An interesting bit of news came across earlier in the week about Intel purchasing Project Offset, makers of the Offset Engine.  While no games have actually come out with it yet, I can remember seeing demos of the technology at NVIDIA/ATI press days for several years. 

This video is kind of long, but gives you a lot to look at in terms of the high quality graphics the engine can produce. 

What’s the interesting news about this engine?  Intel now owns it.  That gives Intel, who has made no secret of the fact they are developing graphics processors for the future, Havok (a physics engine) and now Project Offset (graphics engine) and a whole lot of options.  One theory is that Intel is simply going to use these companies to develop software that runs perfectly on their processors and future GPUs as a way to demonstrate to the game development community how it can done.  Another option is that Intel is hoping to create a gaming engine that they will actually sell (or give away) to developers in order to speed up the acceptance of their CPU/GPU hardware. 

An even more interesting option is that Intel hopes to move the Project Offset engine to a more Intel-centric code base, maybe even utilizing the oft-discussed ray tracing work that folks like Daniel Pohl have been working on at the research labs inside Intel. 

Arstechnica has a bit more commentary on the purchase as well:
ntel has remained mum its plans for Project Offset. It’s apparent, however, that the company is taking an interest in all of the separate technologies that drive 3D gaming and game development. This probably has less to do with gaming, per se, and more to do with the difficulty of extracting parallelism from one set of instructions while an entirely separate set of calculations is already taking place. With the number of cores-per-CPU continuing to grow, Intel faces the challenge of keeping all those cores busy—and that’s before we consider Larrabee, which is designed around its own multicore architecture. While we probably won’t see “The Adventures of Pentia” on the market anytime soon, the research driven by acquisitions like this could lead to significant advancements in parallel programing and, by extension, multicore efficiency.