Intel today announced several tools and initiatives targeted at software developers, including new rendering extensions for Intel HD Graphics and the Intel Graphics Performance Analyzers toolset.
Debuting at GDC 2013 were new graphics capabilities for forthcoming Intel HD Graphics platforms that are accessible through DirectX extensions. The first of these extensions, called PixelSync, provides access to underlying hardware that allows programmers to properly composite partially transparent pixels without the need for an expensive sorting operation. This capability will allow developers to more realistically render smoke, hair, windows, foliage, fences and other complex geometry and natural phenomena.
"The artists working on 'Grid2' have been requesting this type of effect for years, and prior to this, it wasn't possible to achieve it at a reasonable cost," said Clive Moody, senior executive producer at Codemasters Racing. "The fact that this capability will be available to millions of consumers on forthcoming 4th generation Intel Core processors is very exciting to us."
InstantAccess, the second new extension, works by allowing physical memory to be written and read from either the CPU or from the built-in Intel HD Graphics.
These real-time rendering extensions are being released in advance of the launch of Intel?s newest generation of Core processors in order to give developers extra time to begin incorporating them into their products. Initially, these extensions are available through Intel?s implementation of DirectX and on Intel 4th gen Core platforms only (Haswell).
HandBrake, one of the most popular open source video transcoders, is being accelerated using Intel Quick Sync Video ? dedicated hardware built into the latest Intel Core processors. Intel and the HandBrake team are showcasing the new HandBrake optimized for Intel Quick Sync Video at GDC.
Intel's suite of graphic and game development tools, Intel Graphics Performance Analyzers (Intel GPA), has also been updated to further help developers analyze and optimize performance on games, media and other graphic-intensive applications on Intel Core processor-based platforms with HD Graphics or on Intel Atom processor-based Android phones. Intel GPA 2013 R1
includes a Geometry Viewer with support for shader stages that aid developers in debugging performance bottlenecks. Other enhancements include additional Android support and platform updates for developers working with the latest Intel processors.
In addition, Intel has made available the production release of the Intel Perceptual Computing Software Development Kit (SDK) 2013. With this release, developers can now make their applications available commercially. When used with the Creative Interactive Gesture Camera, the Intel Perceptual Computing SDK 2013
enables developers to add human-like interaction to computers in the form of close-range finger or hand-tracking, speech recognition, facial analysis and augmented reality that has applications for gaming and beyond.
Intel also announced the 2013 version of its Intel Level Up Contest through which it continues to encourage game developer innovation. Entries will be judged by a panel of game industry luminaries, and once again the winning entries will have a chance to win a publishing contract from contest co-sponsor Valve Corporation.
In addition, Intel is launching the second phase of the million-dollar Intel Perceptual Computing Challenge, and announced
the winners of phase one. Now through September 2013, developers in 16 countries will compete in phase two for more than $800,000 in prizes in categories including Perceptual Gaming, Productivity, Creative User Interface and Open Innovation.