Photorealistic Graphics May Be Attainable With 40 TFLOPS, Says Epic’s Tim Sweeney

We're almost, but not quite, there.

Posted By | On 15th, Jul. 2016

Tim Sweeney

The rapidity with which technology for graphics has advanced over the last few years is a bit dizzying. Graphics continue to get better and better, and especially with the advent of sophisticated tech, such as DirectX 12, Vulkan, and virtual reality, it is clear that we are fast approaching photorealism in our rendered graphics.

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, the makers of the Unreal Engine, which remains the most popular middleware solution for most game developers, agrees that we are almost there- though he does think that we are a ways off from achieving total and true photorealism.

“You know, we’re getting to the point now where we can render photo-realistic static scenes without humans with static lighting,” Sweeney said in an interview with Gamespot. “Today’s hardware can do that, so part of that problem is solved. Getting to the point of photo-realistic dynamic environments, especially with very advanced shading models like wet scenes, or reflective scenes, or anisotropic paint, though…maybe forty Teraflops is the level where we can achieve all of that.”

This sounds reasonable, of course- in any consideration such as this, one must balance Moore’s Law with the law of diminishing returns. Even as technology continues to get better, one will need ever more resources from a technological perspective to achieve the same amount of perceptible growth.

Even so- 40 TFLOPs and true photorealism may almost be here. I can’t wait to see how graphics tech evolves over the next decade or so.


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