Sweeney hopes next gen costs only double

Sweeney hopes next gen costs only double
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

November 14th 2012 at 7:36AM

Epic founder says development of Samaritan demo was 'greatly worrying'

Tim Sweeney says that without proper tools, development costs for next generation games could go up by as much as five times their current ammounts.

This is anything but good news for publishers, who are struggling with rising costs across the board as customers hesitate to pay $60 for a single game

The Epic Games founder spoke candidly about the process of creating two tech demos meant to highlight the possibilities of next generation consoles.

Sweeney called the development of the company's first proof-of-concept Samaritan, "greatly worrying", as it took a team of 30 developers 4 months to complete.

"The result was just a three minute demo," he told an audience at the Montreal International Game Summit attended by Gamasutra.

"We could see costs going up three, four or even five for the next generation, so it became apparent we needed to increase our tools for productivity so we could build our content very efficiently."

The process for the more recent Unreal Engine 4 demo Elemental was much smoother, as Epic had tripled the number of people working on tools for the engine.

The use of DirectX 11 was a big help as well, as the albeit limited compute features help keep GPU flops in general computing.

"DirectX 11's compute features enable a huge leap in visual quality," Sweeney said.

"The features are limited - it took a lot of contortion to adapt our algorithms - but sufficient. Over 50 percent of the GPU flops are in general computing algorithms rather than the standard pipeline, and we see that percentage only increasing."

This resulted in development of the Elemental demo being accomplished at a "very rapid pace."

"But budgets are always going to continue marching upwards," finished Sweeney.

"We are hoping costs at the start of the next generation to only be double the cost of the start of the previous generation."