Recently Euclideon released a in-depth video detailing a work-in-progress graphic engine which features “atoms” (as referred to) and not traditional polygons. The engine appears quite impressive and has received criticism and approval alike.
Lots of criticism stems from the engines current incomplete state. Currently lighting and animation has not been revealed. This is a concern because many believe that it is extremely difficult to light and animate objects in the engine. Regardless of whether or not the technology will garner further attention and real industry usage, it is impressive and exhibits a developer willing to invest in outside of the box ideas in a realm where other developers have simply been afraid to venture.
In the demo Bruce Dell explains that the island on which the demo takes place is one kilometer^2 consisting of “twenty-one trillion sixty-two billion three hundred and fifty-two million four hundred and thirty-five hundred thousand polygons”. An elephant model in the demo is shown to be 530,906 polygons. The island is packed with various repeated models of similar “atom” count.
Notch (the developer of Minecraft) responded to the original video below saying, “Perhaps you’ve seen the videos about some groundbreaking unlimited detail rendering technology? If not, check it out. Well, it is a scam. They are hyping this as something new and revolutionary because they want funding. It’s a scam. Don’t get excited”.
In reality, Euclideon has had funding for quite some time amounting to approximately $2 million dollars. The engine was in development by Bruce Dell for about six years before the existence of Euclideon as a company and pre-funding. The engine is now being worked on by a team of developers.
I find it extremely hard to believe that Bruce, his company and its investors would invest years and more than two million dollars into a graphic engine to scam the world and gain funding on an already adequately funded project.
Notch is a newcomer to the game industry who got extremely lucky. He lacks experience to call an engine a scam at this point in his career. He is insulting an incomplete product. Minecraft was written in Java and is only a little more than a sea of large squares with pixelated textures mapped onto them. Albeit a fun sea of squares. He does not have real industry experience and has not proven that he has adequate game engine expertise. I don’t deny that Notch is an intelligent man, but regardless of how intelligent he is he is making some ridiculous statements.
John Carmack (of id Software) responded to Euclideon’s video stating, “No chance of a game on current gen systems but maybe several years from now”. Carmack believes that the engine is feasible. He just believes that it will not be possible on current hardware for several years and has admitted to working on similar (Voxel) technology himself.
Carmack is one of the most respected figures in game development and is considered the authority on game engine development. He is widely accepted as a genius.
Right now the engine is running on a single core and is not yet taking advantage of hardware (GPU). It runs very well as is but is still only an engine. If developers pick up the engine and add physics, AI, animation and other overhead the engine will require updated hardware. Hardware which may or may not exist at that point in time.
Is this technology the future? That remains to be seen. In a world confined to still relatively low polygon counts and publishers afraid to invest money in non-standard ideas, I welcome Euclideon and wish them good luck.
Vimeo: HardOCP Bruce Dell Interview
notch.tumblr.com: It’s a Scam
nwn.blogs.com: John Carmack on Euclideon’s Unlimited Detail Demo, Notch’s Reaction To It & Carmack’s Own Plans for a Voxel Renderer