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4 Posts authored by: sasa.marinkovic Employee

When AMD launched the AMD Catalyst™ Omega driver, we expected the world to take notice, but we were blown away by the amount of interest a single driver can generate. In only 6 months, our drivers – including Catalyst Omega - were downloaded over 40 million times. The best part: overall customer satisfaction went up by 19%! Now it’s the time to continue what we started in December and deliver another great driver for a great OS: Windows® 10.

 

Entertaining. Intuitive. Seamless

 

Windows 10 was designed to create a new generation of Windows for the 1.5 billion people using Windows today (http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2015/06/01/hello-world-windows-10-  available-on-july-29/). AMD processors enable premium experiences across the expanding Windows® 10 ecosystem.

 

AMD and Windows® 10 deliver a first-class entertainment experience by making games and streaming video look better than ever, while making the PC experience more personal, more productive and seamless across devices. Today, AMD released Catalyst 15.7, a WHQL certified, preview driver for Windows® 10 that will help enrich the user experience through more reliable performance, innovative features and technologies. The AMD Catalyst™ driver will continue to be improved and be fully integrated with Microsoft® Windows 10 as part of the Windows driver update component.

  • AMD helps Windows 10 stream content at the highest resolutions (4K and beyond) thanks to the hardware-based HEVC decoder
    • HEVC DECODE with Xbox® Video Player
    • STREAMING Xbox® One™ to PC
  • Ready for the latest gaming technologies in Windows® 10
    • Games will look great on your AMD-based PC running Windows® 10 because all 2015 AMD APUs will provide support for Microsoft DirectX® 12 and AMD FreeSync™
    • Enabling up to 15X more details in games using DirectX® 12 (AMD Internal Testing. 3DMark API Overhead Feature Test. System Configuration: Intel i7-5960X, 16GB DDR4- 2666, 2TB Seagate HDD, AMD Radeon R9 390 GPU, Driver 15.20-150609a-184226E, Windows 10 v.10130. 18,463,548 draw calls per second in DirectX® 12, and 1,172,587 in DirectX® 11.)
  • Supports WDDM 2.0 which works with Windows® 10 to reduce the driver workload on graphics hardware. Display modes can be changed quickly and without the bothersome flicker that Windows users had to endure in the past.

 

Cooler. Quieter. Power Efficient Catalyst

 

But that’s not all. Much like all AMD Catalyst driver updates, AMD Catalyst 15.7 comes packed with features and performance increases. Most notable capabilities include

  • Frame Rate Target Control (FRTC) enables fine-tuning your graphics card for more stable and consistent performance in games with real-time frame rate control limiting the maximum frame rate during gameplay — and delivers the benefits of reduced system/GPU power consumption, lower system temps, and lower fan speeds for quieter operation.
    • This allows reduced system/GPU power consumption, reduced system heat and lower fan speeds (less noise)
  • Virtual Super Resolution provides image quality enhancement to gamers and Windows desktop users (renders at high solution then down-scales; giving effective Super Sample Anti-Aliasing)
    • Now supported on AMD Radeon™ R7 260 and above GPUS and desktop A-Series 7400K and above APUS in AMD Catalyst 15.20, with Single and Multi-GPU configurations with more supported VSR modes!
  • FreeSync eliminates screen tearing without all the usual lag and latency. And now it works in Crossfire™ mode! You just need a FreeSync capable AMD component and a FreeSync compatible monitor. FreeSync CrossFire support is enabled on applications based on DirectX® 10 or newer (DirectX® 11 and DirectX® 12) and does not currently support AMD Dual Graphics APU configurations

 

Developing for Developers

Developers are at the core of what we do. Because better content doesn’t just happen, it’s created. We are enabling new features in some of the familiar tools just for them:

  • GPU Perf Studio 3.3 (coming end of July)
    • Windows 10
    • DirectX® 12
    • OpenGL 4.5

 

All you need to do to experience all these benefits is to click here - enjoy!

 

Sasa Marinkovic is Head of Software Marketing for AMD. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

DirectX, Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the US and other jurisdictions.

*HEVC acceleration is subject to inclusion/installation of compatible HEVC players.

December 17th, 1903 was a day that changed the world forever. On that day, a pair of seemingly ordinary bicycle makers from Dayton, Ohio launched what looked like a propeller-driven box-kite along the Atlantic Ocean beach of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina — achieving history’s first powered flight.

 

Fast-forward 112 years. Most people today are familiar with the Wright Brothers — Wilbur and Orville Wright — but very little else is known about them. In fact, there probably a better chance that somebody could tell you who your favorite celebrity is dating at the moment than the name of the Wright’s first powered airplane, now is on permanent display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Significantly, it is the only aircraft in the entire Smithsonian museum that has a separate and dedicated exhibit hall all to itself.

