3DS Uses DMP's PICA200 GPU

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Fafalada

Fafracer forever
brain_stew said:
Tbf, most of it comes from texture aliasing/shimmering and that shouldn't be an issue here since the chip supports mipmapping and decent texture filtering modes.
So did PSP.
And so far 3DS demos have the same nasty problems with texture aliasing as PSP/PS2, which leads me to question how hw implements mipmap selection.

Anyway, this raises a new question - whether the 3DS has old DS hw in there for BC(could be also used for bottom screen in 3DS mode) or it's done via emulation.
 
Father_Brain said:
If it weren't for the 3D screen, I'd agree that a sub-$200 price point would be a fairly safe bet. But there's a very good chance that from Nintendo's perspective, the wow factor from the 3D will be enough to justify an additional premium; exactly how much remains to be seen, of course.
I would hope that Nintendo might learn a lesson from Sony about assuming people will pay through the nose for new tech. On the other hand, they've been raising the price of the DS for years with absolutely no resistance on the consumer side...
 
Jon of the Wired said:
Though, just saying it's an ARM CPU gives absolutely no indication of its performance. I'd be very curious to know whether it will be an ARM11 or a Cortex A8 processor, and whether or not it'll have a NEON vector unit. Presence of a NEON unit, even more than clockspeed, will have a huge impact and what you'll be able to do on the CPU.
As will the amount of L2 cache. I'd say an ARM11 design is most likely at this point, though, hopefully with the full 256KB of L2 cache.


If the CPU does have the full NEON FPU then that makes things quite interesting, I'm sure some developers will find creative uses for it to boost the graphics performance of their games. It could make up for the lack of programmable shaders since there aren't that many other ES 2.0 shader effects that are missing from the PICA200, doing some of those that are missing on the FPU could be feasible.

I quite like the design Nintendo has gone for tbh, its going to allow them to produce games with most of the modern effects we expect but without sacrificing battery life and overall efficiency in the process. The hardware soft shadow maps that the chip produces are particularly high quality for a mobile device and getting good shadow maps out of Flipper was always said to be a bitch to implement.
 
Fafalada said:
So did PSP.
And so far 3DS demos have the same nasty problems with texture aliasing as PSP/PS2, which leads me to question how hw implements mipmap selection.

Anyway, this raises a new question - whether the 3DS has old DS hw in there for BC(could be also used for bottom screen in 3DS mode) or it's done via emulation.
Well, yeah, but it was used so sparingly, I "assume" this won't be the case with a more modern GPU design but, you're right I shouldn't get too far ahead of myself.

What was the reason for so many developers skipping mip mapping on the PSP anyway? I've been playing Assasins Creed lately and that uses mip mapping and the game looks so much better for it and its hardly one of the more technologically simple PSP titles either.

Motorstorm is one title that really suffers for it, which is a shame as its really impressive otherwise and doesn't resort to 16 bit rendering either. Since we're talking PSP, could you give any feedback as to why so few games use something akin to GT's temporal antialiasing as it works so damn well in that title, I'd have loved to have seen that image quality in other games on the system.


As for the BC question, I think this announcement makes hardware BC much more likely. By my reckoning there's a whole raft of DS functions that won't map directly to this GPU. Perhaps they're packing a ARM CPU with the full NEON FPU and using that to make up for some of the functions that can't be mapped to the GPU? Is that even feasible?
 

EatChildren

Currently polling second in Australia's federal election (first in the Gold Coast), this feral may one day be your Bogan King.
Will the 3DS be able to run Crysis maxed out?

This is important.
 
Easy_D said:
Why is lack of MSAA such a big deal? Doesn't the chip do regular FSAA?
You really think many games are going to have the cycles spare to run full 2x2 supersampling? Maybe if you want your games to look like they were built for the NDS. Supersampling is sloooooooooooooooooooow.
 
Okay, I just did some tests and I think my "3D anti-aliasing theory" has been proven true. For me, at least.




Both of these images have extremely noticeable aliasing artifacts, when looked at individually. But when I cross my eyes to generate the 3D effect, the harshness of the aliasing is reduced dramatically. I'm usually quite sensitive to aliased edges, but when I look at these images in 3D, the only aliasing I can still notice without squinting is the banner in racing game and where the edge of the boat meets the water in the other. Even there the harshness of the aliasing is reduced.
 

blu

Wants the largest console games publisher to avoid Nintendo's platforms.
brain_stew said:
As will the amount of L2 cache. I'd say an ARM11 design is most likely at this point, though, hopefully with the full 256KB of L2 cache.

If the CPU does have the full NEON FPU then that makes things quite interesting..
NEON is ARMv7 tech. ARM11 is ARMv6.

