“The power of a modern PC in terms of realising heavy visual fidelity is great,” says Chris Roberts, boss-man at Roberts Space Industries, the dev behind the upcoming, hugely ambitious space game Star Citizen . “Basically I can do stuff that a few years ago you'd have to pre-render on workstations.”
Even if Star Citizen is some way off being a fully working game, it's already proof that current high-end tech is capable of much more than is often asked of it. We've seen Star Citizen running in real time with our own eyeballs - and in terms of polygons alone it outstrips a lot of current day games by a substantial factor. Roberts himself puts that factor at ten.
“Because I'm not worrying about current day consoles, there's a level of detail I can do that wouldn't otherwise be possible,” he says. “Just the memory it would take to store these textures - you just don't have that on the consoles.
“I made my name on the PC and I'm really sad that the PC isn't being pushed the way it used to: I want to get back to that Wing Commander thing: 'Yeah, upgrade your machine to play this.' I don't want to make a mobile game.”
Roberts also cites the way PC has embraced online, both in terms of digital distribution and the opportunities for social interaction, as other factors that set it apart from lesser platforms.
“I made my name doing PC games, and I love PC games,” says Roberts. “It's the best platform because it's always evolving, and it's open. But no one's really pushing PC. There are a lot of PC gamers who are proud of their gaming rigs but don't have anything to really show it off.”
Hopefully, if Roberts gets the extra cash he's looking for (just over a million dollars are needed over the remaining 22 days of crowdfunding) Star Citizen will have us digging deep to refit our rigs some time in 2014.