AMD Builds On Vega, VR Momentum at 2nd Annual Capsaicin

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Like Ron Burgundy, the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) is kind of a big deal. Attracting more than 27,000 attendees, it reflects the pulse of the game development community. It’s where influential creators share their ideas openly. It’s where game developers of all nationalities and interests, designing the next awesome piece of interactive entertainment for consoles, PC, mobile, and virtual reality, come together to learn, brainstorm, and push the game industry forward.

That’s why beginning last year we crafted an AMD-centric developer engagement event called “Capsaicin” during GDC with two primary goals in mind: unveil the latest game and VR technologies to assist developers in bringing their imaginations to life, and show gamers how our latest hardware and software features make their gaming experience even more exceptional.


Last week during our 2nd annual Capsaicin at GDC, we continued to build on the excitement and momentum of Vega. At CES the world got a glimpse of the innovative architecture features found in Vega, but last week we showed these technologies in action delivering measurable benefits to both developers and gamers.

Here’s just a taste of what we showed off:

FP16 or RPM (Rapid Packed Math)


With this AMD-exclusive feature, we demonstrated that we could double image quality — in this case the number of hair strands rendered on a model — without impacting frame rate. This is a technology that’s becoming very popular in the console space, and as games utilizing this method get ported over to PC, Vega users will reap the advantages.

HBCC – High Bandwidth Cache Controller

Onstage at GDC, we showed a working demo of HBCC, a revolutionary feature in the Vega architecture that allows the GPU to increase the total amount of memory it has access to. Imagine a Vega-equipped PC with 8GB of High-Bandwidth Cache (HBC) and 16GB of DDR4 system memory. In its current alpha implementation, our HBCC could tap into 50% of that system memory for a total effective GPU Memory of 16GB.

You can imagine the inherent benefits of HBCC for both high-resolution gaming and professional applications.

“It was impressive to see how HBCC was able to dramatically improve the playability of a 2GB GPU.” – Ken Addison, PC Perspective


LiquidSky: The Ultimate Free Gaming PC

We want everyone to have the enthusiast-class Vega experience whether they’re playing on a Radeon RX Vega PC they’ve built, or using any number of other devices like an iPhone, Android, ultrathin notebook like the MacBook Pro — even a Linux machine. That’s why our partnership with LiquidSky is so important.

LiquidSky has chosen Vega to power their service because it’s a perfect fit for the workload. Vega has an industry-first hardware feature we’re incredibly proud of called Radeon Virtualized Encoder, which is perfect for cloud-based gaming. In fact, onstage at Capsaicin, LiquidSky demonstrated Battlefield 1 running with beautiful quality settings and low latency from a Vega-based machine in the cloud to a Microsoft Surface Pro.

LiquidSky has many promising features that set it apart from similar services, and we’ll be joining their existing 1.4 million beta users soon to give you a hands-on report.

“LiquidSky aims to use the AMD Vega GPUs in order to effectively share the resources of one GPU with multiple virtual machines by using AMD’s Radeon Virtual Encode, which is a unique feature of the Vega GPU.” – Slobodan Simic, Fudzilla


AMD & Bethesda Join Forces To Propel PC Gaming Forward


As a company, we spend a lot of time focused on how to accelerate the pace of innovation in gaming, and how to usher in richer cinematics and faster frame rates to our gaming community.

So at Capsaicin we also announced a formal alliance with Bethesda Softworks, one of the world’s most influential game publishers. The franchises in their stable is legendary: DOOM, Quake, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, and Prey among many others. With 30 years in the industry and more than 80 million copies sold, we felt they were the perfect partner for a strategic, multi-title technology partnership.

Our mutual goal: to develop and accelerate the implementation of new technologies, harnessing the full potential of low-level APIs like Vulkan, and maximizing the capabilities of AMD’s multi-core CPUs and GPUs across a wide range of Bethesda-developed games.

“Bethesda’s id Software worked closely with AMD to implement Vulkan and other technologies in Doom, and the results were nothing short of spectacular. It’s tantalizing to think of that technical expertise potentially supercharging Bethesda’s other series.” – Brad Chacos, PC World


The Future of VR

To close the show, we unveiled the next chapter in virtual reality with a parade of new VR experiences and games from amazing developers like First Contact Entertainment, Limitless Studios, and Survios. All of these developers utilize Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.15 Forward Rendering path to deliver up to 30% more performance on AMD hardware. The Forward Rendering is a highly efficient form of rendering giving developers more choice in how they render for VR, helping them to achieve a stunning-looking game while delivering the high frame rates necessary for a terrific VR experience.

Last But Not Least…

We had the legendary Mix Master Mike of Beastie Boys fame dazzling the crowd…


Key Stats From Capsaicin GDC 2017:

All told, this year’s Capsaicin events were a major success, with more than 800 attendees and a record 15 developer sessions covering everything from Ryzen to ProRender to Vega architecture to DX12 and Vulkan. But our reach beyond San Francisco was phenomenal with 10x the number of livecast views — from 25,000 at during our Capsaicin GDC 2016 show to 250,000 at this year’s event.

We also saw 83 informative articles from North American press, resulting in a staggering 1 billion impressions. And across social media the buzz was deafening, resulting in posts that generated 9.7 million potential impressions.

The true victory, however, goes to all of our friends and partners. To the talented creators developing the next mind-blowing video games. To the engine designers who power the beauty. To our AMD and Radeon fans. And to everyone else who we had the pleasure to speak to and work with at this year’s Capsaicin.

See you next time!


Jason Evangelho is Sr. Technical Marketing Specialist for the Radeon Technologies Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

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