Hair is big business in the world of gaming (unless you are playing Hitman) and hardware giant AMD has unveiled an entirely new hair technology to help combat those bad hair days. Titled TressFX, the new DirectCompute programming language is able to unlock "the massively-parallel processing capabilities of the Graphics Core Next architecture, enabling image quality previously restricted to pre-rendered images." In more simpler terms, the new system allows for prettier hair.
Currently AMD is trialling the new technology in upcoming action title Tomb Raider, where iconic character Lara Croft will be giving a mane full of realistic hair that will surely combat any enemies along her way.
Lara Croft is an iconic character with an equally iconic ponytail. Re-imagining Lara and her haircut for the 2013 release of Tomb Raider wasn’t just an opportunity to modernize the character, it was an opportunity to substantially advance in-game realism by tackling the long-standing challenge of unrealistic hair. Through painstaking collaboration between software developers at AMD and Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider proudly features the world’s first real-time hair rendering technology in a playable game: TressFX Hair.
Building on AMD’s previous work on Order Independent Transparency, this method makes use of Per-Pixel Linked-List data structures to manage rendering complexity and memory usage.
DirectCompute is additionally utilized to perform the real-time physics simulations for TressFX Hair. This physics system treats each strand of hair as a chain with dozens of links, permitting for forces like gravity, wind and movement of the head to move and curl Lara’s hair in a realistic fashion. Further, collision detection is performed to ensure that strands do not pass through one another, or other solid surfaces such as Lara’s head, clothing and body. Finally, hair styles are simulated by gradually pulling the strands back towards their original shape after they have moved in response to an external force.
For those interested in the new AMD feature you'll require a graphics card featuring the Graphics Core Next architecture, like the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series. You can check out a glimpse of the old and new hair compared below (more at our game page
), but also swing by AMD's new blog
for a more detailed outlook of the new technology. For those who haven't yet, you can also check out AusGamers fresh review on Tomb Raider over here