Archive for Crysis

Graphics plateau?

Posted in Game Related, PC with tags , , on November 3, 2009 by blair0

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It’s usually at about this time in the console life cycles (4-5 years in) that the PC begins to pull ahead with raw power, and we start seeing noticeably superior games (graphically). Moore’s Law is still in effect, but being able to see large graphical improvements in games is getting harder to discern. There is usually always one developer who steps up with an amazing looking game on the PC, even if it’s only for bragging rights, but at this stage the two year old Crysis still holds the crown and there is not much else in the pipeline except maybe Rage, Project Offset, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, although from the trailers I’ve seen none of these look better than Crysis.

This raises some questions. Have we reached a plateau with graphics? Is what we have “good enough”? If the PC is a barometer of where graphics are heading, as it has been in the past, then things are definitely slowing down. There is a case of diminishing returns as you get closer to photo realism and you don’t need any more power to make the side of a building or a race car track look more realistic than they do now on current technology. But surely there is still a long way to go with animations and rendering people? and physics could still be greatly improved. Maybe it’s just another indicator that the PC is a shadow of it’s former self as a major games platform?

Intel are hoping that their new Larrabee graphics cards will revitalise the market but unless they are blindingly fast and developers get on board with them they will only add to the problem because they have a different architecture to current GPUs which will mean more development costs when making games for them.

I hope we haven’t already had all the great leaps forward in visual fidelity and further improvements prove to be only incremental. I still want to be blown away. I guess we’ll have to wait for the next-gen of consoles to find out how significant the improvements can be.