Skip to main content

Epic's Sweeney on graphics tech: "the limit really is in sight"

Expect simulated reality "within our lifetime".

A day when graphics can't get any better is "within sight", according to bright old Epic Games boffin Tim Sweeney.

His definition of better refers to what the human eye can perceive. Sweeney said human eyes are roughly equivalent to a 30-megapixel camera; the best resolution for us is 8000x4000 pixels. And we apparently don't notice frame-rates above 72 every second. I've tried counting.

"The limit really is within sight," announced Sweeney during a "Technology and Gaming in the Next 20 Years" speech at the Dice Summit 2012, reported by VentureBeat.

"Within our lifetimes," he added, "we will be able to push out enough computational power to simulate reality."

Think of all the artistic connotations this could have!

To get there, Sweeney believes we'll need 2000 times the power of today's best graphics hardware. And that doesn't account for human thought, movement, speech, personality or intent.

Sweeney's also pumped about emerging technologies such as Kinect-like motion sensing, Siri-like voice recognition, cloud computing, streaming gaming, virtual goods sales and augmented reality.

"We've barely scratched the surface of the consumer implications," said Sweeney, talking from a gaming point of view (from "What we can do with an iPad or iPhone today is limited by our experience of our computers and history.

"When a whole new generation of kids is raised with these devices pervasively around us, it's going to lead to entirely new worlds."

"I see a bright future for technology and its implications on games. The ability of game developers to exploit another thousand-fold increase in computing power on future generations of platforms. Some of it will be consoles, some of it PC and some of it tablets. The form factor we can't predict, but the opportunity is there.

He added: "Our industry's brightest days are yet to come."

Sweeney, father of the Unreal Engine and founder of Epic Games, was this week inducted into the prestigious AIAS Hall of Fame.

Epic's next-gen Samaritan demo is still way off what Sweeney's banging on about.

Read this next