Co-founder of id Software and programming megabrain John Carmack is already working on researching the next generation of game engines. He's been pondering what the next generation might look like, and concludes that, graphically, modern technology is almost there, saying that there are "few things that we can't do a pretty good job of rendering with the available techniques."
Carmack revealed his thoughts in an interview with Bethesda Blog , saying "In the old days, there was a clear set of milestones that were ticked off with each new generation – 3D perspective, texture mapping, 6DOF, polygonal characters, colored lighting, shadows, etc. In between major changes, there is always the push for more; more colors, more pixels, more triangles, more frames per second, and more depth complexity."
"Games today look incredible, and there are few things that we can't do a pretty good job of rendering with the available techniques, so it is much more a question of balancing and trading off the development process against the fidelity of the product. We have to be reactive to hardware trends, and there are still large bodies of work in the offline rendering world to consider, but I don't feel huge pressure to radically rework our graphics architecture right now."
That doesn't mean Carmack is standing still. He's already working on the next breakthrough. "I have done a fair amount of research work this year to help clarify our next generation directions, but so far they have mostly been negative results – I know we won't be rendering with a triangle intersection ray tracer on the next gen, for instance. I have a couple more research projects to undertake in the coming year, but the technical work I am most excited about doesn't have anything to do with graphics, but instead with the data management and work flow through the development process."
Carmack has recently been working on the id Tech 5 engine, the power of which will be showcased in the upcoming first person shooter, Rage, which is slated for release on September 13 in the US and September 16 in Europe. You can find out more about the game on the official Rage site.