August 2, 2011 by Paul Curtin
Australian tech developer Euclideon has released a video on YouTube that claims their new graphics processing technology will revolutionize how games are made forever by using ‘Unlimited Detail Real-Time Rendering Technology’, which is allegedly 100,000x more detailed than current polygon-based computer graphics. The technology is said to use a system similar to atoms in real life instead of polygons and as a result is able to produce far more detailed objects than anything else in the industry. Is this idea the future of video game technology? Possibly. Is the video below and claims made by Euclideon shenanigans? Most likely.
The creator of the widely successful indie game Minecraft, who goes by the name “Notch”, has weighed in on the debate on his official blog and called Euclideon’s video a scam in an effort to raise funding. Here’s some crazy scientific calculations made by Notch to prove his objections:
They made a voxel renderer, probably based on sparse voxel octrees. That’s cool and all, but.. To quote the video, the island in the video is one km^2. Let’s assume a modest island height of just eight meters, and we end up with 0.008 km^3. At 64 atoms per cubic millimeter (four per millimeter), that is a total of 512 000 000 000 000 000 atoms. If each voxel is made up of one byte of data, that is a total of 512 petabytes of information, or about 170 000 three-terrabyte harddrives full of information. In reality, you will need way more than just one byte of data per voxel to do colors and lighting, and the island is probably way taller than just eight meters, so that estimate is very optimistic. So obviously, it’s not made up of that many unique voxels.
It’s a very pretty and very impressive piece of technology, but they’re carefully avoiding to mention any of the drawbacks, and they’re pretending like what they’re doing is something new and impressive. In reality, it’s been done several times before. They’re hyping this as something new and revolutionary because they want funding. It’s a scam. Don’t get excited. Or, more correctly, get excited about voxels, but not about the snake oil salesmen.
If you’re going to take anyone’s word, I’d go with the creator behind Minecraft and not the shady Australian CEO of an unknown company who doesn’t even explain their prior leave of absence or why they’re not just showing current technology they claim to have. I’ll give Euclideon credit for trying to improve technology, and hopefully one day they’ll be able to prove us all wrong, but for now it looks like they’re far from their claims and it’s going to be a while before we see anything like this in reality or at least at the level where it can run full games.