It’s a double-dose of Tim Sweeney today! The folks at GameSpy have talked with him about what’s in store for 3D graphics in the immediate and not-too-distant future. Sweeney’s predictions are most interesting. His most radical prophetic postulation? Probably this one:
2006-7: CPU’s become so fast and powerful that 3D hardware will be only marginally benfical for rendering relative to the limits of the human visual system, therefore 3D chips will likely be deemed a waste of silicon (and more expensive bus plumbing), so the world will transition back to software-driven rendering. And, at this point, there will be a new renaissance in non-traditional architectures such as voxel rendering and REYES-style microfacets, enabled by the generality of CPU’s driving the rendering process. If this is a case, then the 3D hardware revolution sparked by 3dfx in 1997 will prove to only be a 10-year hiatus from the natural evolution of CPU-driven rendering.