 

Why would such a famous plane — an aircraft that achieved the world’s first powered flight, and occupies such exalted exhibition space at the most visited museum in the world — be a mere afterthought among today’s public?

 

“I think people just don’t really understand what an achievement it was that Wilbur and Orville did on that cold December day in 1903,” says investment banker-turned-film producer Jonah Hirsch, sitting in his office in Beverly Hills.

 

Hirsch, who has spent the better part of the last 5 years attempting to secure funding for a feature film about the epic story of the Wright Brothers laments, “Studios want super-heroes, they want war, they want vampires — nobody seems to be interested in human achievement anymore except the indie financiers. To do this story justice, the film can’t be done on a typical indie budget so the options aren’t very good.”

Not somebody to give up easily, Hirsch turned his sights on making an IMAX movie for the museum audiences.

 

“I grew up around the Washington, DC area as a kid, and every year we would visit the Air and Space Museum on school field trips,” says Hirsch. “Without question the best part of the visit to the museum was buying the freeze-dried astronaut Neapolitan ice cream from the gift shop, and then settling in to watch the IMAX movie ‘To Fly’.”

 

Hirsch was visiting the museum on a trip to discuss the feature film with the Smithsonian’s top Wright Brothers historians, Dr. Tom Crouch and Dr. Peter Jakab. To his surprise, the same IMAX film he saw as a kid, was still playing at the Smithsonian. One of the original IMAX movies made for the museum’s giant screen, “To Fly” has been in continual exhibition at the museum for more than 30 years. Hirsch and his partners bought tickets and watched the iconic 40-minute movie. Afterward, Hirsch turned to his partners and said, “We’re making an IMAX movie”.

 

Hirsch had never made IMAX movie — but he didn’t view it as a problem. Hirsch and his partners hired well-known Hollywood creative talent to develop an original script. They also hired acclaimed street artist Shepard Fairy to create original artwork for the project in an attempt to make the project “feel a bit hipper” for today’s audiences, and hopefully, more attractive to financiers.

 

The project started taking shape in October of 2014. James Knight, one of Hollywood’s leading visual effects and motion capture experts who was part of the pioneering never-seen-before motion capture techniques with James Cameron on the epic blockbuster AVATAR, joined the effort and started scoping-out the project. Knight, the youngest member of the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Sci-Tech Committee, was looking for something different — different than the typical 16-hour-day grind required the blockbuster hits he’s worked on, including The Amazing Spiderman and Hulk.

 

“When I first heard about the Wright Brothers project, I was immediately interested,” says Knight. “If I wasn’t working on films, I’d be teaching history at university — and this was a perfect opportunity to blend both.” A die-hard British soccer fan (football, more properly), Knight’s distinct Burberry’s uniform and High Street accent were a regular at weekend matches. There he met another die-hard soccer fan and ex-pat living in Los Angeles — Roy Taylor, an executive with computer processor and graphics maker AMD.

 

Taylor frequently scours the Los Angeles scene for talented virtual reality developers and unique ideas. He was immediately interested in the Wright Brother’s project, and suggested something even better than an IMAX film: a “virtual reality” experience.

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“IMAX films give the viewer an ‘immersive’ entertainment experience, but virtual reality — VR — enables a feeling of realistic ‘presence’, of actually being inside the experience,” says Knight. After a technical discussion while lunching at a local Hollywood hotspot, Taylor arranged to have an Oculus DK2 VR headset and a very high-powered notebook PC sent to Hirsch so he could experience firsthand what this virtual reality buzz was all about.

 

Knight set up the VR demo in the conference room, and Hirsch donned the VR headset. It only took about 30 seconds. Hirsch pulled off the headset and said, “OK — we’re doing virtual reality now.”

Working with Crouch and Jakab at the Smithsonian, Hirsch and his team have attempted to re-create the most accurate two minutes of history ever viewed in a virtual experience — right down to minute details of the aircraft, including which side of the battery the ground cable is connected — with every detail thoroughly researched and reproduced.

 

“Never before in the history of cinema has six months of production been devoted to creating two-minute piece,” says Hirsch. “Even Spielberg takes small liberties on his historical films for the sake of a great story — but we could not, as we had one mission, and one mission only:  to recreate history as it was.”

 

Viewers of the piece will be able to able to walk around, pause, rewind, and see the historic flight from different vantage points on the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, where it all began.

