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  • Technical Brief: UltraShadow II

    Accelerated Shadow Calculations
    The GeForce 6 and GeForce 7 Series GPUs feature the advanced UltraShadow technology, for the acceleration of complex shadows in immersive 3D games and applications. (518KB PDF).

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UltraShadow II Technology

 
 

Accurate shadows are critical for realistic and believable scenes in games. But the complex interactions between light sources, objects, and characters involve elaborate programming. For every frame in a game, every light source must be analyzed relative to every object, potentially bogging down the PC and affecting your gameplay. The NVIDIA® GeForce™ 6 and GeForce 7 Series of GPUs deliver the patent-pending NVIDIA® UltraShadow™ II technology, which can be applied to today’s games to build stunning visual effects and to create distinctive digital environments. With a system powered by a GeForce 6 or GeForce 7 Series GPU, anytime a game or application calculates shadows, UltraShadow II will enhance the overall performance.

Technology Advances
With UltraShadow II hardware, the more passes that are required for the lighting and shadow calculations in a scene, the more significant the performance improvement, with the most complex scenes achieving the most noticeable results. Thus, emerging next-generation games, that employ multiple light sources with many visible objects in each scene—such as DOOM 3™ from id Software—will see dramatic improvements in execution speeds. The technology advancements in UltraShadow II also deliver a 4× performance increase (compared to the previous generation) for passes involving shadow volumes.

 

  Doom 3  
  Image courtesy of id Software, ©2004
 

Today’s leading-edge game developers want to design complex digital light sources and realistic shadows, as illustrated in this scene from DOOM 3.   
 

 

 

Additionally, NVIDIA UltraShadow II gives developers the ability to calculate shadows much more quickly by eliminating unnecessary areas from consideration. By defining a bounded portion of a scene (called "depth bounds"), and focusing calculations only on the area most affected by the light source, developers can greatly accelerate the shadow generation process. With the ability to fine-tune shadows within critical regions, developers create incredible visualizations that mimic reality, and still achieve awesome performance for fast-action games. UltraShadow II also works perfectly with NVIDIA® Intellisample™ technology to ensure that shadow edges are properly antialiased.

 

  Doom 3  
  Image courtesy of id Software, ©2004
 

Advanced games use UltraShadow II to create photorealistic shadows, contributing to compelling digital experiences.

 

 

The Result
Ultimately, the innovative techniques combined in NVIDIA’s UltraShadow II technology will empower developers with more programming flexibility and the hardware muscle they need to create unprecedented effects in their games and 3D applications. Complicated lighting and shadow effects become practical and next-generation games rise to the next level in cinematic realism. The results are more photorealistic scenes and environments in your games, without compromising PC performance.

 

Images © 2004-2005 Id Software, Inc. All rights reserved. Published and distributed by Activision Publishing, Inc. under license. DOOM 3™, and the id Software™ name are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Id Software, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Activision is a registered trademark of Activision, Inc. and its affiliates. All other trademarks and trade names are the property of their respective owners.


 
 
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