QD3D Card - Some Observations

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Michael Eilers

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Mar 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/8/96
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In article <31400E...@pofvax.pnb.sunysb.edu>, Jeff
<Jt...@pofvax.pnb.sunysb.edu> wrote:

> QUICK DRAW 3D DOES NOT SPEED UP MARATHON II.
>
> Or marathon I for that matter. I am running Apple's QD3D card on my
> 7500 and there is NO DIFFERENCE with the card enabled or not running
> Marathon II. Just to dispell any myths. If you want to see support
> for the card, e-mail Bungie - perhaps they'll include it in INFINITY
> (then again, perhaps they'd have to re-design the entire engine).
>

supposedly, Apple's QuickDraw 3D RAVE would make hooking the Marathon up
to hardware renderers extremely easy--they just have to patch the plygon
routines through to the card, with RAVE handling the API interface--at
least that is the impression I got from the Apple readme on their web
page. Hopefully this means a LOT of games will be supporting this card in
the near future...


> THE CARD ROCKS
>
> If you haven't seen the card, Apple's new QD3D card is fantastic. I
> can increase Gerbils to 640x480 with NO SLOWDOWN and all
> texutres/features enabled.

I saw it demoed at macworld with 2 cards in a 9500--1024x832 in 24-bit
color, no slowdown, with little cars (transparent winshields!) in place of
the Gerbils. Awe. Drool. Hyperventilation. There wasn't a dry brow in the
house.

Too bad I'm stuck with a NuBus Mac.... :-( :-(

Anyone want to buy a slightly-used 7100? Will trade for anything with a
PCI bus.... ;-)

michael

David Matiskella

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Mar 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/9/96
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I think the speed improvement is going to depend on how you structure the
test. IE the card only accelerates the rendering of polygons. If the
transformation takes up a major chunk of time there won't be much speed
up. Similiarly lot's of small polygons probaly will not show the card in
the best light since they need proportionally more setup time. The card
should however fly in doing something like rendering marathon where the
average room probaly has less than 100 polygons visible at a time and most
of the polygons are rather large. This is a assuming however that it is
relatively easy for bungie to adapt there code to emit polygons. Ie if
they are using a scan line renderer, it could be rather tough.

David Matiskella
mati...@aa.washington.edu

Ryan E. Lundberg

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Mar 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/11/96
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>QUICK DRAW 3D DOES NOT SPEED UP MARATHON II.

>Or marathon I for that matter.


This could be due to the fact that neither of those two programs use or
acknowledge QD3D. It makes a difference.


Cheers.


---
Ryan-Emory Lundberg, Webmaster for Common Link Online
ca...@commonlink.com toys:PowerMac 6100, Ford Festiva!
See the next generation of computers! http://www.be.com/

J. Hunter

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Mar 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/13/96
to kbs...@silver.sdsmt.edu
Apple's QD3D card, in my opinion, is well worth the money as long as
developers continue to produce software. I think that is the major
stumbling block. But O.K., since you'd like something tangible to
compare it to, here's my BEST GUESS at frame rate acceleration. I can
say right off that there is NOT a 1200% increase in ANYTHING I've tried.

System: 7500/100/32MB/256K Cache; Apple's QD3D Card and QD3D 3.0.4

Gerbils: This is where the most amazing effect can be seen. On my
system without the card, the Screen is sized to 320 x 240 and FULL
effects are added - all texture maps, the floor, the sky, the track, the
rain, and the view is FOOD CAM.

Without the Card: 4 fps
With the Card: Fluid Motion >30fps
With the Card at 640 x 480: Fluid Motion, nauseatingly so. Appr. 30fps.

Then there's Whurlpool. That's the plugin which allows users to
download embedded 3DMF and check 'em out on the screen. The more
complex the model, the slower it goes, so I'll have to call an arbitrary
complexity rating such that a detailed bicycle would be HIGH and a
simple chair would be LOW.

