Futuremark: of Benchmarks and Gamingby Jarred Walton on January 30, 2008 2:00 AM EST
- Posted in
One of the most controversial subjects when it comes to benchmarking graphics performance is undoubtedly Futuremark — specifically their "gaming" benchmarks, the 3DMark series. For 10 years now, we have seen graphics card reviews bicker and argue about the viability of using 3DMark. On the one hand, we have those who insist the 3DMark tools are nothing more than a synthetic graphics benchmark, encouraging heavy optimizations from the various GPU companies in order to come out on top. The other side of the equation consists of people looking for an easy way to categorize performance, plus a group of diehard benchmarkers who are in constant competition to come out on top of the ORB (Online Results Browser) charts. As with so many things in life, reality strikes more of a middle ground.
While there are occasions where the performance metrics generated by the Futuremark tools correlate well to certain real-world games, very few people are going to be interested in purchasing hardware based solely on 3DMark performance. On the other hand, there have been many occasions throughout the history of PC gaming where users have upgraded hardware purely to improve performance in the latest and greatest game. GL-Quake helped to sell thousands (millions even?) of 3dfx graphics cards, which in turn helped to kick-start our modern obsession with 3D gaming.
Take a look at the images in this article for a moment; certainly we're not the only people in the world who when first greeted by a new 3DMark have thought, "Daaaaamn! That is a sweet looking benchmark and it would make an awesome game. They should turn that concept into a real game rather than a 60 second benchmark scene." If you're with us on this one, the wait may be over... sort of.
It appears that Futuremark has been secretly hard at work on their first full retail game, and while we don't have any details on what sort of game it will be or when it will launch, they have announced the formation of Futuremark Games Studio. The plans sound ambitious, with the following statement: "For years, our fans have been asking us when we will start making games. Very soon they are going to get it - and then some!" If we're lucky, we may end up with not just one title but numerous cutting edge titles over the coming years.
That's the core of the announcement, but let's take a minute to discuss exactly why we think this is at all meaningful.