Tim Sweeney talks graphics
Beyond3D has posted an interesting interview with Epic's Tim Sweeney. In addition to discussing game engine development and the next-gen UnrealEngine3, Sweeney touches on what he'd like to see in future 3D hardware:
The last hurdle is that the GPU vendors need to get out of the mindset of "how many shader instructions should we limit out card to?" and aim to create true Turing-complete computing devices.
We're already almost there. You just need to stop treating your 1024 shader instruction limit as a hardcoded limit, and redefine it as a 1024-instruction cache of instructions stored in main memory. Then my 1023-instruction shaders will run at full performance, and my 5000-instruction shaders might run much more slowly, but at least they will run and not give you an error or corrupt rendering data. You need to stop looking at video memory as a fixed-size resource, and integrate it seamlessly into the virtual memory page hierarchy that's existed in the computing world for more than 30 years. The GPU vendors need to overcome some hard technical problems and also some mental blocks.
The interview also covers an eventual convergence of CPUs and GPUs, PCI-Express, and balancing eye candy with reasonable system requirements.