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In terms of engine technology, what ground is left to break?

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Hey all,

 

I've been wondering for a while, with recent advancements into areas like:

 

- Physically-Based Rendering

- VR

- Low-level APIs

- Ray-tracing

- Improving artist/content-creator workflow (blue-prints/visual scripting etc.)

 

and others which I've surely missed. I have to ask: what ground is left to break in terms of game engine technology, more specifically, ground that could be broken by a small team or even one single programmer? I can't help but pine for the times described in Masters of Doom, wherein Carmack single handedly pushed the state of the art with things like Adaptive Tile Refresh (Commander Keen), then the advancements he made with the Wolfenstein 3D and DOOM engines.

 

I appreciate that Carmack wasn't/isn't the only person that's pushed the state of the art forward of course. I'm also aware that things like texture-mapping weren't down to Carmack and that John Abrash was brought in to help build the Quake engine (Quake and the move to true 3d arguably being what broke id). Still, when working/tinkering with my own engine efforts, despite the enjoyment I normally derive from them, I can't help but get a little down thinking it's all been done already (hundreds if not thousands of times at that).

 

So I have to ask: in your view, what problems are really left to solve as far as game engines are concerned?

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For single person improvements, I don't think it's useful to look at full blown engine improvements. Given the development effort that is put in these things, if you can do it in a manageable amount of time, they can do it between breakfast and lunch, so to say.

 

Perhaps the grass is more tasty at places where the engines don't go (yet)?

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The biggest advances will not be in visual rendering (IM very HO) but rather in physics and gameplay/simulation.  Simulating battles with millions of entities, realistic fluid interaction, building destruction, etc...

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he biggest advances will not be in visual rendering

 

I'd agree with this; more focus on content creation and less focus on visual fidelity. That said, what non-graphics challenges are really left?

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Can I say performance?

Unity and UE4 are very flexible, very generic, friendly, very powerful & very portable. But this has come at price of performance where they pale against a custom tailored engine (by several orders of magnitude, I'm talking between 4x & 10x difference)

Is UE4 really that bad?

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I think he's saying that reduced performance is the trade-off you make for a more flexible engine -> one size fits all VS. custom tailored.

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