Inside Euclideon: A Significant Number Of Staff Let Go, But 'Infinite Detail' Still Exists

Euclideon is the Australian company best known for its Infinite Detail engine, the voxel-based technology that Markus 'Notch' famously called "a scam". Since releasing the initial demo years ago, Euclideon went mostly silent, popping up recently to unveil a new piece of software designed to revolutionise, of all things, the geospatial industry. But now Kotaku has learned that it has made five of its staff redundant, and taken two contractors off staff, reducing Euclideon's staff count by a significant percentage.

One of Euclideon's ex-staff members told us the redundancies came as a surprise. According to the former staff member, Euclideon's CEO Bruce Dell and much of the upper management had spent months informing staff that the company was in a great financial state, that multiple big contracts had been signed, that the future was bright. It was only when the redundancies were made that upper management didn't have a distribution network in place to support sales and hence no actual revenue in the near future, the former staffer said.

Euclideon has recently finished off most of the work on its 'Geoverse View' laser scan/point cloud data visualisation tool. Now the project is almost complete, apparently there was no need for a number of people on staff. A Quality Assurance Tester, a Project Manager, one Programmer, a Marketing/PR employee, the head of Sales, a Sales Assistant and an R&D Programmer were apparently all let go.

But despite being made redundant, our source had nothing but good things to say about Euclideon's work and went to great pains to insist that all the technology its CEO Bruce Dell had discussed in demonstration videos and interviews did exist. Apparently clients were very impressed with the technology on display and plans are in place to develop the Infinite Detail engine to "a stage where it could eventually be utilised for games".

The only reason Euclideon comprehensively disappeared from view, claimed the source, was that resources were being directed towards the completion of its 'Geoverse' project. "We didn't want to announce anything until the release of the new product so we had something to show," the source informed Kotaku.

Ultimately, despite losing work, our source remained positive about their experience at Euclideon and looks forward to more details from the Infinite Detail project coming to light.

"Euclideon was in fact a good company to work for," said the source. "I hope I don't come across as bitter in this at all. I really do hope the technology gets out there and shows everyone just how good it really is and can finally put all the fake claims to rest."

We've been in contact with Euclideon directly and it has confirmed that five permanent staff members were made redundant and two contract workers did not have their contracts renewed, but would not discuss the issue any further. We were told that an official statement would be forthcoming; we'll update if we learn more.


Comments

    Your anonymous source talks a lot like a CEO. :/

      I can guarantee he isn't :)

        Engineering consultancies have been absolutely hammered of late, huge layoffs. Given these guys would be servicing that industry this is not overly surprising. Their geospatial stuff (assuming it is legit) is very impressive - I wouldn't be surprised if they're hanging out for an Autodesk or Bentley to buy them out as both companies are investing big time in point cloud tech at the moment.

    If you look at the points that Notch made, it's pretty clear that it's Infinte Detail thing is a complete scam. Unless they have time travel down pat and have brought back super powered computers from the future.

      Yeah - until they release evidence it isn't totally static, I maintain this was a massive scam. I seriously think these guys should be investigated for fraud. They took taxpayer money for a project that many experts maintain is demonstrably impossible.

        Notch is not an expert.

          He was not the only one, though he used a mathematical proof rather than a programming one to demonstrate that it couldn't work the way they were claiming and be animated, which they never even come close to responding to.

          But hey, if I'm wrong I'm sure they'll present some evidence at some indeterminate time that they haven't just taken money from tax payers and run.

            Wouldn't be the first time Australian investors have been hoodwinked with overblown technology claims. Remember Adam's Platform?

          I agree that Notch is no expert. Even though Minecraft is hugely popular it isn't the best example of optimized coding for a game, no game should render & or calculate EVERYTHING thats not visibly onscreen or not (which Minecraft does), for such a VERY basic game concept it has suffered from a lot of bugs & render lag. When you first start a map you can see it calculate & render everything underground, in the water & behind mountains which use up a lot of system resources, a well coded & optimized game should only calculate/render what is seen on screen at any given time. So no in my opinion Notch is no expert to be making such comments.

      Because Notch is actually a good programmer who knows a great deal.

      A herp derp.

        It had nothing to do with being a good programmer. He basically explained how what they stated was impossible.

        Is reading it for yourself too hard?

        A herp derp.

          He basically explained it from his knowledge of what he believes they are doing so his knowledge of programming definitely is a factor. Euclideon haven't given much info about exactly how they are doing what they are doing so its all assumptions by notch.

      John Carmack was more positive (though still skeptical and admits it won't be ready for use in games). I've got more faith in Carmack's assessment than anything Notch posts. Despite the internet's obsession with Notch saying or doing anything, he is not the definitive authority on all things game related.

        This. Calling it a "scam" is kinda overstating things. If you watch their videos with the sound off - i.e. ignoring Dell's hyperbolic claims - then what they've shown is perfectly feasible; it's just not particularly revolutionary.

        As Carmack said, they're just using a standard space-partitioning algorithm (octree of some sort) to keep the points being drawn to sensible numbers. The issues are more to do with managing the vast number of points required. Their so-called "infinite detail" requires infinite memory (or infinite repetition). Polygons trade off detail for a much more compact representation.

