On Thursday, 23rd of March, NVIDIA announced VTC which stands for Volume Texture Compression. At the same time NVIDIA also reported that Microsoft has licensed this compression format for incorporation into a future version of the Direct3D standard (we can only assume that this is DX8). The full press release can be found right here.

New technologies, especially new technologies that are - or will be - incorporated into the Direct3D standard, are always very interesting because of the fact that this adoption by Microsoft almost guarantees that the feature will be used by game developers (well there are always exceptions possible...). As always, we have to ask ourselves some questions to determine whether this really is useful feature. In this article I'll try to explain briefly, and not too technically, what Volumetric Textures are and how they work. This will be followed by an analysis of the problems involved with the implementation combined with possible solutions. I'll end this article with some examples of how this new feature can improve our gaming experience.

As always, we encourage our readers to think for themselves about this technology and to share their thoughts in our forum. This article is meant as an introduction for further discussions. Therefore, don't hesitate to send comments or even corrections to us by email or though the forum.

NVIDIA's PR Manager, Mr. Derek Perez, suggested a Q&A session about this topic and we are more than happy to follow this suggestion, as a result you'll find some questions (not yet answered) at the back of this article. If you have additional questions concerning this topic feel free to send them in or to place them in the forum. We'll try to get answers to all of them within an acceptable period of time.