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Sweeney on game engines

Tim Sweeney is a technological genius, but what's he been up to? And what does he think about his engine's future?

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Image credit: Eurogamer

In a recent interview with GameSpy, Tim Sweeney, Epic's technological genius spoke openly about his company's work with the Unreal technology with reference to NVIDIA's NV20 chipset, Microsoft's Xbox and other hardware. Ever-anxious not to overpromise, Tim made a point of saying that although his company is working on some very clever pixel-shader rendering techniques for DirectX 8 amongst other things, the hardware isn't in place yet, so he wants to keep the hype to a minimum. As was shown in demonstrations of the UT Tech modeling capabilities a few weeks ago at Daily Radar, Tim's been busying himself with skeletal animation, something he takes very seriously, calling it "one of the three major areas of focus for our next-gen engine". Although it's already included in the PlayStation 2 version of Unreal Tournament and has been implemented in the FPS genre since the latter stages of 1998 it's an ongoing project with no real finite aim other than improvement. The latest additions to suite of development tools surrounding the UT engine are Maya and 3D Studio Max exporters allowing artists to work with the character models in their preferred modeling package. When asked where he felt the industry was going and specifically where his engine would be in 5 years time, Tim first pointed out that as long as we still have gamers driving the industry with their enthusiasm things can't go too far wrong. His verdict about the future? Enormous design teams working on 30,000 polygon character models and games which are visually realistic and very adaptive. Keeping up with the hardware will be an issue, but so will be productivity, and as such the tools will be one of the most important factors in the long run.

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