Well, in an about face from previous years, there was lots going on at this year’s GDC. Here are some highlights.
NVIDIA Announces new cards – The GeForceFX 5200 and 5600. Both are DirectX 9 cards. The 5200 is expected to sell starting at $79 MSRP. NVIDIA becomes the first card company with DirectX 9 capable cards in its entire front line.
ATI Announces new cards – They announced the 9200 (DirectX 8.1) , 9600, and 9800 (DirectX 9) cards. Also under-the-radar was incorporation of F-Buffer (fragement-stream-buffer) in SmartShader 2.1, which is supposed to allow shaders of any length without resorting to multipass rendering. These cards compliment the 9700.
3DLabs – not to be left behind – announced the WildCat VP990 Pro.
ATI and 3DLabs announced they are working jointly on our fav shader tool – RenderMonkey! In a not so subtle swipe at Cg, ATI and 3DLabs have teamed up to work on RenderMonkey. ATI will continue to work on the framework and both will work on plug-ins for HLSL and OpenGL’s shader language GLSL. In addition they say they’ll work closely with 3D party vendors to incorporate RenderMonkey functionality into tools – so expect to see RM plug-ins for Maya, 3DSMax, etc. in the near future. Press announcement.
Microsoft withdraws from OpenGL ARB – citing failure for OpenGL to keep pace with graphics features, Microsoft says that it’ll focus on DirectX.
DirectX 9.1 is it – for now. According to Microsoft’s Dean Lester, the next major release of DirectX isn’t scheduled until the release of the next OS (codenamed Longhorn), which is now due out sometime in (survey says) 2005.