Turns out AMD's 'Compressonator' tool for artists and devs was named after The Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger in a holiday advert for world of tanks
(Image credit: World Of Tanks)

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a man with a long and varied career, from his entrance onto the world stage as a bodybuilder nicknamed "The Austrian Oak", to multiple Mr Olympia title wins, a massive Hollywood career, and eventually, his rise to the status of Governor of California. 

However, he may have just added another title to his impressive collection, as it's been revealed that he was the inspiration for the naming of, err, a set of digital art compression tools.

Ex Intel and AMD graphics chief Raja Koduri dropped this little tidbit in a recent tweet, revealing that then-ATI software engineer Seth Sowery coined the name "Compressonator" for the now AMD-owned toolset in reference to Schwarzenegger's famous nickname. He was known as "The Governator" when he became the 38th Governor of California in 2003. 

There's little similarity between Arnold Schwarzenegger and a set of compression tools (let me add that to my "things I never thought I'd write" folder), although it's likely that given the program's long shelf life it has at some point been used to work with assets depicting the man himself. 

After all, Arnie's likeness has a long history of appearing in all sorts of digital media, including the recent use of his likeness as a tank commander in World of Tanks.

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The gaming association may come as a surprise to those of you who remember some of his views on the subject, particularly in regards to depictions of "violence or mayhem" in the medium, as during his tenure as The Governator he signed into law a bill that sought to ban sale or rental of video games deemed violent to anyone under the age of 17. 

The bill was later blocked by a federal judge on the grounds of a lack of evidence for links between violent video games and injury to children.

While this latest news is unlikely to make him fall off his chair, the Austrian muscle-man can now chalk up another cultural win, and it's all thanks to a bit of tongue-in-cheek tomfoolery back in the heady days of ATI. It's unclear if this nice bit of referencing came before or after the Wendy's "Baconator" cheeseburger, but in my mind at least, it was the Compressonator that got there first.

Andy Edser
Hardware Writer

Andy built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 12, when IDE cables were a thing and high resolution wasn't. After spending over 15 years in the production industry overseeing a variety of live and recorded projects, he started writing his own PC hardware blog for a year in the hope that people might send him things. Sometimes they did.


Now working as a hardware writer for PC Gamer, Andy can be found quietly muttering to himself and drawing diagrams with his hands in thin air. It's best to leave him to it.