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Old 10-12-02, 09:24 PM   #13
Bigus Dickus
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I understand then. "Consistency" and "lowest quality part of the image" only matter in some circumstances. Apparently, it doesn't matter to you for MSAA because it doesn't happen that often. Oddly, rotated AF planes, although not very common either and not nearly as noticeable as a jagged alpha texture, does matter.

As I said... to each his own I guess.
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Old 10-12-02, 09:54 PM   #14
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But rotated planes do happen, in each and every single game.

Alpha tests don't exist in every game.

And regardless of any visual quality benefits of returning to supersampling, it's not going to be done due to the incredible performance benefits from not doing it (though, in the future, selective supersampling may be done...but that will be up to game developers...and by selective, I mean per-primitive, not full-screen).

Update: I guess you could actually say that constistency only matters in some circumstances. Basically, it only matters when it's feasible. If game developers want to put alpha tests in their games, then they need to deal with the consequences (lower image quality on modern hardware...).

As a side note, regardless of your FSAA method, certain alpha-test situations will always show severe problems. Specifically, there will always be significant aliasing with an alpha test if the textures are minified too much (how much depends on the texture). An example of a texture that is particularly prone to this would be a chain link fence texture.

Regardless, I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Hardware companies are not going to switch back to full-screen supersampling, so it's pointless to even argue for them to do it. Therefore, optimizing image quality for multisampling hardware is up to the game developers, and it is certainly possible to do.

The anisotropic issue is totally different, as nVidia has shown that proper calculation of the anisotropic level is possible. They've been doing it since the original GeForce. This is an issue that can and most certainly should be solved by ATI.

Last edited by Chalnoth; 10-12-02 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 10-12-02, 10:31 PM   #15
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Oh, and one final thing. The worst-case scenarios for 2x SSAA and other forms of MSAA are the same, if you want to include alpha tests. Both will apply no FSAA in certain situations (MSAA due to how a game is made, SSAA at certain angles). You'd have to go up to at least 4x SSAA to make the appropriate comparison you were attempting to make.
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Old 10-12-02, 10:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chalnoth
But rotated planes do happen, in each and every single game.
Of a few degrees perhaps. Most maps I play in UT and UT2k3 have rotations of just 10 degrees or so (more for small parts of UT2k3 simply because it has more complex surfaces, but these are mostly in models of statues and such, not repeating textures, though it does have more rotated plane terrains in some maps).

Quote:
regardless of any visual quality benefits of returning to supersampling, it's not going to be done due to the incredible performance benefits from not doing it
Perhaps the same can be said for ATI's AF implementation... regardless of visual quality negatives, it's not going to change due to incredible performance benefits from not changing (though, they did make a change from 8500 to 9700 for the better). I'm not saying this is the case, only that it might be, and you should recognize that it is a valid possibility. We haven't even touched on performance, since the discussion was on image quality. But, in some sense, that must eventually enter into the equation. It matters not if card A can do 32X MSAA if it's too slow for anything above 4X to be useful. In the case of the GF4, it has a large performance penalty, and in many cases 8X or even 4X is not useful. So, what is the better quality then... an implementation that is fast enough to run at 4X and always looks like 4X, or one fast enough to run in 16X and occasionally looks like 8X?

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Hardware companies are not going to switch back to full-screen supersampling, so it's pointless to even argue for them to do it.
For clarification, I'm not arguing in favor of SSAA. I agree with you completely that MSAA is the way to go. Separate polygon and texture AA, and use the most efficient way to address each. MSAA (or possibly FAA if further developed) is the best way to address edges/polygons, and I'm glad that ATI has made a move in that direction. I was simply using the problem with alpha tests as an example to investigate your logic.

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nVidia has shown that proper calculation of the anisotropic level is possible. They've been doing it since the original GeForce. This is an issue that can and most certainly should be solved by ATI.
You discuss this as if it's a "solution to a problem"... something ATI just hasn't been able to figure out yet. Have you considered the possibility that "fixing" this characteristic would have an accompanying couple of percent performance hit for each sampling degree? Again, I'm not saying this is the case, just that it may be. The ATI hardware developers seem to be rather bright, as the R300, overall, is an exceptional piece of hardware. Do you really think that they just can't figure out the damn equations to make AF consistent? No, I doubt it. It was likely a choice, either for transistor real-estate (which was probably rather tight on the R300) or for performance.

