Nvidia may have kept their cards close to their chest during this year’s CES, but they weren’t afraid to give gamers a little taste of what’s to come. During this year’s Game Developers Conference, Epic, who are famous for their Unreal Engine, showed off an updated version of the ‘Samaritan’ demo. This is the same demo they showed off, last year but then it required three GTX 580’s to render in real time. This time, however, the same demo, with some tweaks and enhancements of course, was running on a single Nvidia Kepler card while being rendered in real time. Now, if only actual games would looks this good.

Do I feel lucky?  Well, do ya punk?

Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?

Apart from the jaw dropping visuals, the demo focuses on Nvidia’s newly developed Anti-Aliasing scheme called FXAA or Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing. This is designed to improve upon the currently popular MSAA (Multisample Anti-Aliasing), which we see in games today. Just like any other type of AA, the goal here is to smooth out jagged edges in games, which is why the Samaritan demo looks almost as good as a pre-rendered cut-scene.

According to Ignacio Llamas, Senior Research Scientist at Nvidia, “Without anti-aliasing, Samaritan’s lighting pass uses about 120MB of GPU memory. Enabling 4x MSAA consumes close to 500MB, or a third of what's available on the GTX 580. This increased memory pressure makes it more challenging to fit the demo’s highly detailed textures into the GPU’s available VRAM, and led to increased paging and GPU memory thrashing, which can sometimes decrease framerates. FXAA is a shader-based anti-aliasing technique,” however, and as such “doesn't require additional memory so it's much more performance friendly for deferred renderers such as Samaritan,” Basically, this technique allows you to achieve high levels of AA with a very small hit to framerates. Enough talk, it’s demo time! Make sure you watch it in at least 720p for the best effect.


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