Minecraft Creator Calls Bullshit On 'Unlimited Detail' Graphics Hype

Euclideon, a Brisbane, Australia-based tech company, claims it can stuff 100,000 times the amount of visual data into a 3D world with its Unlimited Detail rendering software. It's visually stunning stuff. But one prominent game developer calls it "a scam."

Minecraft creator Marcus "Notch" Persson accuses the Euclideon team of being "snake oil salesmen," writing on his personal web site, "They're hyping this as something new and revolutionary because they want funding."

"It's a very pretty and very impressive piece of technology," Persson writes, "but they're carefully avoiding to mention any of the drawbacks, and they're pretending like what they're doing is something new and impressive. In reality, it's been done several times before."

The man responsible for the chunky world-building game Minecraft goes on to pick apart aspects of the Euclideon technology, specifically how difficult those point clouds would be to animate, and cast doubt on the tech's authenticity.

Several Kotaku commenters, some from within the games industry, weighed in with their own scepticism of the Euclideon technology.

"The response to most individuals in the industry that I've spoken to about these tech demos has been complete incredulity," writes commenter Illuminerdi. "Most people I've worked with have outright disbelieved the tech demos, stating that it has to be impossible, faked, vapor, edge case, etc. I say this because my point is that there is a LOT of resistance to the notion that this tech is feasible. I've had arguments for why this tech is awesome with some HARDCORE programmers who insist that this is a lie and can't possibly work in the real world."

"Nowhere in the video does he go into the slightest detail of how they're supposedly doing this," writes commenter WPennypacker. "They basically just say 'Previously this was impossible...here it is!.' Instead of saying anything remotely technical, he uses phrases like 'import the real world into the virtual world,' which sounds more like a Westwood College promotional ad."

At least one game developer, John Carmack, largely responsible for the graphics engines that power the Doom and Quake games, sounds less pessimistic about Euclideon's promises... at some point in the future.

Carmack tweets that there's "no chance of a game on current gen systems, but maybe several years from now."

"Production issues will be challenging," he says.

>It's a scam! [Notch]

You can contact Michael McWhertor, the author of this post, at [email protected]. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.


    Haters gonna hate, cheese graters gonna grate!

      potatoes gonna potate

    Watch the original video. It's hilarious. I want someone to make a t-shirt with "Tiny Little Atoms" on it.

    The Euclideon site is offline, I think all the traffic broke it.

      Not that it matters, the site had nothing on it and was poorly coded/not tested for firefox.

      Would expect something more professional.

        Dude, have you seen the funding for games companies in Oz?

    I came across this on Reddit. The voice over on the video makes my ears bleed.

    Not so much bullshit, but he's more saying impractical on a consumer based level because of the restrictions

    I completely agree that it's bogus and it doesn't even have anything to do with gaming for the most part. Let me explain. In CAD programs such as Autocad 2011 they have point clouds to interpret 3d scanning results into a workable 3 dimensional image that can be messed with into designs. the point cloud generators are extremely high quality, and the data is incredibly precise..... which is why you can't do it with video games. Now, don't get me wrong, you can have a ton of points and pixels on any object in a game, but we're talking a different level.
    Why is it different? well, it mainly has to do with hardware. In the case of CAD programs with point clouds (and let's just group that as "high quality 3d design") the video cards used are different than ones in gaming. It's why design computers have Nvidia Quadros rather than Nvidia Geforces. Because the Quadro is a quality video card, and the Geforce is a speed video card. You can get perfect points every time with a Quadro, but it won't do it in a decent time frame. For high quality images, like, lets say a point cloud, it would take hours, to days. Pixar uses video cards similar to these in a server farm and it takes their movies, weeks to months to render. Have any of you ever played a game that took hours to days to do a single frame? No, because we all have better things to do with our lives. PC gamers (and I'm sorry for using all PC hardware here, but I'm a PC gamer and it's all I'm really experienced with) call 60 frames per second in a first person shooter effectively the "butter zone" where you can see everything going on without any issues of refresh rate. With that quality at this time, it's pretty unlikely to happen with anything because even the highest quality "fast" video card, won't be as high quality as you can get with an equally pricey "quality" video card.

    and that's basically why it's bogus. We're going to have to wait until Moore's law happens a couple more times until we're quite there.

    I think this is much like any other new technology that is revolutionary.

    There always going to be nay-sayers and always people who are optomistic about it. Just because people previously were not able to achieve such lofty heights doesn't mean that it's skeptical.

    I'm sure that if the Wright brothers had invented the first plane and flew it at a time we have the same social networking medium as we have that people would tweet it was movie hocus pocus and dismiss it under the reasoning that "the science is sound but it simply can't be done".

