Here’s John Carmack’s take on mega-textures in gaming

By Prarthito Maity , Updated Aug 05, 2013 11:25 AM EDT

Most of us who have seen the evolution of the gaming industry firsthand will know a thing or two John Carmack- who he is and how revolutionary id Software has been in directing video game evolution. As always, Carmack was present at this year’s QuakeCon where he spoke about id’s plans of using mega-textures in future games.

“So the performance issues on the PC, we had the disastrous driver problem and we still have driver problems that crop up. Some of that is also the fault of doing something that nobody else was doing. There is value to doing exactly what everyone else does, that is a well tested path, nobody will accidentally break something that everyone is doing. We were clearly doing something off the beaten road with the mega-texture, the continuous texture uploading and all that entire pipeline of things,” Carmack stated.

“It hit the goals that we were looking for on the consoles. On the PCs it should have been superior to that but we had the disastrous driver problem which colored a lot of people’s views on it and we still now occasionally have problems where Rage starts running crappy on somebody’s system.”

He went on to add that while the industry is still using mega-textures with higher densities “having more in the back which we can call as needed even if we can’t ship them necessarily. The step that I would like to take data wise and we just can’t afford to ship it on optical media (current generation) is if we can ship a defused map along with a pre-baked light, then we have the best of both worlds.”

“We have no downsides to dynamic lights, where right now we have to approximate them but you can also have the full glory of the completely baked world view. We are still far from tapping out all we can get it out from there. We have technologies that let people map paint directly on the mega-textures. We should be able to fix every crossing edge in the world which is something that is not at all plausible to do in any other way. Every time you have two things meeting, don’t have that edge seeing there that nothing get rid of but actually cross fade a little support texture around it,” Carmack added, as scripted by Gamingbolt.

Carmack also explained how the use of mega-textures have resulted in unbelievable outputs with little or no performance issues: “The ability where we have used it with stamping has allowed fantastic advances something that has no stability or performance issues. There were big wins to be had there that we didn’t make the most of and we are still trying to make more out of them. In the end when you say long term, data always wins. So something like mega-texture will win in the end, whether it is dominant in the coming generation or its takes the transition towards cloud gaming.”

Check out Carmack’s entire keynote at Quakecon 2013 and more in the video below.

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