Intel tries to boost PC’s gaming capabilities

Intel hopes that its Light Field Mapping (LFM) technology will make graphics more realistic, but will it succeed where MMX failed.

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By  David Ingham Published  August 16, 2001

Intel says it’s developed a new software technology that will help game makers to create more lifelike 3D images for interactive applications. The technology, called Light Field Mapping (LFM), is designed to help developers better represent light reflecting off real and synthetic objects, which should make graphics more realistic.

“The big challenge for the 3D graphics industry today is how to bring the realism we know we are capable of delivering into interactive 3D graphics,” said Gilbert Lacroix, Intel’s general manager for the Middle East and North Africa. “The combination of a fast and simple rendering routine, small data sets and ease of content creation features in LFM will help bring more realism to computer graphics without sacrificing interactivity.”

As well as being a boost for games developers, LFM could help the 3D scanning industry, according to Intel. The chipmaker says LFM can more correctly reproduce the appearance of physical objects, even those with very complex surface reflectance properties.

Intel says it will soon be approaching game developers, with a view to them using Light Field Mapping in their game engines. It will be up to two years, Intel reckons, before LFM is likely to make its mark.

This is not Intel’s first attempt to boost the gaming capabilities of the PC. Its earlier MMX technologies built certain graphical capabilities into PC processors, but developers made little effort to make use of them in their games.

When a PC is fully equipped with the latest hardware and drivers, it can outperform the very best consoles as a games machine. However, even experienced users can have nightmares installing the correct drivers and making games work with their PC’s particular components. With consoles, there are no such problems.

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