Game Market 1983 - Chapter 50
“I don’t think we need to enter the school anymore.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve already found who I want.”
That was right. I didn’t want a game developer. The various 3D polygons that were commonly found in modern games were first introduced in 1994 with NEGA’s Virtual Fighter. At that time, the game’s graphics had shocked the general populace, but in reality, there was a game in ‘88 that utilized polygons.
They were respectively ‘Hard Drive-in’ by Atari, who was almost on their last breaths, and ‘Winning Run’ from the Japanese software company, Bankosa.
At that period, the graphics of these racing games which used polygons only looked unique, but the game itself was a complete mess. Using dots(pixels) would’ve suited those games much better, but the fatal fault was that the driving mechanics felt as if one was floating in space, instead of simulating real driving.
Furthermore, the technology which inserted textures onto the polygon wasn’t developed yet, so the premature 3D polygon technology from these ‘88 games vanished at the speed of light in the memories of gamers. At least until ‘Virtual Fighter’ was released by NEGA.
“Ms. Elise, you go ahead and eat. I’ll be talking to the students over there.”
“Um, Director? Director!?”
I rose from my seat and dragged my chair over to the table of the talking students.
“Hello, who is this?”
“I’m sorry for disrupting your meal. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but your conversation was very interesting.”
“You were eavesdropping on our conversation?”
The student named John spoke while looking at me with an unfriendly expression. He must have been bothered by me intruding on the conversation.
I took out my business card from my wallet and placed it on the table. As John picked up the card, he tilted his head and asked.
“Isn’t Mintendo a company that develops gaming consoles?”
“We weren’t talking about games; we were in the middle of discussing the software for our architecture major…”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that, but I was primarily interested in the GPU that you were mentioning.”
“Excuse me, but it’s not the official name or anything like that. I threw out a random name on the spot as we were talking about hardware.”
“The naming doesn’t matter. The question is whether it can be made or not; you weren’t able to code a three-dimensional figure.”
As I said that probing comment, he immediately responded.
“That’s because of the limitations of the computer’s hardware. There’s no problems with my code.”
“The method that you spoke of will be hard to implement even with the current supercomputer. Adding the z axis to a x-y graph is a great method to simulate a 3D figure. You say that it has no relation to videogames, but there are a plethora of ways it could be used in video games. For example, a character can move inside the simulated 3D object to simulate reality. It has the possibility of revolutionizing new genres.”
“A game that utilizes 3D figures…”
John bit on his nails and went into deliberation. And a while later, he started shaking his head as he retorted.
“No way. The map itself would have to be enormous in order to host the game, but what good would come out when the current hardware can barely display 4 polygons.”
“That’s exactly why we need it, the GPU that you were talking about. I never asked you to develop a game. What I need is an apparatus that can render graphics alongside the CPU.”
“So are you asking me to invent that?”
Why ask the obvious. A person who says he’ll dig a well should be the one digging the well.
In 2015, graphic cards were capable of rendering live videos past the basic 3D rendering. However, in the very early stages of graphics cards, VGA cards were incorporated into the motherboard in order to simply render the 3D graphics. I had requested John Curtis to engineer an apparatus similar to the 3Dfx from VooDoo.
We left the restaurant and headed to the famous ‘hack+’ club in MIT. As we entered the university, Elise asked a question to me with a worried expression.
“Director Kang? Are we going to be alright? I feel like we’ve stepped into an incredible place…”
“It’s an incredible place alright. You can say we’ve entered the playground of geniuses.”
“Of course, it’s a bit different than an ordinary playground. Haha…”
John and Michael lead the way for us to arrive at a dark room illuminated only by the monitor lights. On the walls were several bunk beds touching each other back-to-back; and judging by the slight movements every now and then, it looked like someone was sleeping.
“Oi, everyone wake up.”
As John flipped the switch and turned on the lights, various moans sounded out from all over the room.
“Are you crazy John? Why the f*** did you turn the lights on now. I haven’t gotten a wink of sleep last night because of my part time.”
“Your part time job isn’t important right now, just wake up for a moment.”
In response to John, the sleeping gurus started to wake up one by one and pack their sleeping bags.
This scene conjured an image of sleeping little fairies that were waking up in my mind, and a smile broke out on my face.
If there was a ‘Dwarf’ that crafted weapons in the fantasy world, these individuals here might be the equals in real life.
