|Bump Mapping - Pixel Shaders
One of the great bonuses of having so many texture units, the GeForce2 GTS has the abaility to use DOT3 Bump Mapping to enhance visual quality with little effort from game developers, and a reasonable impact on overall performance. But what is bump mapping?
Couple of links to refresh the memory:
- nV News - GeForce2 GTS NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer
- NVIDIA - Hardware Bump-mapping Choices and Concepts
- NVIDIA - GPU Bump Mapping Techniques
The basics? A bump-map layer is added to the textures rendered onto surfaces that represents reflectivity, transluscence, etc., there by replacing a performance dragging lightmap.
Computer Artworks recently released a patch to their game Evolva which utilizes the Pixel-Shading capabilities of the GeForce NSR. Along with the patch, they released the stand alone Evolva Rolling Demo and Benchmark. Both the patch and stand alone benchmark can be downloaded here
Take a look at some screens from the rolling demo and benchmark...
|No Bump Mapping
||Full DOT3 Bump-Mapping
||High Contrast Mode
|Performance - Can the 6.16 drivers help?
Well, that's impressive, eh? You are probably asking yourself what impact could the new Detonators possibly have on performance in such a visually rich environment as Evolva.
Here is a chart of the performance increase from the 5.32 to the 6.16 drivers.
Evolva Bump-Mapped Rolling Demo
While the average had only modest gains, overall performance when watching the demo roll seems smoother. Also, texture loads appear to be more efficient and, when executed, are less intrusive.
The additional performance of the 6.16 drivers in this test are not stratospheric, but I have to say they are significant. When there is as much detail and eye-candy as when Evolva is in DOT3 mode, a driver-only framerate increase of 5-10% is very significant.
With the Evolva Bump Patch and the 6.16 Detonators, we are starting to see the true potential of the GeForce2 GTS.
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