Sweeney sees movie quality graphics and pixels as “two major milestones,” in gaming’s future

By Stephany Nunneley
27 September 2011 20:37 GMT

Epic’s Tim Sweeney feels movie quality graphics and pixels are “two major milestones,” heading to game development in the “very long-term future.”

Speaking with IGN, Sweeney said the implementation of said visuals would make flicker, bulky character outlines, and popping artifacts things of the past.

“I see that actually occurring over the next ten years,” he said. “I expect I’ll be actively programming at the time we’ve achieved full movie-quality graphics because that’s really just a matter of brute force computing power and clever algorithm. We know exactly how to do that. We just haven’t been able to do it because we don’t have enough terra flops or petta flops of computer power to make it so. I expect over the next ten years we’ll a real revolution in that area as we make up this missing gap between where we are today and everything movies are doing.

“The other area is simulation of human aspects of the game experience, simulation of gameplay characters, artificial intelligence, character dialogue and all of these other things which aren’t really problems of brute force computing. They require increasingly sophisticated algorithms and simulation of human intelligence.

“I have no idea when those problems will be solved. I’m quite sure they won’t be solved in the next ten years. They may not even be solved in my lifetime, but those are all problems that require understanding how the human brain works and trying to simulate that with varying degrees of accuracy. We’ve seen very, very little progress in these areas over the past few decades so it leaves me very skeptical about our prospects for breakthroughs in the immediate future.”

Sweeney said future iterations of Unreal will be able to adhere to such visuals, but for the foreseeable future, the biggest challenge in the next decade will be “scaling up to tons of CPU cores,” which he expects Unreal Engine 4 to eventually accomplish after its initial released in the year 2014 alongside next-gen consoles.

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