Gruntier video cards. More powerful CPUs. Higher resolution displays. All this stuff is really important when it comes to enjoying quality 3D experiences, be it video games or virtual reality. But none of it matters if it takes 400 years to download those experiences. Hence why companies such as Google spend a lot of time researching new ways to compress data. Now Google has a new compression library for 3D models — called "Draco" — and it looks very promising.
As Google's Open Source blog explains, 3D data is becoming more and more commonplace — and not just for entertainment. Point-clouds and other such structures for storing information are everywhere, yet no one has really come up with a way of compressing it specifically. Instead, general purpose algorithms such as Deflate (used for ZIP) or LZMA (7z) are used.
The algorithm supports both lossy and lossless modes: think JPEG versus PNG. While the latter is fine for games and VR, where a tiny quality compromise is unnoticeable, you don't want to lose anything with scientific point-cloud data.
Sure, Draco isn't as exciting as a new GPU architecture or wafer-thin AMOLED, but it could very well become the backbone of online-powered 3D in the future.
Introducing Draco: compression for 3D graphics [Google Open Source Blog]