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The Official "We want Super-Sampling Anti-Aliasing" thread. Read if you want to help

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will_maltby

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2001
Location
UK
The Official "We want Super-Sampling Anti-Aliasing" thread. Read if you want to help

I've made the same thread over at the Rage3D forums, but I'm making here as well 'cos I want to get across to as many people as possible. Anyway, this is just a dedicated thread about Super-Sampling AA that many of us would like to see in a future driver set. If you already know all about this, then skip down the page to the last section :)


Background (for peeps who wanna know what this is all about)

The current method of AA used in ATI's Catalyst drivers is "Multi-Sampling Anti Aliasing" (MSAA). Without going into explaining why, this method only anti-aliases edges of polygons and does not do any processing on the inside of a polygon. This means that there is less texture blurring and also means quite a significant performance boost over other methods since it does alot less processing.

The problem:
The unfortunate negative effect of MSAA is that alpha textures end up very aliased. Alpha textures are just textures than have sections of transparency where you can see through parts of it. Typically, alpha textures are used in games for things like fence gratings, tree leaves etc. You might think that high levels of Anisotropic filtering would solve this, but it does not, and that is not a very efficient solution either.

The solution
The simple solution is to apply a "Super-Sampling Anti Aliasing" method. Again, without explaining it, the effect of this method is that EVERYTHING on screen is anti aliased. This of course means alpha textures are properly smoothed and also means that AA will still take effect when smart shaders are deployed. For instance, in Max payne 2, when you enter bullet time, with SSAA, the AA will not be 'switched off'. The only negative with this form of AA is, of course, a decrease in performance.


SSAA is already supported in hardware!

We know for a FACT that SSAA is embedded in the hardware of the Radeon family of cards. The only thing keeping us from using it is the lack of support in the driver. Check out this driver info page for the Mac OS drivers;
http://www2.ati.com/drivers/radeon_readme_nov_2003.html
At the bottom in the game problem section we see both MSAA and SSAA mentioned clearly demonstrating their existence.


So if the Mac has SSAA, why don't us Windows users have the same?

Well, it's pretty obviously due to marketing. If ATI were to provide an option for SSAA, it'd perform slower. People would then compare this method of AA with the competition and thus ATI's cards would be seen to be performing alot worse than they otherwise would.




So what are we gunna do about it?

Simple, we should ALL (and yes, that means YOU!) goto the driver feedback section at ATI's site and make a request for this feature.

To facilitate this, I've written below a paragraph which you can copy and paste into the relevent section at ATI's site. So it's like this;

1. Goto ATI's driver feedback section: http://apps.ati.com/driverfeedback/index.asp
2. Fill in your name and other details neccessary.
3. Select "Feature Request" for the "Issue Type" option.
4. Copy and paste the following paragraph into the "Issue Description" section;

Request for SSAA.

The Mac OS drivers support Super-Sampling Anti-Aliasing as well as the standard MSAA and so I think it would be a great addition to the windows drivers if the option to choose between the two was available on this platform.

Thankyou for reading.


5. Actually get off your butt and do this! Don't expect everyone else to do it. YOU, yes YOU need to do it as well. This is a very popular forum and if as many people who read this thread make the request it'll most certainly be noticed.
 

johan851

Insatiably Malcontent, Senior Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2002
Location
Seattle, WA
Done. I'm not sure if I would use it or not, but it'd be a really cool feature to play with, if nothing else. I'm sure it would great!
 

JigPu

Inactive Pokémon Moderator
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Location
Vancouver, WA
Sorry, but I'm perfectly happy with multi-sampling. It anti-aliases quite well, and with reletivly little loss in speed. From what I've seen, most alpha blended textures in games I've played have enough of a "transition" region to not have visual aliasing.

Also, ATi appears to have a solution for alpha texture aliasing "problems" under their multi-sampling. From the two articles on anti-aliasing I've read, it seems that there hasn't been much word on it or may require applicaition supprort :(


My $0.02. Though this will bump the thread if anybody else here would like to see it (I have no problems with others asking, I'm happy with the current situation :))

EDIT: Great link on many of ATi's features (including AA)
JigPu
 
Last edited:

Evnas

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2002
Location
Seattle, WA
Personally, I dont want Supersampling. Granted the image quality is much better, but the performance cost is drastic, and often times leaves things at unplayable levels. When was the last time you say a game able to play at an insane resolution, more that any monitor today can do, and still have decent frame rates? Thats exactly what SSAA does.

SSAA takes the information to be rendered, and unlike MSAA, it renders the image not at the "specified" resolution, but an huge resolution so as to get rid of any jaggies and such. The image quality of this is great, but IMO its just way, way to taxing on the performance.
 

Jibby

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2003
done. You should still help out even if you don't want it. its just an option so help out and turn it off but atleast you helped others get a feature they want.
 
OP
will_maltby

will_maltby

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2001
Location
UK
Jibby said:
done. You should still help out even if you don't want it. its just an option so help out and turn it off but at least you helped others get a feature they want.

Exactly, there's no reason not to give users the option to enable it if they wish. Mac users have the option, so should we.
 

Nero

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Location
Brooklyn!
It would be a nice *option*, but AFAIK super-sampling AA is *much* slower than MSAA, and even with my system I can still find a game or two that have a hard time running flawlessly w/ 4x AA on.

If the OSX drivers have the option, could someone *please* find someone with a new G5 and a 9800Pro, have them install UT2k3 and do some benchies? It's entirely possible that the performance hit is *huge*, and not even worth turning it on except in the oldest of games. I don't know this to be the case, but I would love to find out.