Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 10, 2011 - 09:36 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: UE3, graphics engine, gaming
Since 2006'a Gears of War, Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 has provided both console and PC gamers hours of game play packed with graphical prowess. The now 5 year old graphics engine has enjoyed constant evolution to remain viable. At 2011's Games Developers Conference, Epic Games unvieled its Samaritan demo, proving to the world that not only could Unreal Engine 3 deliver graphics capable of fully utilizing current gen hardware but a huge evolution in graphical prowess that would require next gen hardware to in order to utilize all of it's features.
Using a three-way SLI GTX 580 powered gaming system, Epic Games was able to showcase some of the engine's newest features. Taking eight months of development, the engine contains a slew of lighting, reflection, and shadow improvements as well as realistic hair and cloth physics.
Bokeh Depth of Field has been a popular artistic choice in Hollywood Films for many years. Seen as out of focus but identifiable colored shapes in the background, bokeh objects serve to enhance a scene and influence viewers' moods. Epic was able to improve upon earlier methods of rendering bokeh objects, though they admit that real time rendering of bokeh objects as seen in Hollywood films will necessitate next gen hardware. Currently, the bokeh effects will be best used in cutscenes where developers can control and pre-render the objects to the best storytelling effect.
Epic has also greatly enhanced the ways that light and reflections are handled. Collectively called Image Based Reflections, Epic has implemented Point Light and Billboard Reflections. These are then coupled with both static and dynamic Reflection Shadows to achieve a look resembling the real world. While the graphics horsepower is not available today to allow Epic to mirror the way light works in the real world exactly, they are able to achieve a very close representation. For example, they are not able to render the road to be as detailed as real life. The road shown in their Samaritin demo was much less un-uniform. This is so because the hardware required to calculate reflections on a road as un-uniform as in real life (in real time) is simply not available today.
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