Epic's Tim Sweeney: Photorealism in 15 years, passes criticism on Cryengine - Update
Epic Games with the Unreal Engine, id Software with the id Tech engine and Crytek with the Cryengine are the three big players on the 3D engine market. Epic's Tim Sweeney thinks that the Cryengine is the hardest competitor and expects photorealistic textures in about 15 years time.
The colleagues at gamasutra.com had the chance to talk to Tim Sweeney and the Epic founder and Chief Programmer told them some interesting things. Sweeney for example expects that textures will reach photorealism in about 15 years. Currently textures would have to be ten times as detailed to reach photorealism. Other sectors, like A.I. would need even more time before they get to a realistic level.
Sweeney also talks about game engines, after all Epic has one of the most technologies in form of the Unreal Engine. The programmer thinks that Crytek is currently the biggest competition for his company - the times when id Software and Epic Games were fighting for the engine market seems to be over. Tim Sweeney knows that Crytek can get graphics on the screen that won't be possible with the Unreal Engine 3, but he also emphasizes that the Cryengine is intended for high-end PCs, which are said to represent about two percent of the market. So if an engine is optimized that way it can utilize the better performance of a PC system, but at the expense of market shares. Epic wants to cover the whole bandwidth with the Unreal Engine; from the mainstream system to the high-end PC and the next-gen consoles PS3 and Xbox 360.
This would be a hard decision to be made in this situation. If one follows Crytek's way, one can beat Epic Games but has access to a smaller market only.
Update: May 28, 2009
After Tim Sweeney expressed his thoughts about the situation on the 3D engine market, Cevat Yerli – boss of Crytek – stated his opinion in an interview with Golem. Yerli thinks that Tim Sweeney isn’t familiar with the current state of affairs and also talks about ignorance. The Cryengine 3 will run much better on all platforms that the Cryengine 2 ever did.
The Cryengine 3 is said to be usable for consoles and high-end PCs. Yerli furthermore rejects the criticism that the Cryengine 2 would scale downwards. You can find the whole report at golem.de (German language).
More articles related to 3D game engines:
• New Rage screenshots from the Games Developer Conference
• Cryengine 3: Port to PS3 and Xbox 360 successful
• Happy Birthday Unreal