Blizzard To Unveil Next-Gen Photorealism Techniques At GDC

By William Usher 2013-01-26 14:59:49 discussion comments
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If the next step in interactive immersion, for you, is photorealism then you're going to enjoy this next bit of news. Blizzard, the original pioneer in ARPG gaming and one of the prime-time players in the MMO space will talk about how the next step in photorealism can be achieved with current-day software techniques for next-generation hardware.

Develop has a rundown of what Blizzard plans to unveil at this year's upcoming Game Developers Conference, noting that...
Led by Activision Blizzard real-time graphics researcher Jorge Jimenez, the presentation will cover the company’s techniques toward subsurface scattering, eye shading, anti-aliasing, depth of field and film grain, as well as looking at the integration issues being solved for its game studios.

During the talk, Jimenez will also present the publisher’s computer vision techniques for character asset capture from video, and fitting the dense captured and tracked data to game rigs via energy minimisation, with such techniques used to help stop developers from falling into the uncanny valley.

I think that's some interesting stuff, as we're definitely at an age where some form of photorealism is possible and capable of running within an actual, real-time gameplay environment, as evidenced by the latest high-end mod, the iCEnhancer for Grand Theft Auto IV, which has nearly reached ray-tracing levels of graphics fidelity.

It's also interesting that they bring up the “uncanny valley”, as it's something that many 3D artists haven't been able to completely overcome, despite Square Enix coming very close with Agni's Philosophy. I know some technical analysts and industry experts have always said that this upcoming next-generation of gaming won't hit photorealism heights but the generation after that will, might be wrong this time around if Blizzard has a viable solution, especially in regards to the PC game design space, which is always a few steps ahead of its console counterparts.

We'll keep you posted on what comes of the demonstration and hopefully we'll be able to get some video from the presentation if/when it becomes available.
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