Photorealistic PC games are just five years away, reckons AMD.
With graphics cards improving all the time and games developers getting more out of their tech, AMD gaming scientist Richard Huddy believes we’re getting very close to photorealistic graphics.
"We’ve got to the stage where very high-end PC graphics are really getting impressively close to photo-real," he told PCR.
"Not that they actually fool you all of the time, but they are astonishing compared to where they were four years ago. We’ll close that gap.
"So probably in five years time we’ll be able to produce games that are photo-real, probably in limited scenarios. And that’s nice, because historically whenever I’ve been asked about photorealism and where it’s going to be, I’ve always said it’d be a bit more than ten years. I think that’s coming down now quite nicely."
Earlier this month Japan’s Silicon Studio (which co-develops Bravely Default games with Square Enix) released the following tech demo with near-photorealistic graphics:
Huddy also believes things are better for games developers now in terms of pushing the boundaries of PC gaming.
"I think one of the interesting things we’ve seen over the last ten years has been the introduction of multi-core CPUs," he added. "As we got to the early 2000s there were ambitions to produce 10GHz processors. And here we are in 2014 and still the fastest processors stock speeds around 4GHz or so. We don’t go much faster, but we do go wider.
"Game developers over the last 10 years have had to tackle the transition from one core to two, and then to four. They struggled with using up six or eight cores on a PC typically, but I do think the artificial breaks that were there in the way, and things like the single core dependency of Open GL and DX 11, having that out of the way is great news for game developers. It means that they really can open up their CPU cores more.
"So I think not only does [AMD’s API] Mantle deliver better capabilities on the graphics side, clearly unleashing some of the power being held back there, but perhaps most surprisingly the benefit for Mantle and the new low level APIs will be more CPU horse power available to games.
"So instead of the artificial bottlenecks and trying to unload the CPU as much as possible, it turns out that if the software is well designed, you’ve actually got a lot of CPU use as well. So we also expect the interesting use of that to increase over the next handful of years."