I'm sure some developers will find creative uses for it to boost the graphics performance of their games. It could make up for the lack of programmable shaders since there aren't that many other ES 2.0 shader effects that are missing from the PICA200, doing some of those that are missing on the FPU could be feasible.
according to the specs, PICA has ARB_vertex_program shaders - ie. GL 1.5-class vertex shaders (assembly language, no vertex textures, etc).

basically, PICA is not so far from Imagination's powervr MBX - it too had vertex shaders, which apple did not bother to expose in the drivers of the iphone :/

to get back to the 'how does it fare against flipper?' question:

* flipper had no vertex shaders, and that was the major drawback in its usefulness
* flipper likely has better quality texture filtering (trilinear and anisotropic)
* flipper may be more flexible for pixel shading effects, but at the same time is more difficult to program for; pica is pretty much 'enable the pixel shading hw effect, write a vertex shader that supplies the expected params'
 
Branduil said:
Okay, I just did some tests and I think my "3D anti-aliasing theory" has been proven true. For me, at least.

http://i45.tinypic.com/o8ufk9.jpg[IMG]
[IMG]http://i48.tinypic.com/j16dzn.jpg[IMG]

Both of these images have extremely noticeable aliasing artifacts, when looked at individually. But when I cross my eyes to generate the 3D effect, the harshness of the aliasing is reduced dramatically. I'm usually quite sensitive to aliased edges, but when I look at these images in 3D, the only aliasing I can still notice without squinting is the banner in racing game and where the edge of the boat meets the water in the other. Even there the harshness of the aliasing is reduced.[/QUOTE]
Looks like it has about the same effect as 2xSSAA. Jagies are still noticeable but don't look as severe.
 

Easy_D

never left the stone age
brain_stew said:
You really think many games are going to have the cycles spare to run full 2x2 supersampling? Maybe if you want your games to look like they were built for the NDS. Supersampling is sloooooooooooooooooooow.
Sorry, I'm not a tech wizard so I can't just look at the name of a chip and know what effects it can pump out at the same time :D

Edit: Looking back at this post it almost looks insulting, which was not my intent :lol.
 
Ignis Fatuus said:
So, can some tech wizard compare this thing to a PSP?
All we really know now is the featureset of the GPU, and in that area it comfortably outclasses the PSP so expect more modern effects to be common in the 3DS games. other than that we don't have enough information to make a comparison and besides the PSP's theoretical performance and real world results are chasms apart, at least in the vast majority of cases.
 
brain_stew said:
All we really know now is the featureset of the GPU, and in that area it comfortably outclasses the PSP so expect more modern effects to be common in the 3DS games. other than that we don't have enough information to make a comparison and besides the PSP's theoretical performance and real world results are chasms apart, at least in the vast majority of cases.
So it's fair to say that so far it's more powerful than the PSP, expected IMO.
 
AranhaHunter said:
So it's fair to say that so far it's more powerful than the PSP, expected IMO.
Based on screenshots? Probably. Based on the information we have about this GPU? No, not yet.

We don't know how many pipelines Nintendo's chip ahs (between 1-4) and we don't know what clockspeed it runs at either. DMP could comfortably manage 200mhz on a 2006 process technology (probably 90nm or 65nm) but in 2010 at say 40nm or 45nm it very well may be able to run much faster without consuming any more power.

Until we know the number of pipelines and the clock speed, we really don't know anything about its raw throughput, these two unknowns leave almost an order of magnitude worth of variation. Its like judging how fast an Nvidia GPU is based on someone telling you its a "9 series Geforce." That amount of information tells you very little about its real world or even theoretical performance characteristics, it only gives you information about its architecture and its featureset. Nothing more, nothing less.
 
bigswords said:
Can I ask roughly what kind of graphic quality are we looking at? GC , dreamcast quality? PS2 / xbox ?

I think that's more important to me.
The chip can do some stuff you couldn't realistically do on last gen hardware, but we don't know much about the actual performance yet.
 
Funny how it's using non programmable shaders. Effectively the same as GCN/Wii :lol

Though I bet Nintendo aren't using an off the shelf version. They're probably using a modified version of this chip. Performance will also depend on what CPU setup they're going for.
 
brain_stew said:
You really think many games are going to have the cycles spare to run full 2x2 supersampling? Maybe if you want your games to look like they were built for the NDS. Supersampling is sloooooooooooooooooooow.
Isn't Star Fox 3D using FSAA though?
 
Why do people keep asking the same question how powerful is the 3DS graphically?

It's been said multiple times in the thread. We won't know this until more details are uncovered.

Anybody who says otherwise is simply talking out of their ass.
 
Jenga said:
Between Dreamcast and PS2 is what I hear
I really don't get how anyone can say this. Even if the resolution is lower, even if it can't push as many polys, the simple fact it can do competent shaders and self shadowing, to me, puts it way ahead of any PS2 game I've seen.

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that even if Resident Evil Redemption doesn't end up looking as good as the real time E3 demo that second generation 3DS games will, and the Redemption demo is already better looking than anything that ever appeared on PS2, GameCube, or Xbox.

