SM4, SM3, ShaderX 4

Posted on:September 05 2006

I've finally bought the book ShaderX 4 and it just arrived from Amazon. Lots of people have printed their names in there and its funny to have met or had email contact with some of them already. Makes the book feel a bit familiar. :) Anyway, I'm about one year too late, looks like ShaderX 5 will be released soon.
But who cares, especially for those shader books it is not that critical not to be up to date: Even today, only about a quarter of all end users (I'm talking about gamers) have hardware capable of rendering graphics using Shader Model 3. And even that doesn't mean anything: A graphics accelerator reporting that it is able to do SM3 doesn't mean that it also is able to draw those graphics with usable speed. So if I start programming nice SM3 grade graphics, not much people will really see a lot of it.
BTW: This situation will stay or even get worse: Direct3D 10 removed all min/max capabilities from the spec, so hardware is able to do D3D10 or not. There is nothing in between. The problem: Of course the spec doesn't talk about speed anywhere (at least I didn't see anyhting like that) and most vendors will be happy to display a 'Made for D3D10' tag on their boxes, ignoring speed. Who cares about hardware able to execute hundreds of shader instructions per pixel, if you can only draw a dozen of pixels that way?
Ok, enough off topic. Looking forward to find some time to read some articles of that book.


Well... but a fixed set of capabilities and vastly varying speeds gets you a 1D problem. This is far better than the current situation where you have vastly different speeds _and_ vastly different feature sets (2D). Count in driver versions/bugs, and the problem becomes 3D ;)
2006-09-05 20:48:00

I hope that book helps a lot in the development of future features for Irrlicht ;)
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