“John… What’s the occasion?”
A fellow who woke up just now was growing a bear that was unsuited for his age.
‘One bearded guru’
“John? You said you were going out to eat, and you haven’t brought anything back for me?”
‘One buck-teeth shorty guru.’
“Who are the people standing next to you?”
‘One skeleton guru who looks like he’ll fall down with a single flick.’
A total of five gurus, including John and Michael, were staring at us. At that moment, Elise who was hiding behind me poked her head up and introduced herself.
“Hello. My name is Elise and I work at Mintendo’s American branch. Pleased to meet you all…”
“A girl!!! Oh my god!!”
“What? Why is there a girl in our dorm room!?”
“Who is it!? Who’s her boyfriend!! Everyone stop moving!! Whoever moves is the culprit!! F***!! Traitor!!”
The three gurus that were wide awake now all displayed different reactions to Elise’s presence. John must’ve been embarrassed by their behavior and scratched his head as he introduced them one by one.
“Starting from the skinny one on the left is Tom, Hank and Rob. There’s a few more, but they’re doing part time jobs on the holidays to buy computer parts; they should be back at night.
“Mmm? Who’s the asian guy next to you?”
What? They’re only recognizing me now after Elise?
...Well, it wouldn’t be a great feeling to receive attention from men either…
I should’ve brought Chandra on this trip; he would’ve instantly connected with these guys.
John and Michael had given them a brief summary on what happened in the restaurant. After a few sentences, they must’ve understood the gist as Rob, the bearded one, opened his mouth.
“John, so you’re saying we should make an apparatus that can render graphics alongside the CPU?”
“Right, it shouldn’t be too hard to make a separate memory renderer specifically for graphics.”
“Well, if it isn’t a licensed product that can be mass produced in a factory, we should be able to make one or two models. But there is a problem.”
(TL Note: For a product to be mass produced in a factory, it must be made in a specific way so factory machines can replicate it)
With a tired expression, Rob spoke while rubbing his beard.
“There’s no such thing as a free meal. What will be our compensation?”
John shrugged his shoulders while taking a step back and looked at me.
“Rob’s right. Your offer to fund the research is great, but these guys aren’t the type to work without any compensation.”
Hmm… Is it my turn? I took one step forward towards Rob and asked.
“As I’m working in the game industry, I’m also aware of how much time and effort it’ll take to make the device. That’s why I plan to send you all a monthly stipend along with the research fee. Please speak, how much do you guys want?”
In response, Rob snorted and wore a smirk on his face.
“You’re talking like you’d provide us with any amount we’d request? You don’t look that old either.”
Oh? He’s coming in strong? But I couldn’t show any hesitancy here. Instead, I smiled confidently and responded.
“As long as the amount isn’t unrealistic, I can sponsor you guys.”
If they request an unrealistic amount, it’d be cheaper to have Chandra make the GPU… At that moment, Rob who had been twiddling his fingers, opened his mouth with an evil smile on his face.
“First of all, we’re investing our personal time into this project. We’d be working on it late at night after our classes; we’ll be starving by then, as well as various travel expenses, giving up our part time jobs, buying the parts, so…”
He’s meticulously calculating alright, how much does he want…
Rob pretended to be lost in thought for a while before continuing with a mischievous smile.
“You’d have to add at least 500 dollars per pers…”
I shouted out before Rob could finish his sentence. I thought they would say something like 1 million… What a humble bastard… This is going to be much cheaper than I expected.
“Miss Elise, did you bring the contract?”
“Of course, Director Kang.”
“Let them sign the contract first, and I’ll let you take down their bank account information. We’ll be sending them a stipend starting next month; please take of them.”
“Yes, of course.”
I’ll have to check Chandra’s VISA status when I return to Japan next month. I watched the gurus who were quickly signing the contract and a smile appeared on my face.
On the way back from MIT, I was glancing out the window while chortling every so often. To think that the amount he came up with after all that talking was only 500 dollars…
To them, my idea was a simple supporting apparatus that would help the CPU render graphics, but little did they know, the GPU would revolutionize the gaming industry just as much as the impact of the first step on the moon to humanity did.
Of course, it would revolutionize the field of architecture as well.
The utility of 3D renderings was such that architects would be able to design and zoom in on buildings rather than drawing them out by hand.
This is how I knew that the product they were about to create would bring in the most amount of money to me.