Sony ICE Team Programmer Slams Megatexture Technique

Bryan McNett talks about the texturing technique's flaws.

Posted By | On 11th, Dec. 2015

Rage

Remember MegaTextures, the fancy term introduced in id Tech 5 with R.A.G.E.? id Software’s technique involved using one large texture for static terrain as opposed to multiple small textures, thus allowing for less RAM usage but with strong amounts of detail for large areas. Of course, despite the technology Rage employed, it felt somewhat limited with its visuals at times – this is most likely due to the amount of RAM being limited for texturing.

MegaTextures are still used in modern games but Sony’s ICE Team graphics programmer Bryan McNett criticized the technique in a series of Twitter posts.

“Megatexture seemed weird even at the time. Force people to texture uniquely, and they’ll just paste a lot of unique copies of stuff.”

McNett further added that, “Sure the artists making the desert landcape didn’t *really* uniquely paint everything, so why make the computer texture it uniquely?”

When told that it allowed for an arbitrary number of decals and layers, McNett replied, “You’re right, but since overall perceived detail was much less than competition, felt like opposite.”

Also, the use of MegaTextures didn’t lead to a greater sense of freedom or a larger scale than what players were used to seeing either. As McNett pointed out, “People forgave Doom for looking worse than 2D platformers, *because* of freedom-of-3D. No such breakout freedom in Rage.”

Sure, Rage may have run at 60 FPS on the Xbox 360 but that was just about it. McNett finished by stating that, “OK so megatexture is a good idea, right. Which games today use it.”

What are your thoughts on McNett’s views and especially on the overall viability of MegaTextures? Let us know in the comments.


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