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Processor design firm ARM has expanded into hardcore graphics technology with the acquisition of Geomerics, which specializes in getting the lighting and imagery just right in games and entertainment.
Cambrige, England-based ARM is moving into visual computing as it becomes more important to its bread-and-butter business of supply processor designs to companies that make chips for mobile devices. As the screens and gaming capabilities of mobile devices become more important, ARM will tap Geomerics to create better and better graphics. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“The innovative technologies being developed by Geomerics are already revolutionizing the console gaming experience and are set to rapidly accelerate the transition to photo realistic graphics in mobile,” said Pete Hutton, EVP and GM Media Processing Division, ARM. “Empowering Geomerics’ portfolio with ARM’s graphics capabilities and market reach will be transformative for the user experiences in future mobile and entertainment devices.”
Geomerics makes Enlighten, a real-time global illumination technology.
That means it can position a sun in a 3D environment and it will automatically cast shadows across the landscape in a mathematically correct way. If you move the sun’s position around in the scene, the shadows will move too in real-time. Technologies like this make it much easier for game designers, animators, and movie makers to create a scene in a game or an anaimated film.
Geomerics’ technology has been used in games like Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, Need for Speed Rivals, Eve Online, and Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
“With lighting technologies developed by Geomerics, graphics artists can achieve truly realistic global illumination and other advanced lighting features in real time across multiple platforms today. This combination of ARM and Geomerics accelerates the realization of our vision to bring next generation console graphics to mobile devices,” said Chris Doran, chief operating officer at Geomerics. “Being part of ARM will allow us to accelerate our advanced developments for console and mobile platforms while also providing us with unmatched insights into the platforms and devices of tomorrow.”
Customers like Electronic Arts say they approve of the merger.
“Enlighten has helped EA provide new levels of realism and gameplay experience in titles such as our highly popular Battlefield franchise,” said Carl Almgren, Head of Development, Frostbite Game Engine. “We’re delighted that ARM is committed to on-going development on all the key game console platforms and graphics architectures, as well as the on-going development of Geomerics’ technologies.”
Geomerics will be a subsidiary of ARM and remain independent.