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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

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Next Generation Unreal Engine Q&A
8:25 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Following in the wake of the recently released Unreal Tournament 2004, HomeLan Fed has posted an interview with Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. Rather than focusing on games, the questions center on the upcoming UnrealEngine 3, which Epic plans on showing off at the upcoming Game Developers Conference.

Unsurprisingly, the next gen engine contains a host of new features, including a complex physics system and a new lighting system. Sweeney adds that the new engine was built from the ground up, and the current timeframe for the first games that use the engine is 2006.

There is a new 100% dynamic, 64-bit-per-pixel high definition rendering engine focus on per-pixel lighting and dynamic shadowing. This includes all of the logical features you would expect in an HDR rendering pipeline, such as lenticular halos and light blooms, dynamically shadowed lights and projectors, normal mapping, displacement mapping, and raytracing effects such as volumetric lighting and refraction. But it goes further than that with entirely new things that haven't been done in real-time before, such as holographic texture mapping, spherical harmonic lighting, and dynamic soft shadows.
To support his forward-thinking mentality, Sweeney also states that the sweet spot for GPU hardware is about 18 months away, and that the engine's performance on current hardware is only "decent."

The interview also covers topics such as other iterations of the UnrealEngine, more of its specifications, and its current stage of development.

HomeLan Fed - UnrealEngine3 Interview
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