I was just playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 yesterday (I'm at level 53 trying to work up to the 70s) and wondering how much better video game graphics could get. Turns out we're not too far away from hitting the limit according to a GamesBeat interview conducted with Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games and the man behind the graphcs engine that powers Unreal, Gears of War, and Infinity Blade.
“How good is good enough, and how close are we to that now?” Sweeney asked.
Our eyes are equivalent to the quality of a 30-megapixel camera. You don’t perceive improvements in frame rate beyond 72 frames per second. Many games already run at a rate of 60 frames per second. The best resolution for humans, then, is 8000 x 4000 pixels, or several times better than today’s best displays. That is about 20 billion to 40 billion triangles per second in terms of graphics rendering.
“The limit really is within sight,” Sweeney said.
A pretty mind-blowing answer when you think N64 and PlayStation One were the apex of gaming a little over a decade ago. To get a sense of where we are currently watch this real-time demo of Unreal Engine 3 (dubbed "Samaritan"), unveiled at the 2011 Game Developers Conference.
Sweeney has other interesting predictions on the future of gaming so make sure to read the full interview for his insights on 4G, cloud computing, and augmented reality smart eyeglasses. Yes, you read that right.