Is procedural synthesis just a mirage?

Carmack systematically trashes proceduralism

“Proceduralism is really just a truly crappy form of data compression”. He has some critical things to say about voxels too.

The video is of an interview of John Carmack by Ryan Shrout of PC Perspective at QuakeCon 2011 on August the 12th. There is a transcript of the interview in this article.

Here is a list (from Wikipedia) of games using Voxels:

“Infinite detail is basically proceduralism and you can do that with polygons, voxels, atoms, splats, whatever. I don’t think the notion of infinite detail is actually all that important. It is more important to be able to get the broad strokes of the artistic vision in there, and if you take uninspired content and look at it at the molecular level, it is still uninspired content. 

John Carmack, Id Software

  • C4 Engine is a game engine that uses voxels for in game terrain and has a voxel editor for its built in level editor. C4 Engine uses a LOD system with its voxel terrain that was developed by the game engine’s creator. All games using the current or newer versions of the engine have the ability to use voxels.
  • Atomontage is a hybrid (voxel & polygons) game engine project.
  • Upcoming Miner Wars 2081 uses their own Voxel Rage engine to let the user deform the terrain of asteroids allowing tunnels to be formed.
  • Many NovaLogic games have used voxel-based rendering technology, including the Delta Force, Armored Fist and Comanche series.
  • Westwood StudiosCommand & Conquer: Tiberian Sun and Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 use voxels to render most vehicles.
  • Westwood StudiosBlade Runner video game used voxels to render characters and artifacts.
  • Outcast, a game made by Belgian developer Appeal, sports outdoor landscapes that are rendered by a voxel engine.
  • The videogame Amok for the Sega Saturn makes use of voxels in its scenarios.
  • The computer game Vangers uses voxels for its two-level terrain system.
  • The computer game Thunder Brigade was based entirely on a voxel renderer, according to BlueMoon Interactive making videocards redundant and offering increasing detail instead of decreasing detail with proximity.
  • Master of Orion III uses voxel graphics to render space battles and solar systems. Battles displaying 1000 ships at a time were rendered slowly on computers without hardware graphic acceleration.
  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri uses voxel models to render units.
  • Build engine first-person shooter games Shadow Warrior and Blood use voxels instead of sprites as an option for many of the items pickups and scenery. Duke Nukem 3D has an optional voxel model pack created by fans, which contains the high resolution pack models converted to voxels.

    “I’ve revisited voxels at least a half dozen times in my career, and they’ve never quite won”

  • Crysis uses a combination of heightmaps and voxels for its terrain system.
  • Worms 4: Mayhem uses a “poxel” (polygon and voxel) engine to simulate land deformation similar to the older 2D Worms games.
  • The multi-player role playing game Hexplore uses a voxel engine allowing the player to rotate the isometric rendered playfield.
  • Voxelstein 3D also uses voxels for fully destructible environments.
  • The upcoming computer game Voxatron, produced by Lexaloffle, will be composed and generated fully using voxels.
  • Ace of Spades uses Ken Silverman‘s Voxlap engine
  • The bottom line: ray tracing is probably going to feature in our games development future, as is tessellation, but we simply don’t yet have the horsepower to make them do things any better than what Carmack has put together over the last six years in the lead up to Rage.