GAMES are getting better looking all the time — and new technology that’s coming through is making sure that’s going to keep on happening.
The boffins behind Unreal Engine, a tool thousands of game developers use to build and run all sorts of games from Fortnite to Tetris Effect, showed off some of what’s to come at the recent Game Developers’ Conference.
The level of detail achievable even with today’s PC hardware is incredible
One video shows off a picture-perfect landscape built and modified using Unreal.
To prove it wasn’t faked, a developer jumped into the ‘game’ to demonstrate how you could interact with the photo-realistic landscape.
Rocks tumbled, while video showed a car speeding through fog and across the landscape, lighting it up as it went.
The developers of the tool used here promise that games made using this sort of magic will be perfectly capable of running on mid-range hardware.
The dynamic lighting effects alone are mind-blowing in motion, as you can see in the video above
The huge space was created using some of the same tools used to build Fortnite
Quixel A real-time demo showed how the physics and lighting worked inside the game world
Amazing video shows ultra-real gaming graphics in Unreal using Quixel Megascans
Another mind-blowing demo came from the team behind Unreal Engine itself, to show off some new options developers are going to have to play with very soon.
The demo showed a heavily-armored robot jumping through a city in pursuit of a foe, and wreaking havoc as it did so.
Rockets take chunks out of buildings, with individual bricks and chunks of facade falling through the air and crushing enemies beneath them.
More destruction exposed the insides of buildings and the structural supports for the facade as it was blown off piece-by-piece.
Buildings and enemies look pixel-perfect, with realistic lighting being dynamically rendered as bullets fly
A spotless building like this can be demolished piece-by-piece using the new Chaos tools
But the really impressive thing is the way that the weapons interact with the physical structure and bring parts of it down
Unreal shows off future of games by blowing up a city for tech demo video
Until very recently, videos that looked like this would have to be pre-rendered, as happens with movies.
This means that while the actions and animations can be programmed in, the system doesn’t have to work out what’s going on in real time.
Now that systems are good enough to be able to work out things essentially as they happen, you can do things like this in video games so that a building’s facade not only looks perfect sitting there, but also as it tumbles through the air, through shafts of light or dust, or anything else that might change its appearance.
Quixel New technology means totally realistic lighting, landscapes and weather are on the way
Quixel Upgrades to simple things like the way that fog and lighting interact are already making a huge difference
Quixel Even simple things like interfaces can look amazing if done right
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Hopefully these demos are just a taste of what we can expect from the next generation of consoles, and not just gaming PCs.
If you’re in the market for a gaming PC, though, check out our review of HP’s Omen Obelisk range, which is a great place to get started, or the Asus ROG Strix Scar 2 if you’re looking for something more portable.
Or you could just hold out for a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox 2 if you’d rather.
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