New graphics algorithm promises film quality games

Graphics developers at Williams College and Nvidia have created a new algorithm that they say will drastically improve graphics quality.

Because video games have to compute images more quickly than movies, video game developers have found it hard to keep up.

But Morgan McGuire, assistant professor of computer science at Williams College, and Nvidia’s Dr David Luebke have developed a new method for computerizing lighting and light sources that they say will allow video game graphics to approach film quality.

Producing light effects involves essentially pushing light into the 3D world and pulling it back to the pixels of the final image. The new method actually reverses the process, so that light is pulled onto the world and pushed into the image – a much faster technique.

As video games continue to increase the degree of interactivity, graphics processors are expected to become 500 times faster than they are now.

McGuire and Luebke’s algorithm is well suited to these increased processing speeds, they say, and is expected to appear in video games within the next two years.