GDC 2011 - Monday
I'm at GDC again this year. On Wednesday I'll be giving a talk about the character lighting in our game. If you're attending GDC, I'd love to have you come. Here's a summary of the talk from the GDC web site:
Monday was the first day of the conference for me. After getting up way too early for a flight to San Francisco, I attended an all-day session on DirectX 11. Speakers were from AMD, Nvidia, Firaxis, BioWare, and Dice. It's exciting to see how much more flexibility the new DirectX offers. There's room to move operation around to the different shaders (geometry shader, hull shader, etc) to fit the needs of the specific application instead of always having to do everything in the vertex shader or the pixel shader. I saw several examples of how moving things out of the pixel shader to earlier in the pipeline can yield pretty significant performance gains. DirectCompute was also a hot topic. It's a way to use the graphics hardware as a more general purpose, multi-threaded compute engine as opposed to just something to put pixels on the screen. A couple of the talks covered ways to optimize techniques like filtering and summed area tables using the compute shader instead of shoe-horning them into the pixel shader as has been done with DirectX 9. Several talks focused on using tessellation - a topic that I'd like to become more familiar with. And the guys from Dice, BioWare, and Firaxis talked about how they're using DirectX 11 in Battlefield 3, Dragon Age 2, and Civ 5 respectively.
This is going to be a great week. I'm looking forward to Tuesday when a group of tech artists is putting on an all day training session on being a technical artist. Should be great! I'll type up my impressions tomorrow.