NVIDIA has always been the master of the tech demo. And though they've previously shown Epic's Unreal Engine 4 in action on even mobile platforms like their forthcoming Tegra K1 mobile SoC, there's nothing like a new flagship graphics card to serve as a vehicle to demonstrate the latest in game engine advancements. It's showcases like these that demonstrate the progress being made toward photo-realism and real-time physics in live action graphics and game play.
Toward the end of his keynote speech on Monday, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang shifted the focus of his presentation from graphics horsepower to what you could actually achieve with all that graphics muscle. Powered by NVIDIA's next generation GeForce GTX Titan Z dual-GPU behemoth, Jen-Hsun fired up a demo of Epic's Unreal Engine 4 with a lethal fight scene that impresses both in terms of combat simulation and physics but also visual fidelity that breaks new ground. Have a look...
Again, though NVIDIA has showcased Unreal Engine 4 in the past on various platforms, the level of detail and real-time rendering effects seen in this demo are simply gorgeous. Global illumination, where lighting and reflection detail are bouncing off one surface to another, plays a key role in adding to realism with respect to what looks natural to the eye, even in surreal, futuristic action scenes such as these.
Game engines and 3D graphics technologies continue to advance at a relentless pace. Soon, the kind of visual realism that was only previously delivered in actual recorded footage will be rendered in real-time on the GPU, with geometry, lighting and physics that deliver an experience that will rival cinema quality production. It's just a matter of time.