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Intel Delivers New Range Of Developer Tools For Gaming, Media

GAME DEVELOPERS CONFERENCE (GDC) – Intel Corporation today announced several tools and initiatives targeted at software developers, creating some of the most performance-hungry gaming and media titles on the market. Intel ® Core™ processor performance, power efficiency and strong momentum for Intel HD Graphics are freeing developers to take applications in new directions.

Debuting at GDC 2013 were new graphics capabilities for forthcoming Intel HD Graphics platforms that are accessible through DirectX* extensions. The first of these extensions, called PixelSync, provides access to underlying hardware that allows programmers to properly composite partially transparent pixels without the need for an expensive sorting operation. Game developers have long awaited this capability in order to more realistically render smoke, hair, windows, foliage, fences and other complex geometry and natural phenomena.

“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*. “The fact that this capability will be available to millions of consumers on forthcoming 4th generation Intel ® Core™ processors is very exciting to us.”

InstantAccess, the second new extension, works by allowing physical memory to be written and read from either the CPU or from the built-in Intel HD Graphics.

“We have been working directly with Intel engineers to fully exploit the Intel-specific rendering extensions that most effectively enhance rendering performance and visual quality of 'Total War: ROME II',” said Mike Simpson, the creative director of Creative Assembly*. “With our upcoming game, 'Total War: ROME II,' we’ve shifted our focus toward ensuring that the game looks great whether you’re running it on a slim and sexy Ultrabook or a monster desktop. Intel’s 4th generation Intel Core platforms and the new rendering extensions they provide have been an enormous help in making that dream a reality.”

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. Documents describing these extensions are available now from Intel’s Visual Computing Source web site.

In the area of media software, consumers access and share more video than ever, so tools to help them move content to multiple devices and formats are increasingly more important. HandBrake*, one of the most popular open source video transcoders, is being accelerated using Intel ® Quick Sync Video – dedicated hardware built into the latest Intel Core processors. Intel and the HandBrake team are showcasing the new HandBrake optimized for Intel Quick Sync Video at GDC.

“The HandBrake team has been working closely with Intel to leverage the advantages of Intel Quick Sync Video,” said Tim Walker of the HandBrake team. “While testing is in the early stages, initial results show promise in terms of performance and significantly reduced CPU usage during the decode/encode process, especially for mobile and low-power CPU parts. Early test builds will be available shortly.”

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