John Carmack Says He’s Better at Optimizing than GPU Driver Programmers

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,815
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Carmack made an interesting comment at Oculus Connect today, saying he's better at optimizing code than dedicated graphics card driver teams: Carmack believes that GPU driver teams often make mistakes in driver development that ultimately break optimizations. This is something Carmack feels he can do better than them at the moment. "They often make mistakes," he said, referring to driver updates that can break things in games. "I tell them to let me do the optimizations, I can do it better."

    Carmack wasn't throwing shade at AMD or NVIDIA. His comment was made in passing as he discussed Oculus Go and various VR technologies. However, it caught our attention, especially given the challenges that driver teams at AMD and Nvidia have faced at certain points in time. AMD has especially struggled in the past, at least before bringing Raja Koduri on board to lead a dedicated Radeon Technologies Group that AMD formed in the lead-up to Vega.
     
  2. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

    Messages:
    16,166
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    With the exception of RAGE, he's probably right. I can't think of a game that he has been involved with that was poorly optimized. Then again he's a programming wizard which talent most development teams lack. :)
     
    Talyrius, Xinmosni, mbelue and 13 others like this.
  3. grtitan

    grtitan [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,196
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Whatever the man says, I believe it.

    Hail to king Carmack!!
     
  4. Betaboy1983

    Betaboy1983 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,160
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    I believe it too!
     
    mbelue and GDI Lord like this.
  5. Kor

    Kor [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,974
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Rage wasn't poorly optimized, AMD's drivers were the culprit there. Sort of proves his point I guess.
     
    Hoddi77 and Armenius like this.
  6. Schmave

    Schmave [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,721
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Yeah, he is probably right. How many years of experience does he have in the industry? 30? He knows basically the entire history of 3D graphics development and probably understands why the hardware and software are what they are today better than most people that work at AMD or Nvidia.

    The average driver development engineer probably has way less experience in the industry than Carmack. There's no doubt that most driver programmers are probably really smart people, but he has actually written game engines from scratch and knows the ins and outs of each part of the technology.
     
  7. Grimham

    Grimham [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,225
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    I believe him....and I doubt the driver packages would be 250 meg either. (I know there's a lot of other shit in there, but just sayin)
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  8. Uvaman2

    Uvaman2 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,360
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Optimizations blah!
    Nothing deep learning can't fix: write random opimization code, run and measure FPS. Rinse and repeat..
    Remember! its not brute force.

    Joking aside I am betting some of this driver stuff is probably AI right?
     
    GDI Lord and cageymaru like this.
  9. Tiberian

    Tiberian Finger Me

    Messages:
    4,383
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    I'm waiting for the day when someone discovers that video card drivers have been used to mine Bitcoins for years now but only when a 3D application kicks in and it sucks up some GPU time in the background.

    Conspiracy theory, maybe, but I wouldn't put it past any GPU maker and since there's basically just two of 'em (with Intel laughably producing integrated stuff) well, it only remains to be proven I suppose.

    Ive seen stranger shit happen. :)
     
    oROEchimaru likes this.
  10. Krenum

    Krenum [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    11,606
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    After all he is a Rocket Scientist.
     
  11. steakman1971

    steakman1971 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,534
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    I've worked with some programmers that are like Yoda - they are just in a different realm. When I was a programmer, I was ok and could do certain things fine. I got to work with our "Yoda" and felt like I didn't even know how to add two int's together. This guy wasn't condescending or anything - just brilliant. Carmarck is on the brilliant level as well. (I used to watch all of his speeches and read his blogs - fascinating but I realized a lot of it was over my head and I kind of lost interest because I wasn't following his thoughts.)
     
    mbelue, Burticus, GDI Lord and 3 others like this.
  12. Seventyfive

    Seventyfive Gawd

    Messages:
    922
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    If someone can name someone who has been programming games for longer than Carmack, I'd love to hear it. I find it pretty believeable that a guy with 30 years of programming experience beats a kid that might have 10 to 15 years of experience.
     
  13. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

    Messages:
    29,141
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    It had some major issues with texture pop-in and morphing/stutter so I can't agree 100% there - and that was on nVidia as well.
     
    GDI Lord and d8lock like this.
  14. trentchau

    trentchau [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,190
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    I normally don't immediately take sides, but betting on John Carmack when he talks about Programming is probably bigger sure bet than the Mayweather fight.
     
    Talyrius, cyclone3d, GDI Lord and 3 others like this.
  15. Wyodiver

    Wyodiver [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,208
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    "Throwing shade"

    Ugh. Make it stop.
     
    GDI Lord, gtrguy, nysmo and 2 others like this.
  16. travisty

    travisty Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    247
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    Really? Developers making generic code and modifications to code they've never seen before aren't as good as the original game's developers!?

    Well duh!
     
    Xinmosni, jeremyshaw and Nytegard like this.
  17. Bowman15

    Bowman15 Gawd

    Messages:
    1,012
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2015
    I believe him...
     
    GDI Lord likes this.
  18. NickJames

    NickJames Viagra Required

    Messages:
    6,131
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Aside from the texture issue which was solved shortly after launch, it did run impressively smooth. Too bad the game just wasn't good.
     
    Armenius likes this.
  19. grtitan

    grtitan [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,196
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    In case of nvidias, seems to include a lot of shit to make sure that stuff doesnt work.

    Example, if user is trying to do gpu pass-through, say via ESXi, they block geforces because they want you to buy quadros.

    If user is using an AMD card as primary and a nvidia just for physx, guess what? yeap, blocked.

