Little Australian games company invents technology 100,000 times better - YouTube
I'm Bruce Robert Dell, the CEO of Euclideon. In 2010 our technology appeared in most of the world's media. We had found a way to give computer graphics unlimited power. Computer graphics today are basically made of little flat shapes called polygons, and a lot of big companies spend a lot of money trying to have more of these little flat shapes so their graphics will look better and everything won't look quite so angular.
There is a better way to do computer graphics, which is used in medicine and the sciences. The better way to do computer graphics is to make everything out of tiny little atoms instead of flat panels. The problem is that this particular system uses up a lot of processing power. The more objects you have on the screen, the slower your computer will run. Having four or five detailed objects will run just fine, but you certainly can't do a level of a game.
We got a lot of attention because we made the claim that we could run unlimited "little 3D atoms" in real time. To understand this claim you need to understand the state of the industry. There are lots of large companies that are pouring billions of dollars into trying to increase their polygon count. At present, they seem to be able to increase it by about 25% a year. If any of these large companies were to suddenly come out with 10 times more polygons than their competitors, it would be enormous news. But we didn't increase the geometry count by 10 times, or 100 times, or 1000 times. We increased it so far that we could abandon polygons altogether and move to little atoms, and run them in unlimited quantities. If what we've said is true, then it is the largest breakthrough since 3D graphics began.
Two months after announcing this we declined all further interviews and then completely disappeared. Most people said the technology was too unbelievable and was probably never real to begin with.
1 Year Later
It's been one year since our disappearance, and a lot of people are asking what's happened to us. Well, we're not finished yet, but we'll give you an update as to our present level of advancement. We've made a little island. The island is 1 kilometre squared. This island is made from 21,062,352,435,000 polygons.
In the graphics industry, everyone is used to using polygons, so we'd thought we'd build a polygon converter. By converting polygons into Unlimited Detail point cloud data, you can then run them in unlimited quantities. We've converted them at a rate of 64 atoms per cubic millimeter. If you're not sure how small a cubic millimetre is, that's a rate of 1,000,000 atoms per cubic inch. If you're still not sure how small that is; these are grains of dirt. In fact, there are 15 million converted polygons in every square meter of dirt, which means that in one cubic meter of dirt we have more polygons than you will find in any game that doesn't use procedural generation.
Graphics are definitely getting a lot better. If you compare Crysis 1 to Crysis 2 you can see nearly double the polygon count. But things still don't look realistic. That's not the fault of the artist. In fact, we're eager to see what happens when we give our technology to artists in the game industry. We played with it ourselves of course, and we came up with this... But remember, we're far from the world's best artists, so it will be very interesting to see where our technology ends up going when there's more synchronization with other players in the industry.
Our polygon converter converts things straight from 3DS Max, Maya and other 3D programs, so it's pretty much business as usual for the artist. He just has total freedom now, and has no such thing as a polygon budget. Polygon counts are pretty low today in games. If we look at things like palm trees, and then compare them to, say, a palm tree made with Unlimited Detail (our technology), you can see that the polygon budget was pretty restrictive. So by removing that burden from artist's lives I'm sure we'll make a few friends.
As for our supporters who play games, your graphics are about to get better. Better by a factor of about 100,000 times. 100,000 is a pretty big number, but perhaps we're exaggerating? So we'll let you be the judge of that.
The ground in games today consists of a very nice photo on the ground and some blades of grass sticking up from it. This is our ground in Unlimited Detail and, obviously, even the grains of dirt, as mentioned before, are real geometry. So if you look around; the leaves, the twigs, the blades of grass... All those little groundy type things are now all real.
Your game environments will also be real. When I say real I mean made of little atoms just like our real world. Your game environments until now have been filled with a bunch of tricks to try and deal with the low polygon budget. Things like sprites that are always facing you, or objects in the distance which are really just flat pieces of cardboard, or a cactus that is very, very detailed on one side, but, not wanting to waste polygons, the other side looks like an octopus tentacle. Sometimes objects far away just disappear into the fog and other times they just pop up as the swap between different models. I'm sure in the future our children will look back with amusement at these things in the same way we look back on blocky, three colour graphics.
Getting back to our island demo; I hope you will forgive the repetitious graphics. Please remember; we're a technology company, we're not a games company.
Have a look at a few individual items; if you look here at this rock, I hope you will permit me to say that it looks rather real. That's because it is, it's actually been scanned in from the real world. Scanning technology that brings things in from the real world has existed for quite some time. The problem was that what it produced was so high in geometry that you could never use it in games.
In the future, graphics will be divided into two categories; fiction and non-fiction. What we mean is, if I want to make Super Mario, or a dragon or a unicorn, I can't go out to the forest, tranquilize and laser scan them - they're not there. So I need an artist to do that. The artwork that doesn't exist we call fiction. That means it's made by an artist. This tree is fiction; it's been made by an artist, it's not laser scanned in. The rock, on the other hand, is non-fiction, and the cactus is a hybrid of the two. To make this cactus... we didn't have any cacti that looked like this in our little part of Australia. The cacti that we had weren't quite as interesting. So we took the pieces of them, we twirled them around to make circles and then we added some dry leaves on top, which we changed the colour of later. If we were a little bit more creative we would have taken the wings of a swan and put them on a tiger, but we didn't think of that at the time.
This island demonstration shows our present level of technology, but that level is far from complete. For example, at present our island has only two shades of shadows. Just after we made this demonstration we progressed to having multiple shades of shadow, so in our next demonstration you're going to find the lighting's going to look a lot better. We're also running at 20 frames per second in software, but we have versions that are running much faster than that, which aren't quite complete yet.
Some months from now our Software Development Kit will be complete and it will be ready to be handed over to the games developers. Until then we're all working as hard as we can and we hope to produce a product that our fans and supporters will find acceptable.
Thank you very much for taking the time to watch this presentation.