 

If only Wilbur and Orville Wright were alive to see this virtual reality re-creation of their first flight. They might conclude that the future has no need of an airplane, because virtual reality enables everyone to visit with each other in virtual space (though making that a reality is still years away). Hirsch and his team are busy working on their next historical piece, and plan to create a series of historical events that are best suited for the VR experience.

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When asked whether he plans on still pursuing the IMAX or feature film, Hirsch answers, “Absolutely,” but then pauses and smiles, “The ability recreate history in a virtual world is something that has never been done before, and is much more exciting to me. What better story to recreate and first experience than the Wright Brother’s historic flight.”

 

“First: The Story of Wilbur and Orville” will be available for viewing at E3 for people attending AMD’s Fiji card launch event on June 16, 2015 at the Belasco Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

 

PS: The name of the Wright Brother’s plane – the name nobody knows — was simply called the “1903 Flyer”.

 

Sasa Marinkovic is Head of VR Marketing for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

The game creators at Crytek are avid storytellers who are practicing their craft as pioneers in VR gaming. They have always been driven by the desire to produce the most advanced visual gaming experiences, regardless of the format, which can be witnessed in the versatility of their industry-renowned game development engine, CRYENGINE. They saw the massive opportunity that VR presents early on, and set out to build a framework for exploring not only the technical challenges of VR, but also the creative ones. “We see the potential of a new media and immediately start imagining stories that we can tell with it,” explains CRYENGINE Creative Director Frank Vitz, “That leads us to the development of software methods, animation tools and rendering modes that feed back into the storytelling, and, the next thing you know, we have what already feels like a full game. It’s ‘just a tech demo’ but it feels like a glimpse into a whole new world. That is what inspires us. When we see people’s reactions to the demo, their thirst for more, well, we know that we are on to something big.”

 

Crytek’s first VR gaming foray is a mammoth undertaking – to recreate a prehistoric Earth, replete with dinosaurs and Jurassic vegetation and terrains, and fully immerse players within this bygone world. “People are always looking for something new, an experience that is outside the scope of what is possible in their everyday life,” says Crytek Executive Producer Elijah Dorman Freeman, “Dinosaur Island was an obvious choice for us as a stage for VR; who hasn’t imagined what it would be like to live in a world populated by dinosaurs? This is a meme that has been resurfacing periodically since the first scientific discovery of dinosaur bones almost 200 years ago.  And that is just one example – we will see space stories, historical recreations, underwater adventures; VR offers us a portal into worlds of infinite possibilities, worlds just waiting to be imagined and explored....”

 

It is obvious that Crytek is serious about the potential of VR entertainment. The company has two teams working on VR innovations: One is a dedicated demo team that is organized like a game production studio. They are exploring the experience space of virtual reality, solving navigation problems, inventing new ways of interacting with virtual worlds, figuring out how to tell a story and make it fun. Freeman is the Executive Producer on this team.

 

The other group is the CRYENGINE development team, led by Frank Vitz. They are responsible for the integration of VR technology into the engine itself. The Oculus SDK, for example, is one software interface that Crytek has integrated, which gives their developers using CRYENGINE direct access to the Rift Head Mounted Display and various rendering parameters.

“What both teams learn and develop is being integrated into CRYENGINE to be shared with our licensees,” notes Vitz.

 

A lot of the traditional rules and techniques of game development just don’t apply to the new space of VR, so Crytek’s teams must find novel and inventive equivalents as they navigate the Wild West-like atmosphere of the VR landscape.

 

For example, the traditional rules of cinematic composition don’t apply when you are free to look in any direction. This changes the role of the director. He or she has to focus on the situation, the 3D arrangement of the scene, invent new ways to attract the player’s attention.

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The most obvious and compelling aspect of a good VR experience is the sense of “presence”, the feeling that you are in a real place, not looking at a projection on a screen or a monitor. As Vitz expounds, “We believe that a really great VR experience will make the player feel that they are not just observers, but also part of that world, that they can interact with it, that the things they do may change the course of events in the world.” “And, most compelling,” Freeman continues, “is that the world is aware of them; creatures react, characters look at them and what they do matters. Of course this is true of traditional video games as well, but the immersion of VR makes it all the more compelling.”

 

Delivering on this promise of a totally immersive and completely compelling VR experience is a tall order, but Crytek has already received an overwhelming response from developers who have seen what CRYENGINE can do for VR and want it for their projects. Dario Sancho and Valerio Guagliumi are the two main rendering software engineers who have been leading the charge for a VR-optimized CRYENGINE.  Sancho enthuses, “Our experience in stereoscopic 3D, combined with the engine's rendering power and ability to deliver high resolution images at a high frame rate, means CRYENGINE offers a degree of visual fidelity that many people feel is foundational to a compelling VR experience. We can't wait to see what other CRYENGINE users create now that they have VR capabilities at their fingertips.”

