Photorealistism in video games - is it possible?

By Rage_3K_Moiz ยท 6 replies
Jan 8, 2008
  1. I was wondering about this while playing Crysis, which is arguably the best-looking game around. How much further would we need to go to blur the lines between reality and game? I've seen ray-tracing as a promising alternative but it has its limitations. Any other way of having holo-rooms like in Star Trek?
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Nope.. Considering that we don't even know how exactly all optical effects work and that some others like interference and diffraction would require simulating every particle (human hair, sand), never.

    Of course, one can approximate, so that a casual viewer wouldn't immediately feel the difference. Just like with MP3 files :)
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Topic Starter Posts: 5,443   +38

    So,not even photon mapping would be able to provide effects that are indistinguishable from the real thing? Hmm, seems we're stuck with Crysis as the next benchmark then. But how come it's not known how all optical effects work? I thought optics was a fairly advanced science.
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Sure, you could map every photon and other particle in the image (overkill really).. But in order to "calculate" all of them in real time, you would have to perform these calculations literally faster than the speed of light. It would be pointless to do this anyway, because no one is able to see with photon accuracy.

    We know how optical effects work in principle, but no one knows how exactly they work everywhere. For example, if no one has studied the interference patterns on the wings of a specific butterfly species, then we cannot simulate that butterfly with 100% accuracy. Or, if we scatter the ashes of a dead vampire in the moist air of a medieval cellar with some sunlight peering in, what does it look like? We don't even have any vampires to test with! And it would take a lot of work to test and measure with human ash too..
  5. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Topic Starter Posts: 5,443   +38

    Ah, so you're saying that it also involves practical boundaries, like the 'vampire ash' example you provided. Also, since it's more complicated to trace the path of light when it bounces off an object and hits the eye, rather than the other way around which is done with ray tracing, that would theoretically limit the number of solutions to the rendering equation right? Sorry for sounding too technical (as wierd as that sounds), but I was just considering a minor in Optical Physics here at university, which is why I'm asking about all this.
  6. Grixti

    Grixti TS Rookie Posts: 23

    I gues we are talking about photo-realism on screen here? Because if you look at it this way, CGI in film has got pretty damn advanced recently. If you look at where we were 10 years ago with computer generated images it was pretty primative to what we've got going now. So if we continue to advance in CGI, which we almost definitely will, then i would say that one day we will have photo realistic CGI, on screen; be it in film or computer games.

    Its not that hard to imagine really. Some of the CGI character in films are bordering on photorealistic. We can still tell if it is CGI but the way we are progressing would suggest that one day we will have photorealistic, CGI characters on screen.

    What do you guys think?
  7. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    In movies you can cheat.. Human eye is pretty forgiving when it comes to fast-moving objects. But if we make a photorealistic game, then the player will most certainly stop and gawk at the still image.
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