Without the card - Low Complexity: appr. 10 fps
- High Complexity: appr. 1 fps
With the Card - Low Complexity: >30fps
- High Complexity: 7-10 fps (visible jerkyness)

I was disappointed because these objects are not even texturemapped,
just shaded and I couldn't rotate complex objects with ease. After
seeing Gerbils, I really though Whurlpool (or Whurlplug) would have
cruised with simple models. This is clearly not the case which means
something has to be optimized here or speedups are only noticable when
very simple objects are compared. I truly thought I'd be getting some
quick rendering with the card. After all, Apple did advertise
"Workstation quality". Sorry, but the SGI Indigo I've used is still a
good 2500% better than my system with the QuickDraw 3D card installed
and operating. Of course, my system was also 1/10th the price!

THE BOTTOM LINE
Unless developers start seriously exploiting the QD3D Card interface,
its not worth it. Of course with the announcement of QD3D RAVE, the new
cross platform 3D standard, you'll probably see some low cost, high
performance cards out there by the end of the year and with it, some new
apps. I was disappointed to discover that plans for QD3D implementation
into Descent and Descent II are on indefinite hold. To date, the only
GAME which exploits the card is HAVOC which promptly gave me an error
the first and only time I tried to use it with the card (I'm sure it was
just me). If, however, you're into modelling and animation, Specular
Infini-D is greatly enhanced by the card. Most functions are sped up,
though there's still some serious waits during the final rendinging.

SOME THOUGHTS
If QD3D calls are incorporated into future applications, I think we'll
be dazzled by the technology. Its probably going to take some hard core
programming tricks to get the most out of the card while still catering
to those people who don't own it. For now, however, its become quite
simple to design 3D apps (games) which rely on the card. Apple
developers have made it very simple to implement QD3D calls and control
all of its remarkable features (lighting, texturemapping, etc). Taking
that to a system without the card and only the QD3D extension, well,
that's where everyone is limited, especially with exclusive availability
for the Power Mac.

Look to the future to be dazzled. For now, I'd recommend standing in
the sidelines while developers (both hardware and software) fight it
out. In the end, its the consumer who will win.

-Jeff Till
Dept. Physiology and Biophysics
SUNY @ Stony Brook


Michael Eilers

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Mar 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/14/96
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In article <4i8cd1$7...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>, afcy...@aol.com (AFC
ydnar) wrote:

> >>
> >This could be due to the fact that neither of those two programs use or
> >acknowledge QD3D. It makes a difference.
>

it undoubtedly does.

> And someone was saying they do, which is why this thread started.
> You're not in a position to appear smug when you don't know the gist
> of the thread.
> <<
>

this WAS the gist of the thread, an no one nominated you to the thread police.

> lol. i started this thread, so i suppose i should post in it...
>
> i was just repeating whati had heard from a friend of mine who worked at
> bungie. he said that a guy from apple (on the qd3d team, i presume) came
> in and worked with jason jones for a week tuning jason's m2 engine so it
> could output the polygon/texture specs that the gotham card asked for. the
> card would then take over the grunt work of drawing the textured polygons,
> thus leading to an *insane* speedup.

Rumors are tough to chase down, but in all honesty, I am quite skeptical
about this one, even considering the source. All the programmer friends I
know working on 3-d engines (three at last count) insist that both Bungie
engines are scanline, not true polygon, and do not put out the xyz
coordinates necessary for true polygons. To do so would require a total
rewrite of the engine, thus making it *not* the Marathon engine. It is
definitely possible Bungie has a true polygon engine working (rumers about
this were circulating last year) but it is highly unlikely a scanline
engine can be modified to use QD3D.

michael

Michael Eilers

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Mar 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/14/96
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In article <4i70ap$q...@abel.cc.sunysb.edu>, "J. Hunter"
<JT...@pofvax.pnb.sunysb.edu> wrote:


>
> Look to the future to be dazzled. For now, I'd recommend standing in
> the sidelines while developers (both hardware and software) fight it
> out. In the end, its the consumer who will win.
>

Try the rest of the helper apps at the QD3D site--especially TextureEyes
and WhURLwind. it seems the difference really is in the software, mot the
hardware, as you have surmised. WhURLwind is slow with any model, any
rendering engine, but TextureEyes can play live video on a mesh sphere
spinning at an unmeasurable (by the human eye) speed... and on a complex
blimp model (engines, gondola,etc) the result were nearly the same.

michael

AFC ydnar

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Mar 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/14/96
to
>>
>This could be due to the fact that neither of those two programs use or
>acknowledge QD3D. It makes a difference.