    Pretty sure there are many more crap like this and its in their drivers package.


    You could be on to something there, especially observing the crap that nvidia has already pulled, as stated above and also including telemetry crap in every driver release, without saying shit to the user, neither let you opt-in or out.
     
  20. viper1152012

    viper1152012 Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
  21. Denpepe

    Denpepe Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    189
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2015
    Didn't he rewrite some opengl or glide stuff back in the early quake days because the performance was sub par or something, been a long time.
     
    Burticus and Armenius like this.
  22. EODetroit

    EODetroit [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,027
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    He's in his prime right now, so I don't doubt it.
     
  23. bugleyman

    bugleyman [H]Lite

    Messages:
    123
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2010
    I would actually be surprised if this were NOT the case.
     
    KazeoHin, Armenius and jtm55 like this.
  24. knowom

    knowom [H]Lite

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    I'd put it past Intel with their GPU drivers...lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  25. RogueTrip

    RogueTrip 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,636
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Yeah, I think it was MiniGL for voodoo's on quake.

    Also Scrolling on PC's (like Mario bros on NES) early on which used in Commander Keen. Then the Wolfenstein3D engine. Then the Doom engine and so forth. Alot of it's talked about in Masters of Doom book or audiobook read by will wheaton.

    Nvidia and AMD would be scared if he did that probably. He was a fan of open source back in the day. Imagine open source drivers, no more locked SLI/CFX, Freesync/G-Sync, Nvidia Works, etc.... If only :sadface:
     
  26. SecretStash

    SecretStash [H]Lite

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    May 27, 2017
    Drivers these days accommodate games. But with limited time and money you can't accommodate everyone for every device. The most they could do is expose more of their API to developers.
     
    Nytegard likes this.
  27. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

    Messages:
    51,239
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Doom 3 was the proof. The leaked E3 demo of Doom 3 ran like shit. The retail version ran significantly better on the same exact hardware.
     
  28. lironmiron

    lironmiron Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    210
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    LOL, I'd hope so, since he makes about three orders of magnitude more money than any of those driver guys.

    He says it like AMD/Nvidia should hire him and he doesn't understand why they don't. Haha! I'm sure they'd love to, if he'd work for a driver programmer's salary, or even 3 driver programmers' salaries.
     
  29. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your own.....you deserve it.

    Messages:
    22,907
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000
    This from the guy who thought that automatic quality bullshit in the Rage engine was a good idea?

    My_a22742_1600256.jpg

    Who cares what this has-been thinks?

    In the 90's he was relevant. Not today.
     
  30. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    5,194
    Joined:
    May 27, 2001
    On the one hand, i think maybe...


    On the other hand i think probably bullish*t.



    It would be like Bezos saying he can excel spreadsheet better than a project manager... bro you haven't touched a spreadsheet since office 2000. You're way to high on the totem for that nonsense.
     
  31. d8lock

    d8lock Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    192
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Dude is full of shit.
     
    MRAB54 likes this.
  32. polonyc2

    polonyc2 [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    13,440
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Carmack loves to toot his own horn...he sure loves himself...maybe he's looking for another job
     
  33. JunXaos

    JunXaos n00bie

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    RAGE ran so well on my super old laptop it was pure magic.
     
  34. MRAB54

    MRAB54 Gawd

    Messages:
    720
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2001
    Sounds like he needs to work with the gpu programmers more closely instead of doing his own thing. I don't have near his experience, but I have enough to know that type of developer. And yes, I get it he doesn't work for them but should be working with them to drive the optimizations he wants.
     
  35. Nytegard

    Nytegard 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,671
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    I think this is the main problem. Optimization is just not the key focus. Better hardware will always be around the corner, and companies prefer focusing on bringing profit (new cards, or fixing old bugs) over speeding things up.
     
  36. snowcrash

    snowcrash Gawd

    Messages:
    564
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    I believe him. Didn't even need to put too much thought to it.
     
  37. SighTurtle

    SighTurtle Gawd

    Messages:
    970
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2016
    First off, they updated their article with corrections:
    The accurate quotes are: According to Carmack, GPU driver teams often make mistakes in driver development that ultimately break optimizations. This is something Carmack feels he can do better than them at the moment. "They often make mistakes," he said, referring to driver updates that can break things. "'Let me do the specific low level things, I know what I'm doing, I'll take care of it, you're going to make decisions that are not going to be optimal for me in various ways," Carmack said.



    Slightly annoyed at PCGamer, they divided their article on his talk into two separate articles on their site, and to me, put his comments out of context and heard it wrong in the first place. The second article is this: http://www.pcgamer.com/john-carmack-the-power-of-the-pc-will-never-get-to-mobile/

    Heres a portion of it:
     
    Armenius likes this.
  38. lollerwaffle

    lollerwaffle Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    413
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    I disagree. He has very interesting posts on the usenet and other places where he talks in great detail about optimization. The source code from id software titles that were open sourced also shows an impressive mindset. This man knows his stuff, absolutely.
     
    GDI Lord likes this.
  39. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    6,610
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    He's not a has been.

    You can't argue with the way Doom ran. Beautiful game -- which would even run well on a potato.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
    mbelue and lollerwaffle like this.
  40. Armenius

    Armenius [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    11,094
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Not really. You needed a 66 MHz Pentium to run Doom at a smooth 35 FPS with the screen at max size.

    Carmack did not code the engine that Doom (2016) runs on. Tiago Sousa is the genius behind that one, though admittedly id Tech 6 still uses features developed by Carmack for id Tech 5.
     
    Zuul likes this.