Applying TRUFORM Technology

One thing to note is that TRUFORM technology is not ATI specific by any means: it is ATI's implementation of N-Patch technology included in Microsoft's DirectX 8 and OpenGL. It was put here for a reason- N-Patching allows a whole new visual world to be entered.

On the programing side, applying TRUFORM technology to a new or existing game actually only requires one line of code: the rest of done in the T&L part of ATI's chip. Also, since the character and scene information remains the same using TRUFORM or not, no new characters or scenes need be modeled.

This creates a very interesting application to TRUFORM technology, and one that will surely gain the attention of many. Since TRUFORM uses the information that is already there to make games look better, it can be applied to every 3D game on the market. This means that everything you currently play has the potential to look better on a card with TRUFORM technology.

There is currently some debate as to how TRUFORM should be implemented in current games, and the argument is centered around whether the user should have the control to turn TRUFORM on or whether the developer should be the only one who has that power. If things go as we would like, the next generation ATI card will have a driver-accessable feature to enable TRUFORM as well as the degree of tessellation that the triangle is broken into. The problem with this is that some visual anomalies may result from using TRUFORM on polygons that is should not be. Although easy to control when in the hands of the developer, as he or she can turn or alter the TRUFORM level on individual objects, creating a user accessible setting would force TRUFORM on objects that may not need it. Still, a user accessible setting would bring quite a bit of excitement with it, especially if the visual problems are rare.

Speaking of visual problems, ATI has found a way to get rid of some problems that originally had the potential to occur when using N-Patches. Since the edges are essentially smoothed out, image problems were experienced in smooth surfaces where the edge is supposed to be hard, for example a gun in the belt of a character. To prevent this problem, N-Patching will not occur in where two normals are at 90 degrees or one another, a situation that indicates that an edge should be sharp.

Lighting the Patches Conclusion
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