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Video debate

Epic's Tim Sweeney and Codeplay's Andrew Richards argue over software versus hardware.


The future of games graphics was hotly debated in a spur-of-the-moment interview at GDC in San Francisco earlier this year in an unscheduled video debate event, the final instalment of which has just been published.

Hosted by semiconductor news website’s Charlie Demerjian, world renowned games programmer Tim Sweeney of Epic Games and compiler expert and game developer Andrew Richards of Codeplay Software went head-to-head in a heated discussion where the two sides debated the use of software renders on programmable architectures like Intel’s Larrabee over more fixed-function dedicated hardware approaches taken by AMD and Nvidia.

Tim Sweeney, frustrated by the current slow progress of gaming graphics technology, favoured the software rendered approach using general purpose computing with powerful CPU cores.

“The problem is now we're stuck in the same rut that we've been in for the past what is it… fifteen years, where we have the same texturing units, the same fixed function rasterizer” Tim said.

Andrew however was in disagreement, holding firm allegiance with fixed-function hardware, citing power consumption reasons.

“You're not going to get the same level of performance per-watt. You're not even going to come close. I mean it's just massive orders of magnitude difference between performance per-watt of fixed function hardware”

The complete video debate has been now released and is available at

About Codeplay

Codeplay is software compiler technology company based in Edinburgh, UK.  Codeplay aims to be the supplier of choice for developers of parallel processing, reconfigurable and network processing devices who need custom-built compilers which are optimised for their devices.

Codeplay was formed in March 2002 and its first product was launched in July 2002.

Codeplay employs 11 highly skilled engineers at its Edinburgh HQ and have a global client base, servicing customers in the USA, Japan and EU.  Codeplay have worked for large international semiconductor companies, including Qualcomm, small high-tech startups Ageia and Movidius, and hit games developer Eutechnyx.

Further information on Codeplay is available at .


Contact information for Codeplay Software Ltd

Scott McKenzie, Director of Sales & Marketing

Codeplay Software Limited

Telephone:         +44 131 466 0503


Address:              45 York Place

                                Edinburgh EH1 3HP



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