And someone was saying they do, which is why this thread started.


You're not in a position to appear smug when you don't know the gist
of the thread.
<<

lol. i started this thread, so i suppose i should post in it...

i was just repeating whati had heard from a friend of mine who worked at
bungie. he said that a guy from apple (on the qd3d team, i presume) came
in and worked with jason jones for a week tuning jason's m2 engine so it
could output the polygon/texture specs that the gotham card asked for. the
card would then take over the grunt work of drawing the textured polygons,
thus leading to an *insane* speedup.

it may be that the only copy of the qd3d accelerated version of m2 left
bungie with the guy from apple.

mysteries abound...

ydnar :)
oo

(but go ahead and e-mail jason jones to bug him about it)
rf reddig yd...@odsnet.com http://www.odsnet.com

__
| | __
| | | | | -- /
| | | | | _ __ \

censorship.

you are like a maze of mirrors;
don't look too hard, lest you see more than yourself.

Michael Hanson

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Mar 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/15/96
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With regard to QD3D accelerator card performance software bounds:

In article <4i70ap$q...@abel.cc.sunysb.edu>, "J. Hunter"
<JT...@pofvax.pnb.sunysb.edu> wrote:

> Gerbils: This is where the most amazing effect can be seen. On my
> system without the card, the Screen is sized to 320 x 240 and FULL
> effects are added - all texture maps, the floor, the sky, the track, the
> rain, and the view is FOOD CAM.
>
> Without the Card: 4 fps
> With the Card: Fluid Motion >30fps
> With the Card at 640 x 480: Fluid Motion, nauseatingly so. Appr. 30fps.
>
> Then there's Whurlpool. That's the plugin which allows users to

(WhurlPlug, I think you mean)

> download embedded 3DMF and check 'em out on the screen. The more
> complex the model, the slower it goes, so I'll have to call an arbitrary
> complexity rating such that a detailed bicycle would be HIGH and a
> simple chair would be LOW.
>
> Without the card - Low Complexity: appr. 10 fps
> - High Complexity: appr. 1 fps
> With the Card - Low Complexity: >30fps
> - High Complexity: 7-10 fps (visible jerkyness)
>

Remember also that WhurlPlug rotates the image _only_ when
Netscape decides to send it an idle event! It is not hitting
anything like 100% utilization of the card or the processor.
Gerbils, IMHO, is a much more accurate model of what the
card can do, though it is still processing events.

If you have a QD3D card and are interested in seeing what the
card can do when the system really cranks on it, get the 3D World
demo and make a scene with a bunch of objects (texture map about
half of them and make a bunch of them semi-transparent too). Then
select the "Orbit" plugin and spin the scene around -- this plugin
runs the renderer at the maximum rate instead of waiting for
background events. It's pretty impressive... I get fast, fluid
motion of a couple dozen semi-translucent texture-mapped objects with no
problems on my 8500/Apple 3D card system; I have not yet tried
to really stress the system and find the upper bound (any volunteers
out there?) I agree that this is might be too few objects for
detailed modelling (which have less of a real-time requirement
anyway), but has real possiblities for games.


With regard to SGI Indigo vs. QD3D performance, remember
that the card also has on-board hardware support for transparency
and constructive solid geometry, which are not accelerated
on the Indigo (I think; I'm certain about the CSG, but there
might be some transparency hardware in there. Can anyone
fill in details?). Both of these features could be used by
application writers for some really stunning effects...

-mh

--
Michael Hanson
han...@cs.stanford.edu

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