Real recognize real: Epic Games' CEO says photo realistic games 10-15 years away


That Epic Games’ founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney, says that photo realistic games are only about 10-15 years away may be welcome news to some of you, but not to me. The whole point of playing video games is to escape the doldrums of everyday life. Fantastic settings, characters who can punch boulders at will, etc. The more realistic these games tend to be, the less interested I tend to be in them.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Sweeney, who was talking to the fine gents over at Gamusutra, said that graphics quality was largely a function of Moore’s Law. That is, as the river of time flows downstream, computing power increases so much so that we’ll be looking at “completely realistic lighting with real-time radiosity, perfectly anti-aliased graphics, and movie-quality static scenes and motion” in just a few years.

That said, what still isn’t within touching distance, Sweeney says, is something like artificial intelligence. That, unfortunately, will continue to be rubbish for some time.

Back to my point, that photo realism isn’t necessarily a good thing in and of itself. I’m thinking of the difference between Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto IV. How many of you had more fun playing IV? I can appreciate the scale of Liberty City, how “alive” it is, but I’ll be darned if driving around the more cartoonish Los Santos wasn’t a more fun experience.

Of course, what’s “fun” to me may be boring to y’all; it’s a subjective quality that cannot be measured. All I’m saying is, just because something looks a little more realistic doesn’t automatically mean it’s the better experience. You’re welcome to disagree.