    I just hope it's true and that it does indeed revolutionise gaming and indeed other graphic intensive programs/applications.

    Watched the video... it's only running with basic lighting (using proper lighting will probably slow it down heaps). I want to believe it, but that, combined with the fact I'm disinclined to believe anyone who speaks like that presenter does, makes me sceptical.
    Until I see a real application (read 'interactive virtual environment') and see the specs of the hardware it's running on, I'll remain a sceptic.

      I think I'll remain skeptical until I play a version of this on my own computer.

    I was hoping to scan in a few plants from my garden.

    I love all these people commenting on this that wouldn't know the first thing about it. Just because no one has taken it as far as these guys, all of a sudden its a hoax. New tech has to start somewhere, and if it takes them making a video that conveniently avoids all the current unsolved problems and pitfalls to get funding to make it a reality, then so be it. The only losers here are the people actively trying to stop this progress.
    So, to summarize, STFU and be supportive.

    Why does Michael put these substantial bio tags at the end of "his" articles? Especially the one he ripped off from Mark...

    I saw this demoed(video only) in 2002 at AGDC.
    The videos still look the same.

    There might appear to be a lot of detail - but there is NO ANIMATION - other than camera animation.
    NO Physics demonstrated.
    The scenes are full of massive amounts of duplicated geometry.

    They're pitching this at the games industry?
    How can they not have created a playable demo of a character walking around a world that is even slightly animated in 10 years?

    Reason => Bogus.

    Notch is the LAST person to call bullshit on rendering efficiency.
    Everyone seems to be assuming they are using SVO-techniques (spare voxel octree), or metaballs. If you look at any other SVO rendering, you'll see that they render nothing like UD does.

    I think Notch is just jellios that he did not think of it. lol

    Can someone in Brisbane hunt these guys down, chase them around Southbank if you have to, then get them to talk and/or beat them down with a XXXX bottle??

    Notch is just a fat nerd who is jealous cause his game consists of huge blocks and materials made in paint

      And your multi-million dollar game that is so much better is where?

      On topic, a lot of this hype seems similar to the old "cold fusion" promises

    The magical world of voxels. Voxels are pretty much the 3D version of vector graphics, that is unlike bitmaps you can scale them up to infinity as they're simply points being filled in.
    Lots of points mind you, which is where that rubbish "atoms" claim comes from.

    Voxels have been used in video games, notably the Delta Force series, Outcast, C&C2 and of course Minecraft.
    Animation isn't easy in a voxel engine, you have to move something like several million points at once.
    Games that do have it are using poly characters. It's why every demo is the same trees and stacks of statues.

    Just search YouTube for "Voxel" and you'll find other engines doing the same thing, like the C4 Engine.

    im sorry but wtf would notch know about complex graphical design and polygons he has like one shape in the game that being square.

    Notch left his trollface on again?
    I wonder if he can build a bridge (in minecraft) and get over it?

    lol... Of course notch would attack it... He's made the worst optimized game in recent history :P

    i call bullshit until i'm proven otherwise

    agree with carmack that this technology is doable in far far future
    not at this decade or next

    unless you live in a server room of pixar or dreamworks, then you probably have a better chance to play fps with the tech

    Well, there goes any respect I have for this guy.

    I don't care who you are, I don't care that the internet gives you a podium to voice your opinion, it is damn disrespectful to label someone (and their project) a fraud and accuse them of being scammers, especially when:

    One; You are Marcus Persson, you have considerable influence over the public/media opinion, and though not everyone will agree with everything you say, it is irresponsible and callous just in general to label people.

    Two; You are fatalistically criticising/judging work that is said many times to be a work-in-progress.

    And three; you have ZERO proof or evidence of ANYTHING. Your hardcore programming friend says it's not possible: who is he? what are his creddentials? Where is his trophy the industry has awarded him for being the 'biggest and bestest be-all-end-all programmer evah!'?

    This is man who is not saying "I think they are frauds", this is a man saying "they ARE frauds. Don't listen to them". The title of the entry says enough. It's dismissive.

    And just plain disrespectful.

    If you want to call someone out for being a fraud, how about waiting at least until they've showed all their cards?

    Doing so before the aforementioned moment in such vehement manner only sets you up to look silly. It's like all those pieces of technology claiming to be the iPhone/iPad killer (though, that may be a bad example, I don't know). If you're right, then hey, you get to say, "I told you so" and no one would pay you any more mind than they do Michael Pachter when his guesses turn out correct.

    But if you're wrong?

    Then you not only look stupid (and regarded so no less for any future opinions you may express) but now you're also a giant douche.

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from bullshit.

    Comments coming from the guy whose game has default 16x16 texture res.

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