 

Freeman expands on Sancho’s enthusiasm and describes how Crytek’s early VR adventurers are at the forefront of boundless VR discoveries: “The growth in the VR industry in the past two years has been explosive, and this is just the first glimpse of the possibilities. There is a sense in the VR community that we are explorers, going out in all directions, building new ships, and bringing back tales of distant lands. And we see this period of expansion continuing exponentially. It’s going to change the whole nature of games and interactive entertainment. This has us really excited, because Crytek is right at the epicenter.”

 

Hardware manufacturers have a huge role in accelerating the technological advancement necessary for VR and enabling the ‘presence’ that VR developers require. After all, the ability to present compelling worlds is fundamentally driven by the power of the modern GPU and its ability to render high fidelity imagery at high frame rates with low latency. AMD understands the challenges and they have taken a bold direction with their LiquidVR initiative.  Valerio Guagliumi confirms, “We are integrating LiquidVR directly into CRYENGINE, which will allow us to take advantage of its innovations in low latency head tracking, scalable multi-GPU rendering, VR device compatibility and support for exotic peripherals.”

 

As Crytek crafts the future’s virtual worlds, Vitz concludes by describing the eagerness of his CRYENGINE team to collaborate with AMD on bringing to fruition the limitless possibilities of VR: “LiquidVR is going to solve many of the problems of ‘presence’ allowing us to focus on delivering the power of CRYENGINE to build worlds and tell stories.”

 

Sasa Marinkovic is Head of VR Marketing for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

We understand less about the human brain than any other organ of the body. However, this may soon change. GE scientists, working with top researchers and institutions around the world, are working to unlock new insights about the brain previously not possible. New tools and technologies that enable visualizing brain anatomy and function can give researchers new insights and a better understanding of treatments needed for brain illness or injury.

 

Among of the best visualization tools available today involves virtual reality (VR). VR refers to computer-generated “virtual” environments that simulate your physical presence within a software-created world, delivering immersive and lifelike experiences that seem quite real. Already beginning to revolutionize PC gaming, VR is poised to dramatically transform an array of applications and industries, including entertainment, business, education, communications, training, psychotherapy — and medical research.

 

“Visualizing the human brain in intricate detail in virtual reality is no easy feat,” notes Katrina Craigwell, Director of Global Content and Programming at GE. “It takes an incredible amount of computational horsepower to create the virtual world and ensure that you’re completely comfortable interacting within in. To power the experience, we’re using AMD’s next-generation GPUs which not only deliver the exception graphical detail we want, but also a number of optimizations via their LiquidVRTM technology that ensures that the virtual world feels every bit as responsive and natural as the real world.”

 

Combining the latest VR technologies with powerful AMD computing and graphics capabilities, GE scientists have created a virtual portal into the human brain, enabling anybody to enter, view, and explore the brain in ways never before possible. The Neuro VR Experience enables an interactive understanding of how GE scientists are breaking new ground in understanding how the brain works.

 

In GE’s Neuro VR Experience, viewers are virtually transported into Reuben Wu’s brain and are introduced to the inner workings of his mind – the interplay of billions of synaptic responses to sense and thought stimuli. This software-generated representation of Reuben’s mind simulates a physical presence within the universe of thoughts, desires, hopes and dreams contained within his brain.

 

Reuben is no stranger to the surreal. As an industrial designer, photographer, DJ, keyboardist and songwriter for the electro-synthpop band, Ladytron, the Liverpudlian artist captures and creates mind-bending auditory and visual experiences. His work not only stimulates the senses and elicits emotions, but also fuels new understanding of the grandeur of our natural environment and the imagining of what is possible. He has a beautiful mind, one that all will soon be able to explore through the latest in VR experiences.

 

As participants marvel at the intricate tapestry of intelligence, behavioral, sense and motion control centers that compose the masterpiece of the mind, they will also learn about the pivotal GE innovations that are propelling research into, and understanding of, the human brain. Enhanced visualization techniques, such as higher resolution and mobile magnetic resolution imaging (MRI) scanners, and integrated mechanisms to better analyze the volumes of data collected from brain research, are expediting the pursuit for cures to neurological diseases and disorders.

 

Offering a tantalizing virtual glimpse into the medical imaging and visualization advancements that will soon be reality, GE’s Neuro VR Experience immerses participants in a unique and visually stunning interactive journey through the wonder that is the human brain – the source of all qualities that define our humanity.

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Sasa Marinkovic is Head of VR Marketing for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.