- A start-up founded by former Apple Inc. engineers said it has developed technology that could bring film-like realism to computer games and change the way movie makers and other design professionals work.
The San Francisco company, Caustic Graphics Inc., plans to exploit a technique called ray-tracing that generates extremely accurate three-dimensional images. Ray-tracing is a mainstay of Hollywood studios, but remains out of reach for most PC users. A single image can take hours to generate; rendering a film can take months on hundreds of server systems.
To quote: Computer games and other PC software typically rely on a technology called rasterization. Though the results keep getting more realistic, developing an interactive form of ray-tracing has been a longtime quest in the computer industry.
Caustic, whose name refers to light rays reflecting off a curved object, says it is close to achieving that goal. The company says its software and chips allow graphics chips to carry out ray-tracing calculations at a 20-fold speed-up compared with existing PC hardware. It said it expects to deliver chips by early 2010 that will be about 200 times faster.
In a demonstration, Caustic executives manipulated a photo-quality image of a sports car, removing components and changing lighting and...