaders still have plenty of limitations relative to a CPU (you can do virtually anything with them, but some tasks are too expensive to do efficiently). In particular, taking advantage of temporal and spacial coherence is much more tricky on a GPU - on a CPU the early 3D renderers could effectively use this stuff with scanline and fill tricks.


well you COULD use OpenCL to "control every pixel".

Here's an example of path tracing in "realtime" (ok, it's not quite there yet) on the GPU.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpT6MkCeP7Y

check out this blog too: http://raytracey.blogspot.com.au/




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