        Euclideon's more recent Geoverse video is a lot more interesting. Their engine is much better suited for displaying massive geospatial point clouds than games & animation, and they bypass the memory issue by converting the huge point cloud into an octree on disk, then loading it on the fly. I think the company has a future, if Dell can keep his imagination under control.

    "According to the former staff member, Euclideon’s CEO Bruce Dell and much of the upper management had spent months informing staff that the company was in a great financial state, that multiple big contracts had been signed, that the future was bright."

    Woah, see now that's actually a bad sign. It is a bit like how politicians always have "full support" right up until the knife goes into the back. Having been through more than one occasion where a company has gone belly up, if upper management regularly feels the need to reassure everyone that things are great, they probably aren't.

    All this so called technology yet i still have to stir my cup 'a' soup for 30-45 seconds.

      Only 2 more years until we can hydrate pizzas.

    Now the project is almost complete, apparently there was no need for a number of people on staff. A Quality Assurance Tester, a Project Manager, one Programmer, a Marketing/PR employee, the head of Sales, a Sales Assistant and an R&D Programmer were apparently all let go.Maybe it's because I don't know who was left on the team, but this sounds exactly like the people you'd want to have around after you finish a project. Especially the sales guys if you're entering the stages where you have a finished product and now need to sell it to clients. Perhaps they secured a partnership with one of their big clients who will provide the resources instead of Euclideon. Still, hopefully those let go can find employment soon.

      "We're almost ready to start selling our project. Better let our marketing and sales staff go."

      Wat.

    Infinite detail is a scam. It was claimed to launch on current gen, which was ridiculous due to gestation periods of the SDK then the game dev itself. If he actually discovered a big O search algorithm in constant time he would have revolutionised databases, not just graphics.

      Anything new Kotaku? I am dying because of curiosity.

    The fucking author couldn't even get the name of the name of the technology right (i.e., Unlimited Detail). And they probably wonders why Kotaku is always ridiculed, too.

    So Euclideon's Geoverse is actually used by Geospatial companies (AEROmetrex), and you bedroom geniuses still think it's a scam? I personally saw an Aerometrex display at an expo; They had models of Adelaide that were run in Geoverse. I even put on 3D glasses and saw the stereoscopic capabilities. If you still think it's a scam check out Euclideon's latest video about Geoverse.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Irf-HJ4fBls

    Until they show that you can animate and have real time physic engine with it, I am still skeptical. I will admit, they have already done more than what I did expect from them, but their shows are still static.

    However, their resent Geoverse gives hope for me. It is no longer "Repeat same structure in a pattern", but real unique shapes not in patterns.

    However, it's still a static world. It works for modeling, but for games, you want to allow physics and movement.

      Still, pointcloud data can be used for terrain, houses, etc. - basically for whatever in game that doesn't need to have physics or be animated and regular polygons to be used for animated things (vehicles, characters). Kinda like in first 3D engine sprites were used instead of models until the tech got there.

      Anyway, combination of both UD terrain and polygonal characters would still make game more realistic because game devs won't need to make errain and static objects out of polygons and so characters/vehicles would have higher polycount.

        Today's terrains/environments are not static - for the easiest examples just think of craters (simple vertex deformations or dynamic re-meshing) or simple texture decals which appear on it after being hit by a projectile. Plus there is a very strong push for completely dynamic environments - just look at all of the last AAA games (think of Call of Duty Advanced Warfare) - UD just looses any of its advantages in such cases and would resort to doing things like everyone else which would be a great burden to the CPU up to a point, that you can't render things fast enough.You see the dynamic calculations would be very cpu intensive (try to "paint" a decal over 5 000 000 points without a massive CPU hit.. you have to change the colors of the points as you're not using a texture actually) and also local changes problem to their indexing schemes or the rendering technique itself. Also when you try to do dynamic things, you find out that you need to work with many many more points then just the ones used for rendering - you need to also do calculations on the hidden ones because they affect the visible ones and also affect the game mechanics. Suddenly the whole effectiveness of UD will disappear because its only real positive is that it omits calculations for unseen points. And that is simply not enough.

        Shadowing is also a big problem for point clouds the way UD does them - while it can be done even with the Unlimited Detail engine, it will suffer from ugly self-shadowing artifacts - noising which is visible on the UD's video where the show a simple one light setup with poly objects and point cloud objects. Plus if you want high-quality multiple shadows the computational strain would be enourmous with the UD technique - you see every light needs to act like a camera and needs to do the same algorithm for checking which points does it see and which it doesn't. With polygons you can resort to many tricks and optimizations to get a nice shadow - with point clouds not so much.

        And don't let me started on the storage issues - the terrains in today's games are massive - you would end up with terabytes of point cloud data. Why terabytes? Well you want to have "realistic" terrains don't you? And realistic terrains need to contain a lot of points to have a visual advantage over lower poly terrains which have normal maps, parallax mapping or tasselation.. or you want to use only a few points? See where i'm getting? The whole notion of using UD for terrains just doesn't make sense even from the today's hardware point of view.

        While UD could have been used for the games of the past (it would be perfectly reasonable to use it 8 years ago) - in today's games it's just not needed and would cause more problems than good.

        We don't need it, we don't want it.. ..

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