Arguably the best graphics on PS3:
Here we have 2 examples of high level graphics for our day. The Samaritan demo released by Epic Games last year was said to be pulled off using 3 GTX 580 GPU's on a PC. Next we have Killzone 3 for Playstation 3 with arguably the best graphics on a console yet.
The Playstation 3's graphics card is based on a GTX 7800 at only 256MB and about 5 years old. The GTX 580 is one of the newer PC cards, and in the demo Epic was pushing 3 of them. So my question is, if PS3 can pull off graphics at Killzone 3 level while not looking that much worse than the Samaritan demo, why shouldn't we expect Project Cafe to do Samaritan level graphics with no problem? You have to remember that PC graphics cards need to take into consideration that there is an OS and background programs that need to be running at all times on a PC. With a console, all the power of the GPU can be focused on graphics which is why an R700 GPU based graphics card in the Cafe really will be a big leap in graphics performance.
The Cafe will be miles ahead of the PS3 or Xbox 360, the only question is how many miles? (it probably won't matter) Nintendo so far is looking like they approached the tech side of things with a more competitive mind set this time around and will most likely future proof the system when the next consoles from Microsoft and Sony are released in a few years. This is a very exciting time, especially for game developers.
(the above was originally posted on: 05/09/2011)
*02/13/2012 Update below*
It seems that my old speculation from over 9 months ago may turn out to be true after all. In the latest DICE presentation, Tim Sweeney gave a report on just how much computing power it would take to run the Samaritan Demo when in comparison to the Xbox 360. The answer is here in this photo from the slide show presentation:
To run the Samaritan Demo at 720p/30 fps the console running it would have to be at least 4.4x the power of the 360. This comes after the article IGN posted on the Xbox 720 being about 6x the power of the 360 and the Wii U being 5x. I know these numbers are getting ridiculous when it comes to comparing power, but it does look like good news for Wii U fans.
The original demo had to use 3 GTX 580's to get it to run on PC; so it goes to show just how different the power needed for a console to produce similar results in a closed box can be. Now imagine the creative minds of the Retro Studios art team with the power of this engine at their finger tips.....
What about Unreal Engine 4 on Wii U?
From what has just been said/shown being taken into consideration, could the Wii U theoretically run Unreal Engine 4 in the future? People have been a little confused with the Samaritan demo thinking that it is actually UE4 when in fact it's still UE3. Epic Games has said that UE4 will be ready for launch on next gen systems probably in 2014 with a preview of it being shown this year, most likely at E3. With the next gen systems looking to be very close in power (as dev leaks have suggested minus what Sony does) the Wii U should be able to run the engine with little shortcomings since with EPIC being EPIC they will make the engine very scale-able to go along with looking amazing.
I can also bring up the point again that the Samaritan Demo is a preview of what is to come in the not too distant future and likely Unreal Engine 4 will take a lot of those things from the demo and expand on it and optimize them for consoles. We know that it has become a console development world; EPIC knows this and will be making this engine work very well for consoles and not just high end PC's.