How GRID 2 and Intel Iris™ Graphics brought me into the fold...

If you ask me, I’m not a gamer.  I happen to work in a team at Intel that helps games run well on our platforms.  But me…I’m not a gamer.

 

In middle and high school I raced remote controlled cars.  You can’t easily go out and race cars after school or at night after your homework is done, so I played a lot of hours of Gran Turismo.  I had my bedroom set-up with the TV, Playstation and steering and pedals.  I really enjoyed racing, but I wasn’t a gamer. 

 

A bachelors, masters, PhD and 5 years in industry goes by and I’m in my job working with game companies, working with people who optimize games during the day and are gamers at night, but I tell myself – I’m not a gamer.  On Intel’s tick-tock cadence, we’ve got a tick (new microarchitecture) coming up the product pipeline which is the 4th Generation Intel® Core™  processor family (codenamed Haswell) and pretty impressive graphics, now known as Intel Iris™ Graphics. 

 

Last fall we got “off to the races” so to speak on some specific enabling - working with Codemasters to showcase features in GRID 2  like Adaptive Order-Independent Transparency (AOIT) and Adaptive Volumetric Shadow Maps (AVSM) which are possible because of the Intel Iris Graphics extension for pixel synchronization.  We announced and showcased this at the 2013 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in March (see my other blog post).

 

I’m not a gamer, but since I’m working with teams who are going to be doing demos, showcases, bundles and the like, I had better install Steam, and activate the pre-release our engineers have access to – just due diligence.  Of course Steam makes installing and activating the game on my 4th Gen Core Ultrabook shockingly easy and Codemasters has an integrated process in the game for setting up a Racenet account.

 

I start playing, just to see how the controls are with keyboard and mouse (terrible) and game controller (my preference).  Again, I’m not a gamer, just doing my due diligence as an Intel employee working on the collaboration with Codemasters.  My memory went back to the days of playing Gran Tourismo as a kid, and the expectations I have for a racing game are just totally blow away.

 

First off, there’s great narration that carries the player through the World Series Racing story line.  The game feels very immersive.  It’s not just race around the track - there’s a goal.  I’ve only got the classic Mustang so far and the vehicle dynamics are what I might expect a classic Mustang to be like – easy to whip the back end around and oversteer.  Being able to customize the car to my own paint scheme is awesome (much like painting those Lexan shells on my R/C cars of days gone by).  I’m playing on Intel HD Graphics, and am very impressed with the amount of detail in the effects – smoke, reflections, and leaves falling from the trees on the California Coast – all the things that add to the immersion – and I know that this summer when Intel Iris™ Graphics hit the market, the experience will be even more immersive!

 

So 2 or 3 or 4 hours of game play later (I’ve actually lost count, and probably shouldn’t admit to management or my chief domestic officer just how long I’ve spend on GRID 2) …I have to admit, maybe I am a gamer, I just needed GRID 2 on my 4th Gen Core Ultrabook to realize it.

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