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Alive SE - EIL 2001
  The NUON article in EDGE Magazine
        Source: NuonEverything

   * Well folks, it's here in my palms. The new copy of EDGE has, as

       1. Two pages devoted to Jeff Minter (in profile format)
       2. Six thoughtfully written pages about the NUON hardware
       3. Two pages reviewing Tempest 3000, with an overall score of

     Some quotes have been taken from EDGE #95, and are acknowledged here
     as being the property of Future Publishing. The quotes are
     highlighted in the text. To take each one of these points in turn:
     1.A picture of Jeff sitting on some kind of office chair in the
     middle of one of his fields graces the background. A small box
     (containing probably less than 500 words) to the left talks about his
     various programming achievements of the past and present, and how
     they show his abstract creativity. Jeff explains his aversion to
     reality when creating games, and prefers to stick to a non-rigid
     definition of his software. This allows him to fit stuff into his
     games as he creates them, eg effects he creates as he codes. The most
     interesting part of the interview comes at the end, where Jeff
     details his newest idea for an original game. This deserves a

         "I've got stuff in my head which I really, really want to do. I
         can see it running in my head, and there isn't quite enough power
         yet to do it, but there may well be very shortly. Again, it's
         abstract ideas, in a way bringing together the idea of
         videogaming and VLM [Virtual Light Machine]. It would still be
         goal oriented but... it's just the amalgamation of those two
         things - videogaming and VLM... it's hard to explain, I'll have
         to do it." [italics added]

     What do you make of that??? I think there are 2 points here - the
     imminent arrival at VM Labs of new NUON silicon, and Jeff's awesome
     idea for a game. 2.The article, titled "NUON lights", presents a well
     balanced appraisal of the NUON hardware and what it will probably
     achieve. The majority of the article gets into the technical details,
     and the rest discusses market viability of the NUON
     concept.Technical:The salient points are that Very Long Instruction
     Word (VLIW) lets you give instructions to several processor units
     simultaneously, and that makes NUON a very fast, capable processor.
     Low clock speeds don't matter when your executing several
     instructions at once. Minter says he thinks all processors will
     eventually go this route. The economy of NUON compared to MPEG2
     decoders is discussed, along the lines that it doesn't make sense to
     use hardwired decoders when NUON costs the same and does so much
     more. Minter thinks too many NUON developers might be relying too
     heavily on the NUON libraries, instead of opting to "go to the
     metal". This leads into a discussion of hardware graphics functions
     used by "consoles", and how the distribution of that hardware power
     into other areas of processing is next to impossible, yielding a
     highlighting of another NUON strength: software programmability.
     "Write your own co-processors" laments Minter. Unfortunately, there
     is no benchmark test. A box out titled "NUON on test" goes into the
     crispness of NUON playback, and cites T3K as an example of unique
     NUON power. An interesting revelation is that:

         "In addition to handling several sets of instructions at once,
         embedded in the NUON design are various layers of parallelers
         with the purpose of making massive number crunching a reality.
         What this enables a developer to do is to: "Do quite a lot of
         maths for every pixel on the screen... (Real time raytracing is
         also achievable, though not implemented in Tempest 3000)....

     Market Viability: After revealing that Samsung and Toshiba were the
     top 2 selling DVD manufacturers in Europe, Jeff's belief is that more
     chips will get onto the market not because people will buy the
     players for games, but because NUON is a better solution that,
     ultimately, manufacturers could not refuse to use. The explosion of
     DVD all over the world, and the trojan horse effect of NUON CPU's,
     will take a couple of years, and "then hopefully the chip will start
     to get fairly ubiquitous, and then we'll have enormous market
     penetration for the games." A good, final quote, comes as follows:

         "Ultimately, EDGE would not try to convince you that NUON is a
         viable gaming platform. And neither would it's manufacturer, for
         that matter. It's a clever piece of electronic-entertainment
         hardware, but very much in the broader sense of the term. You can
         use it to play games, of course, especially if more examples of
         Tempest 3000's calibre show up. But the unit's primary use would
         be elsewhere. If Minter is right, market penetration could be
         phenomenal. On DVD playback alone, it deserves to do well. Of
         course, there's always the potential bonus of playing host to
         another outstanding example of video gaming. If that should ever
         happen again, EDGE will take a look at it.

     To me, this last statement means that EDGE will only review NUON
     games when good ones come out. But they understand what NUON is
     about, and overall they seem to have done a good job writing it on
     paper. 3.TEMPEST 3000: I will post their opinions of T3K later today.
     I have classes and a CAE lab to attend. But it did get 9/10, which is
     a very good score from EDGE.

Alive SE - EIL 2001