Epic shows next-gen Unreal Engine 3 effects at GDC

The Game Developers Conference is still rolling in San Francisco, and Epic Games has taken the opportunity to show off some of the latest updates to Unreal Engine 3. Joystiq has the scoop, not to mention an image gallery with links to humongous full-sized screenshots. And they all look absolutely gorgeous.

Additions to Unreal Engine 3 showcased in this demo include DirectX 11 tessellation, subsurface scattering on characters, depth of field with bokeh effects for lights, fully modeled hair, and some very fancy reflection effects that add a veneer of realism to the rain-soaked streets depicted. If my eyes don't betray me, I believe I also see some realistic film grain and fake chromatic aberration around the edges of the pictures—like peering through a cheap camera lens.

The results, as you can see in this shot, are really breathtaking. I think we're getting awfully close to photorealism—we just need next-gen consoles to push game developers to take advantage of the DX11 graphics hardware.

I'm also excited to see what Epic has in the pipeline in terms of actual games. When the firm began to show off Unreal Engine 3 all those years ago, the art in the demos looked pretty much like what we ended up seeing in Gears of War. If this latest demo is any indication, the studio could have a film noir, Blade Runner-style title in the works.

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