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Have Computer Game Graphics Reached Their Peak?

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Some of the visuals in computer game graphics are almost too good to be true. Certain shots from Unreal Engine 5 are almost indistinguishable from real life.


Graphics are getting so great, it’s difficult to imagine that they’ll get any better. But, have graphics really reached their peak? Keep reading to find out.


Graphics Might Still Have Room to Grow

You’ve likely browsed the web for ways to optimize Windows for gaming and performance. It’s quite common and doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Computer game graphics keep improving on a year-to-year basis, and there are a few reasons why.

Ray tracing, AI, and virtual reality; these relatively recent additions to the world of gaming might make it seem like computer game graphics are reaching their peak. It might seem, though, that the current improvements are slow and aren’t remarkable. However, the world of gaming might be moving in a new direction entirely.

Where Ray Tracing Stands

Ray tracing simulates optical effects, like reflections, soft shadows, depth of field, motion blur, and more in virtual environments. It was initially used in still computer-generated images. Over time, though, it found its way into video games.

How ray tracing works is somewhat complicated, but the results are easy enough to see and understand. It’s a way for titles to more accurately depict lighting in games. Titles that use ray tracing can offer hyperrealistic visuals. While light, shadows, and reflections might seem like the cherry on top in the world of graphics, ray tracing is a real game-changer that continues to evolve and improve over time.

Virtual Reality Is Still in Its Infancy

It appears that VR gaming is the frontier that developers are exploring most. Headsets might be a bit heavy, but they offer an incredibly immersive experience that’s a seemingly perfect fit for gaming.

There are quite a few necessary adjustments with VR when it comes to graphics, as well. For instance, more common resolution values, like 1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080, 1366 x 768, and 1440 x 900, simply aren’t enough for VR. This forces developers and engineers to find ways to better integrate higher resolutions. And, with the advent of cloud gaming, these changes have to adjust to available connection speeds that can support these higher resolutions.

There’s also positioning and perspective. That is, game developers have to create virtual worlds that keep the player’s position in mind while they move around it. A 360-degree view means developers need to understand that players can look in multiple directions at any time, making it especially difficult to offer a narrative that requires users to see specific visuals.

All of these factors drive developers to build on the currently available tech, meaning there’s still plenty of room for growth regarding visuals in VR.

AI Plays a Role

AI is finding its way into every nook and cranny of the tech world, and video game graphics are no exception. It’s already been implemented in video games for quite some time to improve upon non-playable-character behavior, along with procedural content generation. The latter involves using deep neural networks to create content based on existing data.

By combining certain AI functions, developers are using AI to improve visuals and how they’re created and processed.

Upscaling

You can find AI involvement in visual upscaling and in creating high-fidelity motion in virtual environments. Upscaling primarily involves training AI and watching its output, or prediction, to maintain and improve high-quality visuals. Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling is one example.

It’s an approach that replaces traditional upscaling, which takes low-resolution images and attempts to expand them to higher resolutions. The process involves copying pixels from the lower resolution and repeating them to fill those available on the higher resolution display.

Visual Content Creation

Combining AI upscaling and real-time content creation can assist in producing top-notch visuals. Rather than create visuals and animate them afterward, developers can put more time and effort into the visuals and let the AI do the rest.

The most notable example involves HyperMotion in FIFA 2022 which is further explained on EA’s website, which uses algorithms to create new animations in real-time for organic football movement in field interactions. This makes it possible to produce top-notch visuals and let AI run the animations; essentially, at the very least, AI gives developers more time to focus on improving graphics.

The Best Video Game Graphics Are Yet to Come

Ray tracing and virtual reality are both impressive additions to the world of gaming. However, where growth is most likely to come is in the form of AI integration.

And, since there’s still so much to learn about AI, it looks like computer game graphics haven’t reached their peak just yet. You can expect to see improvements across the board regarding computer graphics for video games.

Improved Graphics: Hardware to Match

Given that computer game graphics will continue to improve, it’s essential to consider ways to adapt and configure your PC to keep up. There are plenty of settings you can change in your operating system and graphics card software. But grabbing a new graphics card might be necessary.

And, to no surprise, graphics cards continue to grow in size. While this is mainly related to the fact that greater computing power requires more efficient cooling methods, it’s also due to the increasing demands from newer games.



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