Monday, September 21, 2009

AMD/OTOY bringing high-end gaming to the iPhone?

Ars Technica reports: [edited]

AMD unveiled its next-generation GPU architecture at an event today aboard the USS Hornet. 2.5 teraFLOPS of floating-point power, or well over twice the company's current high-end cards.

While AMD gave a number of very impressive demos of their next-generation DirectX 11 part OTOY's demo of Crysis running on an iPhone was probably the most intriguing use of AMD's upcoming GPU that I saw all evening.

OTOY claims to be able to deliver 3D games in real-time over the Internet, so that you can play, say, Crysis by using a remote render farm as a kind of terminal server that pushes out frames to a thin client that just does display and user input.

First, the game is rendered on the server machine, where frames from it are grabbed by the OTOY server-side software. Next, these frames are compressed and sent out over the network to the client, which decompresses them using a very small chunk of code (about 780K, hence the iPhone demo) and displays them in a window. User input is sent back to the server over UDP because it's tolerant of packet loss, so you don't add to latency by resending dropped packets.

The demos of Bioshock, Grand Theft Auto, and World of Warcraft were surprisingly responsive, despite the fact that the games were being served up by machines in Los Angeles. There was some discernible lag, but not much worse than what I was comfortable with in my Quake deathmatch days.

The iPhone's screen was small enough that I couldn't discern any compression artifacts, and the gameplay was smooth and responsive. Aside from the half-baked control scheme, which was apparently hacked together at the last minute, this really was Crysis running on an iPhone.

No comments: