Game group gets word on Intel's new extensions for rendering

Programmable Blend with PixelSync
Programmable Blend with PixelSync

( —Intel was not going to let an event like the Game Developers Conference from March 25 to March 29 in San Francisco, described on the conference site as the world's largest professionals-only game industry event, go by without talking up the merits of Intel's stepped-up graphics focus. Intel took advantage of the event's special audience to announce new capabilities through DirectX extensions for software developers. The extensions will speed up and ease game rendering.

The first of these extensions, PixelSync, will make it easier for developers to come up with the more challenging types of special effects. In Intel's release describing these extensions, it said of PixelSync that the extension "provides access to underlying hardware that allows programmers to properly composite partially transparent pixels without the need for an expensive sorting operation."

PixelSync is to help speed up the sorting of transparent graphical elements. Intel said that game developers have looked forward to the kind of capability that PixelSync offers. They can more realistically render smoke, hair, windows, foliage, fences and other and .

"The artists working on 'Grid2' have been requesting this type of effect for years, and prior to this, it wasn't possible to achieve it at a reasonable cost," said Clive Moody, senior executive producer at Codemasters Racing.

Intel also announced another extension, InstantAccess, which will make accessing data in Haswell's CPU and GPU more efficient. InstantAccess works by allowing physical memory to be written and read from either the CPU or from built-in Intel HD Graphics.

"These real-time rendering extensions are being released in advance of the launch of Intel's newest generation of Core processors in order to give developers extra time to begin incorporating them into their products. Initially, these extensions are available through Intel's implementation of DirectX and on Intel 4th gen Core platforms only," said Intel.

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