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Oh, and one final thing. The worst-case scenarios for 2x SSAA and other forms of MSAA are the same, if you want to include alpha tests. Both will apply no FSAA in certain situations (MSAA due to how a game is made, SSAA at certain angles). You'd have to go up to at least 4x SSAA to make the appropriate comparison you were attempting to make.
Fine, it was just an example. Use 4X performance smoothvision vs. 6X gamma-correct MSAA if you like. It's a hypothetical argument anyway.
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Old 10-12-02, 11:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bigus Dickus
[b]Perhaps the same can be said for ATI's AF implementation... regardless of visual quality negatives, it's not going to change due to incredible performance benefits from not changing (though, they did make a change from 8500 to 9700 for the better).
And I'm saying that there's no way this is the case. Just as you stated, in many games, the off-angle surfaces don't often occur (but they do occur sometimes in every game that has full freedom of view...regardless of the game's geometry). The performance drop of the GeForce3/4's anisotropic is most certainly not a direct result of its more comprehensive nature.

While it does, naturally, require more computational power to do proper anisotropic degree selection, and therefore more transistors, you'd think that ATI would be able to do it by now since nVidia's done it since the original GeForce.

Regardless, I've done some performance tests myself, and it appears that the primary problem with the anisotropic on the GeForce3/4, as it comes to performance, is that of the two textures possible per pixel pipeline per clock, if the first texture is set to use any degree of anisotropic, a second texture is not sent through (this means that there is a massive benefit from disabling texture stages 0 and 2).

So, you could say that it is an indirect result of the more comprehensive anisotropic implementation, as nVidia apparently did not put dedicated aniso-degree calculation hardware for both texture stages, but just one per pixel pipeline.

In the end, this means that if software wants to optimize for nVidia hardware (and they really shouldn't have to optimize in this fashion, but it is certainly possible), the base texture, and any other high-res texture, should be placed in the 1 and 3 texture stages (second and fourth, that is), where all textures that could stand not to use anisotropic should go in the 0 and 2 stages (first and third...). This will allow maximum anisotropic performance if aniso is then disabled for stages for which it is not necessary.

Quote:
In the case of the GF4, it has a large performance penalty, and in many cases 8X or even 4X is not useful.
On my GeForce4, the only game that I don't use anisotropic on is the Tenebrae modification for Quake (Well, that and Diablo II due to a bug...but it wouldn't help Diablo II anyway). For every other game, I always run 8-degree anisotropic.

As far as performance, obviously the Radeon 9700 is the fastest available to date for games. That's not under dispute.

Quote:
You discuss this as if it's a "solution to a problem"... something ATI just hasn't been able to figure out yet. Have you considered the possibility that "fixing" this characteristic would have an accompanying couple of percent performance hit for each sampling degree?
Well, obviously there would be some additional performance hit, but it won't be noticeable.

As one final note, if the NV30 does indeed ship as an 8x2 architecture, there's a good chance that the performance specs of its anisotropic implementation will be the same as the GeForce4's (subject to CPU limitations, of course). What I mean by this is that it will likely not be able to use the second texture per pixel pipeline if the first texture uses anisotropic. This may result in more of a performance hit for anisotropic, but should not decrease its performance below that of the Radeon 9700 (The NV30 should most certainly be faster due to later release, .13 micron technology, and nVidia's track record).
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Old 10-12-02, 11:42 PM   #18
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Oh, and one final thing. The performance hit decreases as you increase the degree of anisotropic, due to the simple reason that less and less of the screen uses higher degrees of anisotropic.

This is another reason why the anisotropic degree selection algorithm that ATI uses just can't have a very noticeable impact on performance.
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Old 10-13-02, 12:37 AM   #19
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Chalnoth, you are probably one of the only 50 people on the planet that don't like ATi's Anisotropic method. Can you post me a screenshot of bad looking Aniso on the 9700 and then post the same pic with Aniso on the TI 4600. Show me the uglyness, please.
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Old 10-13-02, 03:36 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by ATI LoVeR 9700
Chalnoth, you are probably one of the only 50 people on the planet that don't like ATi's Anisotropic method. Can you post me a screenshot of bad looking Aniso on the 9700 and then post the same pic with Aniso on the TI 4600. Show me the uglyness, please.
It's been done before. I can't post a screenshot, as I don't currently own a Radeon 9700. I'm taking this information from what others have posted.

Here's what those screenshots have told me about the 9700's anisotropic (Statements assuming 16-degree anisotropic setting) :

For horizontal/vertical surfaces, the 9700 will use a max aniso of 16 degrees.

For 45-degree angled surfaces, the implementation is noticeably improved over the Radeon 8500's, but still falls short of 16-degree max aniso. It appears to be close to 8-degree max.

