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Epic's Tim Sweeney predicts future of 3D gaming

Ars Technica interviews Epic's Tim Sweeney.

Epic Games

If you're a fan of those John Carmack interviews that pop up every once in a while, you'll probably enjoy the interview with Tim Sweeney over at Ars Technica. Tim is one of the co-founders of Epic Games, and also one of the creators of the technology behind the Unreal and Gears of War series. We think we even understood most of it.

The gist of the interview focuses on the future of 3D-graphics programming, but this one section we found particularly interesting:

Jon Stokes (from Ars): I'd like to chat a little bit about Larrabee and software rendering. I'm sure you're NDA'd on it, but Intel just did a pretty substantial reveal so we can talk in more detail about it. So first off, I'm wondering if you're looking at any of the Larrabee native stuff. What do you think about the prospects of this whole idea of not doing Direct3D or OpenGL, but writing directly to Larrabee's micro-OS?

Tim Sweeney: I expect that in the next generation we'll write 100 percent of our rendering code in a real programming language--not DirectX, not OpenGL, but a language like C++ or CUDA. A real programming language unconstrained by weird API restrictions. Whether that runs on NVIDIA hardware, Intel hardware, or ATI hardware is really an independent question. You could potentially run it on any hardware that's capable of running general-purpose code efficiently.

Correct us if we're wrong (and we're not programmers), but if the need for DirectX 3D goes away, doesn't that effectively remove one of the traditional barriers to gaming on the Mac?

Game developers typically focus their programming efforts on Windows-based DirectX in order to reach the largest audience. Occasionally, you'll see a developer release a game simultaneously for Windows and Macs, but more often, Mac versions of Windows titles come out after the Windows version, if they happen at all. But if the future of graphics programming goes straight to the hardware and you're no longer tied to a Windows-specific programming interface, all of a sudden a major reason for OS segmentation goes away.