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S3TC Support For Mesa Brought Up Again

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  • #11
    Originally posted by MaestroMaus View Post
    I remember S3TC support was there for the original Unreal Tournament. It was quite good.

    I don't understand why it is kept hostage by patents though. Not a single game after UT used it as far as I can tell. Which makes sense because after UT the GPU's where good enough to do it without those textures. As long as it won't be unchained, I can't see why anyone would like to use that.

    I think S3/VIA need to acknowledge that there isn't a market for it any more.
    Actually, S3TC was considered so beneficial it became an official part of DirectX in Direct3D 6.0. As such its use is very widespread; anyone using any of the levels of DXTC (1 through 5) is using the algorithm. The Wiki article also mentions it is used in game consoles... I'd guess they're referencing the Xbox/Xbox 360 there. It is still quite relevant today.

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    • #12
      The real solution, of course, is to fight for the abolition of software patents in jurisdictions that currently recognize them (i.e. USA) and to resist the spread of such patents to jurisdictions that currently do not (i.e. EU).

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      • #13
        The near-compulsory licenses are delivered by Microsoft, who sublicense them through the DXTC setup. S3 gets a slice of the pie each time.

        Also, as Ian pointed out, this isn't an idle threat! ATI was taken to court by SGI.

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        • #14
          Has anyone tried to contact Via if they would give Mesa licence for this patent for free? This way they would still take payments for this patent on other proprietary platforms without risk of patent workaround or abolition.

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          • #15
            Can't AMD, NVIDIA and Intel just come up with an unpatented method of compressing textures? It's not like we're playing the backwards compatibility game, with updates like DX10, DX11, OpenGL 3 and OpenGL 4.

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            • #16
              Originally posted by Remco View Post
              Can't AMD, NVIDIA and Intel just come up with an unpatented method of compressing textures? It's not like we're playing the backwards compatibility game, with updates like DX10, DX11, OpenGL 3 and OpenGL 4.
              Yes they could. But I suspect that R&D for this would cost more than buying S3TC licences. So no.

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              • #17
                Originally posted by Remco View Post
                Can't AMD, NVIDIA and Intel just come up with an unpatented method of compressing textures? It's not like we're playing the backwards compatibility game, with updates like DX10, DX11, OpenGL 3 and OpenGL 4.
                There has actually been proposed an alternative, but apparently it was inferior to S3TC and wasn't adopted by anyone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FXT1

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                • #18
                  Alright, seems I was mistaken. I only connected it to Unreal Tournament since it had the explicit option of using S3TC textures if you had a Savage GPU (which could be bypassed). I never saw that option in other games but I guess they must have shortened it to "use compressed textures"...

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                  • #19
                    Originally posted by NeoBrain View Post
                    There has actually been proposed an alternative, but apparently it was inferior to S3TC and wasn't adopted by anyone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FXT1
                    DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4 add two new compression formats that are superior to DXTn and can also be used with HDR images.

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                    • #20
                      The reason GPUs still have S3TC onboard is because DXTC, a mandatory part of Direct3D since DirectX 6, is the exact same as S3TC's 1, 3, and 5 formats. (2 and 4 are premultiplied-alpha formats, not terribly useful. They're also omitted from the GL extension.) GPU makers license this stuff from Microsoft as part of their DirectX support; you won't be able to do anything about that.

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