For about 23-degree angled surfaces, the implementation is at its worst, and is blurrier than a GeForce3/4 using 8-degree aniso. It appears close to about 4-degree max aniso.

If you yourself have a Radeon 9700, try the game Serious Sam: SE. There's a level with a rotating floor. If you stand at the door and watch the floor swing back and forth, you should notice how it gets blurrier and sharper as it moves.
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Old 10-13-02, 04:22 AM   #21
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1280x960, 6x AA and 16x quality aniso.

With all the jpeg compression garbage to go with it

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Old 10-13-02, 04:24 AM   #22
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Also, performance aniso looks really ugly on some games. The textures are sharp, but there is a dark line that you can see a few inches away from your current position in the game that moves back as you move forward. (Quality aniso looks amazing though)
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Old 10-13-02, 09:23 PM   #23
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The only thing, i dont like about ATI ways to do aniso
is that they selectively disable the degree of the quality
at some angles , from 16x to 4x at many angles.
while Nvidia in the other hand they always do 8x in their Geforce3/4 cards . its takes a huge performance ,but you have the option to choose to lower your settings to 4x/2x or choose performance tab +8x settings ,if your machine is not smooth at highest settings.

Notice the key word here is choose ,i think it is
alot better if ATi lets their customers to choose when they
want a part time 16x/4x aniso or when they want a
full time aniso like Nvidia have been doing always.
all-ways .

i can guaranteed you all that the radeon 16x anisoF will look
alot much better (at the expense of performance ofcourse)
if they do it at 16x at all times..

So i will not be so much surprised to see an Nv30 aniso at 12x
(with 80% surface covering -which i have heard somewhere..) looking much much better at all times than ATI's way of 16x aniso.

i predict that the incoming (128bits bus 4x1pipes) radeon9500 anisoF method will be even "cheaper" than the radeon9700pro method ,in the job it will do,something like 16x-8x at some angles and 2x/1x at others or who knows ,maybe
it will be the return of radeon8500 anisof "optimized method"


So the gamers will be happy again , more framerates ,with less
image quality , but who cares , you get exactly what you think you deserve. in the past ATi fans always felt comfortable
with the Radeon8500 AF (cough) method .


http://www.digit-life.com/articles/gf4/index6.html

radeon8500 do 16x anisoF at surface level angles and 0x aniso at non flat. and the radeon 9700 AnisoF is the same as
radeon8500 but this time the switch from 16x to 4x at some angles.. nice eh ?

and while the radeon9700 AnisoF is much much better that anything they have released and better at normal surfaces than the geforce3/4 ,is still questionable if the new
AnisoF method in the Radeon9700 (partime 16x+parttime4x
at some angles) is still better than the Nvidia anisoF8x fulltime
method in all kind of games where camera angles matters ,like water(aquamark)/race/flight/space simulations games , or combat simulations games like counterstrike /RaibowSix series and the hundreds of incoming rainbowsix clones that soldiers will be able to turn his head (peek right/left)at diferent angles to see in the wall corners if there is any enemy ,it will be a little
distracting to see the floor and walls magically lowering its image quality from 16x to 4x aniso in those games.. dont you think?


a side note..
-----------------------------

i dont trust too much in standar game benchmarks ,like most people , because timedemos like those made in quake3 engines
or unreal 1/2 engines tells you at the end only the average frame rate at x or y game . but they never tell you exactly
how smooth the game will run at all-times..
i noticed this when i bought my geforce4 the first time .
and launched quake3 timedemo. for my surprise the
performance with aniso8x was exactly the same in the
timedemo ,than my old Geforce3 ti500 !!!.
however in real game play ,it was Rock solid smooth playable quake3,medalof honor,wolftein at 1600x1200 and aniso8x ;
while my old Geforce3ti500 hardly was playable at those same
high quality settings but this time at 4x anisoF.

so i learned that while both cards GF3 and GF4 performance was
exactly the same , the geforce4 never took too much performance drops below playable smooth framerates
+/-35frames. right know as i have said many times i play all games at 1600x1200 at 8xaniso ,exept UnrealT2003 which as expected , it runs it at 1200x1024 ,high settings without aniso or aa in my Gf4ti4400 and atlonXp1900+ .

Last edited by Nv40; 10-13-02 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 10-13-02, 09:28 PM   #24
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Reading that made my head hurt. Please excuse me, I'm going to go get an ibuprofen. If the dizzyness stops, I might return to address a couple of points.
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