Photorealism in real-time games

I recently came across a great article in ars technica during some resent news surfing – no I don’t browse CNN, I end up at places like ars and slashdot which in my opinion are REAL news sources.  I am sure there are lots of kindred souls out there that feel the same.

So, this article, which you should definitely read, is called ‘How close are we to truly photorealistic, real-time games?‘.  I of course dove into this article quicker than a mouse click in an FPS death-match.  My whole interest in 3d computer graphics has been rekindled because of this very question and the fact that the answer is likely in the next couple of decades – or simply our lifetime.

All of us (you and I and every other 3d computer graphics guru) are part of the birth of a new medium that will be like no other.  The advent of 3d computer graphics and all the incredible wizardry that takes place to make it possible is truly unique.  It is like living through the birth of any great world changing technological marvel.  In the decades to come the massive virtual worlds we bring to life will begin to blur the lines between games and true alternate imagined realities.

We all grew up with the birth of the personal computer and the internet, the invention of computer gaming, the formation of vast online communities of all kinds, the creation of virtual currency and goods that rival real world industries – we are all immersed in massive connected virtual worlds of all kinds.  I think Jaron Lanier’s VR visions of the future were just off by a few decades.

I believe you can see the future of real-time 3d in cinematic 3d now.  Just watch movies like Legends Of The Guardians in HD which I highly recommend.  This is the quality we will experience in games in a few decades.  There will be incredible challenges that will need to be conquered not just in visuals but in character movement and expression and detailed physical simulation of the world.  This will all happen in time however just as we now experience games that were unheard of 15 or 20 years ago.      

We must realize that we are participating in a technological and social revolution that will shape our society for many centuries to come and people hundreds of years from now will look back and see this period of 50 years or so from the late 20th century to the early 21st century as the dawn of something truly new and unique in the world.

Enjoy and participate in the beginning of it all as your place in time will likely be envied by the tech savvy masses long after you are dead.

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