Siggraph 2002 - Gateway to the pixel
The only thing anyone needs to know about
Nope, if it's a hot place that everyone wants to avoid, Siggraph's organizers, out of a sense of low self esteem and misguided sense of philanthropy, will try and rejuvenate the local economy by dragging hordes of ever faithful graphics designers, academics, programmers, and vendors to their conference and trade show.
Oh my God, it's NV30! Or, is it?
"Like, you wouldn't believe it, but I think, like, Nvidia, like, released the specs on NV30."
"I could die."
"Shut up! I am so not believing you."
"I am so there."
And so it was in the corridors of power at Siggraph as stunned graphics groupies came to realize that, embedded in Nvidia's presentation on Cg, were the specifications to NV3x. It probably helped that Nvidia's PR machine went into overdrive to make it seem like a discovery. Next time, fellas, why not just slap us in the head with a PowerPoint presentation, and come and write the story for us?
In case you don't know, or are afraid of plugging the term into Google, Cg stands for C for graphics, a high level shading language developed by Nvidia to run on top of DirectX and OpenGL.
On the one hand, Nvidia claims that Cg is pretty much the equivalent of Microsoft's HLSL in DirectX, and on the other hand, it incorporates very target specific commands that make it proprietary to Nvidia.
Cg has ruffled a few feathers in the industry. Nvidia gave me the pitch about how they worked closely with Microsoft on it, and about it's compatibilities with HLSL. Microsoft turned around and said that they will have their own C for graphics equivalent, and that it will probably be the one that developers standardize on for Windows, at least.
This is not the first time that someone's tried to push a standard higher language for graphics. PHIGS, PEX,
On the other hand, I talked to one veteran graphics guru, delivering a presentation at the conference, who said that Nvidia's old guard of developers seem to have taken the riches of stock option heaven, and left the labs to an influx of SGI guys, particularly the old Farenheit crowd. Farenheit was a joint project between SGI and Microsoft that aimed to create one interface for Direct3D and OpenGL. Hmmm.
Maybe that's where the incredible hubris comes from. SGI wasn't ever known for its humility, even in the face of misfortune. Maybe Nvidia is getting a little too fat and comfortable. I don't know. I am not particularly happy about the fact that, despite longstanding relationships with Nvidia personnel, I got fed the party line and some BS on Cg as Nvidia used the online press to put some major FUD out there on Cg disguised as a preview of NV3x.