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Nvidia open-sources developer tools

The graphics chipmaker announces that it will make some of its Cg development tools for programming high-level graphics effects available as open-source software.

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia announced Tuesday that it will make some of its Cg development tools for programming high-level graphics effects available as open-source software.

Nvidia introduced Cg last month as part of a new focus on programmability in graphics chips. Thanks to advances in Microsoft's ubiquitous DirectX library of graphics instructions, graphics chips are beginning to handle computing tasks on their own rather than simply taking orders from the PC's main processor.

For game developers and other graphics professionals, that means being able to achieve greater realism through programming high-level visual effects such as pixel shading. Taking advantage of such capabilities, however, will require development tools that eliminate the drudgery of doing painstaking "assembly language" coding.

Nvidia hopes to fill that need with its free Cg set of tools. The Cg Compiler, a critical application for running code, will be available as open-source software starting in August, Nvidia said. "We're open-sourcing this compiler code to further accelerate the transition to an era of advanced real-time effects," Dan Vivoli, Nvidia's vice president of marketing, said in a statement.

No. 2 graphics chip maker ATI, meanwhile, will offer the RenderMonkey set of developer tools along with its new family of Radeon chips.