To me the 3DS is looking a lot more like it's going to fall somewhere in between PS2/GameCube/Xbox and PS360, again, with lower polygon detail, but compensated for by these various effects it is capable of.

And on such a small screen that doesn't really matter, I think.
 
Hell I'm just glad you have the ability to do normal maps. It really gives you a ton of flexibility in art design while keeping the poly count relatively low. I just hope they give it enough ram so the textures don't look like ass.
 
Reading about the samurai techdemo is rather interesting. The floor for example is not a texture and uses no RAM or bandwidth. The pattern is generated on the fly by the GPU.
 
via B3D

Nintendo goes with DMP for S3D graphics engine

The decision to use DMP’s PICA200 design was made over a year ago and testing and development have been going on for some time; it’s not as easy as it may seem to license a core and integrate it into an SoC and get the costs (die size), power consumption (has to run forever on small batteries), and performance (clocks and memory management) balance. So as you learn more about this device if you wonder why it took them so long, keep all that in mind.

DMP first told me about the PICA architecture in early 2005 which was their first IP core based on Ultray architecture. The president and CEO of DMP, Tatsuo Yamamoto, told me then the Ultray allows real-time photo realistic rendering with physically correct lighting and shadowing such as soft shadow casting and position dependent environmental mapping.

Ultray is unique in that it uses hardware parametric engines for certain graphics features rather than shaders. With this approach, clouds, smoke, gas and other fuzzy objects can be shaded and rendered at an interactive rate.

At Siggraph 2005 (LA) DMP revealed in more detail some of their techniques for hair, skin, and gaseous shapes. Yamamoto said then that the Ultray could boast lower power consumption due to hardware pipelines, and smaller number of polygons to achieve high-quality graphics based on pixel-level shading (Phong, BRDF, etc.) vs. vertex-level and polygon subdivision.

So the bottom line is that amazing high-end graphics functions in a low-cost handheld device with stereovision is not only possible, it has arrived. The 3DS graphics has a lot of head room to be further exploited and we’re expecting to be really thrilled to see and play with what Nintendo and its partners have at launch.
I also found this slide from a 2008 PDF which shows 400 MHz maximum clock @ 65nm as well as an idea of power consumption:

 

ZealousD

Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
charlequin said:
This is sort of the opposite; it pre-defines most of the effects you'd ever want to use for you and you just activate them via the provided API (but at a loss of flexibility -- you can't create your own unique pixel-shader effects.)
Given that most of the games on the 3DS are likely going to be comparitively low-budget affairs, how many developers would actually want to spend the time programming their own shaders? Seems like being able to do some API calls would be much faster and cheaper anyway.
 
wsippel said:
Reading about the samurai techdemo is rather interesting. The floor for example is not a texture and uses no RAM or bandwidth. The pattern is generated on the fly by the GPU.
That isnt anything ground breaking just a procedural texture they do use ram and bandwidth just not a significant amount that it matters. Computer animation in all its forms has used procedural textures since it was created. Math is a crazy thing when used correctly. :D
 

ixix

Exists in a perpetual state of Quantum Crotch Uncertainty.
brain_stew said:
It should work very similar to how Gran Turismo on PSP does it, which is explained here:

http://forum.beyond3d.com/showpost.php?p=1345145&postcount=38

Instead of alternating frames, it'll be alternating pixels that are blended togethe to provide 2 samples for each edge. Note this anti aliases the whole image, not just the polygon edges.
So then in 2D mode the 3DS uses something similar to the technique that some PS2 games used where they blended the previous frame with the current frame to create a sort of anti-aliasing? Except instead of blending the current frame with the previous frame the system blends the two frames that would normally be used to generate a single 3D image to create the effect.
 

Fafalada

Fafracer forever
brain_stew said:
What was the reason for so many developers skipping mip mapping on the PSP anyway?
They aren't, it's just how hw performs mipmap selection that makes aliasing on oblique surfaces prominent. PS2 had the same issue.
3DS media so far exhibits the same problems, which could suggest similar hw-implementation.

Since we're talking PSP, could you give any feedback as to why so few games use something akin to GT's temporal antialiasing as it works so damn well in that title
You answered yourself in the other thread ;) Like other temporal solutions (PC temp-AA and PS2's interlaced rendering) it requires 60hz and constant framerate to work.
It's interesting because it's basically LCD screen artifact (if pixels refreshed like a CRT or Plasma, you'd need to swap frames higher then 60hz for it to look good).

As for the BC question, I think this announcement makes hardware BC much more likely.
Probably, it'll be interesting to see more details on that.
 
I wonder if western developers are interested in this handheld? The DS got virtually no western support, but this thing seems pretty meaty.

Would be nice to get some portable WRPGs.
 
Gahiggidy said:
Do you think thing could run luigis mansion? Would the texture quality, poly detail and effects all be there?
I saw a hands-on recently where the guy says the objects on whatever demo he was viewing had textures that rivaled the XBOX.

So yeah, pretty sure it could handle Luigi's Mansion.
 
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