Tech Demo Shows Off the Future of Gaming

Historically speaking, there have long been two titans in 3D video game engines: id and Unreal, with the latter being put to use in more games than any other engine available. id has been responsible for game engines such as the celebrated Quake II engine and the more recent Doom 3 engine. Their latest iteration is id Tech 5, and it’s being used to create the dynamic, post-apocalyptic world of Rage.

Gears of War developer Epic Games is behind the Unreal engine, which has been used on dozens of games — everything from BioShock to Mass Effect. Epic’s latest version is Unreal 3, and last week at the Game Developers Conference in San Fransisco, Epic unveiled their newest innovations and enhancements added to Unreal 3, in a custom-made tech demo that reportedly blew attendees’ minds with its stunning realism.

Today, the Unreal 3 demo is available online, and while it looks like a cutscene, it’s entirely rendered on-the-fly, in-engine. The almost three minute demo is really a short film called “Samaritan,” and it uses lots of new tech buzzwords like “adaptive Bokeh depth of field,” “dynamically shadowed image-based reflections,” “scalable bloom effects,” and lots of other terms that we mortals aren’t meant to understand. All that matters is how incredible it looks, because the more realistic game engines get, the more that game makers can do with them.

(Side note: With quality this high now achievable inside a game engine, I can’t help wondering when animation studios will decide to take the plunge and license a 3D game engine to animate their films.)

I guarantee that this is the coolest thing you’re going to see all day. “Samaritan” is not part of any known game in development, but you’re about to wish that it was. Be sure to watch it in the highest definition resolution (changeable near the bottom right corner of the viewing window).

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Robin Parrish
@robinparrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

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