Voodoo Extreme vroeg Tim Sweeney (Epic / Unreal programmer) naar de mogelijkheden van 3D texture mapping, een nieuwe feature van de ATi Rage6:
Q: ATI's Rage 6 (and eventually others) will support some sort of 3D texture mapping in hardware. It sounds like the next logical step after bump mapping to provide added depth to visuals in games. Do you feel this will be an important feature in hardware that will be available to your disposal? If not, what do you think is the next emerging "must have" feature for a graphics accelerator, beyond raw fill rate / T&L?
A: Hang on a second: there are two different concepts here. 3D texture mapping, a.k.a. solid texture mapping, is a surface effect just like 2D texturing, but it involves sampling a single pixel from a 3D texture instead of a 2D texture. There isn't anything revolutionary about this, but it's a great practical benefit because it enables you to seamlessly texture parametrically generated objects like terrain and trees for which there is no nice continuous 2D mapping.
Volume texturing, a.k.a. volume visualization, is a much more computation-intensive technique used in medical imaging, which involves casting rays through a 3D image, usually performing 10 to 100 independent texture lookups and filters per pixel. It is currently too slow to be used in mainstream 3D hardware, but given a few years of Moore's Law, it should be within our grasp. However, the advantages of this approach for real-time rendering aren't so clear yet, as is its justification for existence. What can we render with it that we can't render as well otherwise? Cloud banks, rocks, realistic volumetric fog. I figure it's probably 4 or 5 years before the infrastructure exists to use this capability well.
Meer Tim Sweeney Q&A'tjes (en antwoord op de vraag wat de 'killer 3D feature' is) vind je op deze page bij VE.