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Popular Science on gaming's hardest technical problems

Kyle Orland

It only takes a quick, comparative glance at Pong and BioShock to see how far gaming technology has coming in a relatively short time. But despite all the progress, we haven't quite reached the pinnacle of a real-time, controllable, photo-realistic environments quite yet. What's stopping us? Popular Science takes a look with a recent piece on the ten greatest challenges in making realistic games.

The photo essay looks at some neat cutting edge technology aimed at fixing virtual modeling problems both natural (water and fire are particularly nasty to model) and human (artificial intelligence and uncanny valley faces, for instance), but the technology that impressed us most is based firmly in the real world. Organic Motion's Stage system replaces the standard black-with-ping-pong-balls motion capture suit with a simpler system. "Subjects step in front of the camera in their street clothes, and instantly their avatar forms onscreen," reads Pop Sci's description of what sounds to us like the coolest thing ever.

So will we ever reach that holy grail of totally reality simulation? It's a possibility if Moore's Law keeps up, but there'll almost certainly always be something to improve. As one designer put it to the magazine, "the more we can do, the more excited we get, and the more we want to do." In other words, the reach will always exceed the grasp.

[Thanks Wonderflex]

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