This Beautiful Demo Shows How Far Video Game Graphics Have Come

Elon Musk recently explained at Code Conference why he believes we’re all living in a simulation. His argument that such a simulation is possible is based on the exponential developments in video game graphics: “If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by one thousand from what it is now. It’s a given that we’re clearly on [that] trajectory.”

Whether or not you believe simulation theory is true, it’s hard to deny how much the gaming world has changed—even in the last decade.

Watching the new sci-fi short “Adam” by Unity makes this even more evident. Unity is one of the most popular multiplatform 3D game engines on the market. They made Adam” to showcase Unity’s newest capabilities. And it lends a little more credence to Musk’s opinion about the trajectory of gaming graphics—the visuals in “Adam” are amazing.

“Adam” was rendered in real-time at 2560×1440 resolution using an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 graphics card on Unity 5.4 with a new cinematic sequencer tool. Additionally, according to Unity’s website: “ ‘Adam’ also utilizes an experimental implementation of real-time area lights and makes extensive use of high fidelity physics simulation tool CaronteFX.”

An excerpt of the demo premiered in March at the Gamers Development Conference and a playable demo was made available at Unite Europe early last month. The general public should also receive a playable version soon, with no specific date announced yet.

Unity’s website claims they intend to “democratize game development and level the playing field for developers across the globe.” “Adam” showcases the peak of what is possible today. But it’s even more fascinating to imagine what will be possible ten years from now as tools like Unity become more ubiquitous, virtual reality becomes inexpensive and widely available, and mainstream internet tech can handle real-time massively multiplayer online games in VR.

Want to see what decades can do for game design? Look at this image series of game graphics in 10-year intervals and watch this newly-released comparison of the original Doom against the newest one via IGN.

Image credit: Unity/YouTube

Andrew J. O'Keefe II
Andrew J. O'Keefe II
Andrew operates as a media producer and archivist. Generating backups of critical cultural data, he has worked across various industries — entertainment, art, and technology — telling emerging stories via recording and distribution.
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